Tag Archives: Salvation

Jesus is our Savior, let us go to Him!

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

One of the criticisms of evangelicals against Catholics is that Jesus is not in the forefront of our religious thought and motivation.  While this is patently false as regards the Church as an institution, it however can come about in individual souls of all Christians, not just Catholics.

Jesus is our Savior!

Yes, we believe this. But we must avoid the errors which would reduce faith to a sentiment of trust or to an intellectual act of mere assent to an ideal or doctrine.

Saint Bonaventure’s exposition of the theological virtue of faith avoided the error that can result from  Saint Thomas Aquinas’ definition. For Aquinas, faith was a virtue of the intellect, not the will. But for Saint Bonaventure, faith was a virtue which governed both intellect and will.

It is no surprise, then, that when Martin Luther attacked the Catholic Religion on the question of the virtue of faith, he was responding to the preaching of a Dominican, not a Franciscan!

Putting the differences of Saint Bonaveture and Saint Thomas aside, since they are both Doctors of the Church in Scholastic and Dogmatic Theology, we need to recognize that when we assent in our minds to the truth that Jesus is our Savior, we also need to consent in our wills to regard Jesus our our Savior.

And for this we need to understand that as all Scripture and Tradition hand down, the salvation of which we speak, when we call Jesus our “Savior” does not merely take place at the moment of death, or regard the world to come. Rather, it regards the present moment and all the moments, places, and decision which we will pass through, come to be in and make, respectively, on the way to the hour of our own death and beyond.

Jesus is Our Savior, then, because, by His Passion and Death

  1. He redeemed all Creation, including myself.
  2. He atoned for all sin, including my sins, past, present and future.
  3. He merited all grace for all creatures capable of receiving it, of which I am the most unworthy.
  4. He did that which no one could do, including myself.
  5. He did that which had to be done, else the world and myself go necessarily to damnation.
  6. He did that which alone is capable from saving me from the power of Satan before and after death.
  7. And finally, He did that which He did not have to do, and at great price to Himself, such that all creation, including myself, owe Him a profound and eternal and infinite gratitude, of the kind which is religious and sacred and continual and habitual.

But the wonderful truth that Jesus is our Savior, is that in every moment of our lives and in every problem we can turn to Him for salvation.  And the kind of prayer and request which He is most pleased to receive is that of the sinner seeking salvation. This is so, because that is the prayer for which He descended from Heaven and died upon the Cross by such a bloody and painful and shameful execution.

This truth that Jesus is our Savior then, should be more than a truth, it should be a rule of live and daily existence.

Let us therefore go to Jesus, physically, by visiting Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament and attending Mass, when we can.

Let us go to Jesus by turning to Him in prayer at the beginning and end and throughout the day.

Let us go to Jesus by trusting in His infinite power to save us and rescue us from every danger.

Let us go to Jesus to save us from the habits of our sins, from the tragedy of our lives of sin, from the evil effects of turning away from Him in sin, and to obtain the grace to repent and repair the effects of our sins, in ourselves and in others.

And let us go to Jesus especially to ask for the light to see what we truly are and how much we truly need Him and His help, so that begging with humility, we might obtain as He is wont to grant, generous and efficacious graces for our own salvation and that of all.

But Jesus is our Savior, also, in the sense that the “our” refers to the whole Church, and not just to each of us individually.

And now more than every, we need to run to Jesus as OUR Savior! — As can plainly be seen everywhere.

+ + +

Donate to support FromRome.Info

Make a donation to Save Old St. Mary’s Inc., a non profit which is supporting Br. Alexis Bugnolo’s Apostolates like FromRome.Info -- If you would like to donate more than $10.00 USD, simply increase the Quantity below from 1 to a higher number.

$10.00

 

 

Male affirmation and the Secret to Purity

murillo-the-holy-family-c1660

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

As you can see from this blog, From Rome, I make it a point to write about topics about which I see no one talking, but which need to be spoken about. In this post I will speak to those men who are slaves to the sins of impurity and how to be liberated in Christ. This is the “you” to whom I speak.*

Some of you have been enslaved since your youth, because no one told you in time what was a mortal sin of impurity and so you developed an addiction to sins of this kind. Some of you had such an addiction and broke it. And some of you fell into such an addition later in life.

The first advice I can give you, is not to take advice from someone who is addicted to the same sin. The internet is full of individuals, with or without degrees in pertinent fields, who are obviously addicted to impurity since they openly say there is nothing bad about such an addiction.

The best advice, of all, is to take the counsel of God and His Saints.  This matter is very serious, for as Our Lady says at Fatima, the sins of impurity take the most souls to hell. And Saint Alphonsus says that no soul goes to Hell without the sin of impurity, just like no soul gets to heaven without the virtue of humility.

The second advice I can give you is, that you need to recognize that without Jesus Christ you cannot be saved. There is no self help which can save you, or which you can practice, without Jesus.  That is because, the addiction to the sins of impurity is not just a physical or chemical addiction, but a spiritual addiction.

Why?

Because, the power of procreation which God has given to men and women, is not merely a biological power. In virtue of the fact that this power cooperates immediately and intimately with God’s creative power, in creating new human souls, at the moment of conception, the power of procreation is the one biological power which touches upon the supernatural and is inextricable from the spiritual.

To understand at the most basic level this power, consider that in 80 days each and every individual adult man in the world (even the most chaste) produces enough zygotes to repopulate nearly the entire planet with its present population. God made the man this way to show us how the power of procreation touches upon the Infinite power of the God of Life.

The misuse of such a power, then, is a very spiritual sin, it is not just a carnal sin.

Now many have spoken about what to do to break such a horrible slavery, from the point of view that these sins are carnal. The first things are fasting and abstinence, which in modern times must be said to include reducing the intake of proteins, vitamins and all nutritional sources, liquor and eliminating all stimulants, whether taken internally or used upon the body. The total destruction and removal of all pornography which you keep at home, in your office, in your car, or under your control (if you have the habit of hiding it elsewhere). The mortification of the eyes and imagination. The firm resolution never to commit such sins again. The removal of your person from occasions of these sins. Ending all evil friendships. Corporal mortifications, such as cold showers. — And in this one must recognize that there is no little sin of impurity. That is, there is no venial sin of impurity. Impurity is always a mortal sin. Because impurity as a sin consists in the use of the procreative power in a way in which it is not ordered to the conception of new souls in the womb of your wife. For that is the only reason and purpose God gave you to use this power.**

These are some of the necessary means to break addiction to carnal sins.  Almost every man who has ever asked me counsel about such matters is one which I find, upon interrogation, is NOT practicing the above, or is addicted to self indulgence, as for example, eating too much red meat or using pornography.

But today I want to speak about the spiritual side of this sin. And not simply that a man falls into this sin because he does not have the habit of praying, such as praying the daily rosary. This is true, but why is it true?

Men commit sins of impurity because they are trying to prove something to themselves. This seems at first somewhat of an absurd and abstract statement, but it is not.

This is because, at the human level, we are not pure spirits, nor pure bodies, we are the union of an immortal soul and a mortal body. And often an individual who neglects to recognize this union of extremes in himself, takes action on one level, when action is required on the other level.

Thus, men who consider themselves a failure in anything visible try to compensate by proving that in something else they are a success in something else which is visible. This is why sins of impurity are so common among young men who are in a crisis about who they are to be and whether anyone really loves them in this world, and why they are so common among men who are in a crisis in their marriage or career or job, because they either do not find that they are loved by their wives, or because they think that failure in some other matter, requires them to attempt to succeed by being impure.

I will leave it to psychologists to enumerate all the occasions in which the sense of failure leads immediately to sins of impurity, especially the sin of self abuse, but I will enumerate some.

  1. Failure to win a spot on the team or in the club.
  2. Failure to succeed in a project or mission.
  3. Failure to convince others of your point of view.
  4. Failure to win at some contest.
  5. Failure to distinguish yourself in come accomplishment or talent or in good looks.
  6. Failure to be accepted by someone or group in which you put your hopes for self affirmation.

From the sense of failure most men react by seeking to affirm themselves by some act of impurity. By this they attempt to prove to themselves that they have what it takes to be a man and/or have it more than or better than those men whom they perceive to be their rivals or role models, whether as fathers or as peers.

And this is why only Jesus Christ and the identity He offers you in His Kingdom can save you.

Because only that kind of salvation which is interior and which satisfies that which we need most fundamentally, can rescue us from the real spiritual problem in which we fall, which consists in this, that we recognize that we have failed to be what we were never made to be WITHOUT RECOGNIZING what we are called and made to be.

This is verified in sins of impurity. Because the onset of such sins is nearly always at a time in life in which the individual has in his own eyes failed, because he is seeking to be that which he is not.

And the most common error here, is that a man seeks to be a man who is perfect according to the body, when in truth, we are made to be men who are perfect according to the soul. When we try to satisfy that which Saint Augustine calls, the most intimate desire of our heart, in something else, we find it does not fit, we then consider ourselves a failure, and then we try to make up for the dent or damage to our innermost conception of our own dignity. That is why, as St Augustine says, Thou has made our hearts for Thee, and they are restless until they rest in Thee.

And to be precise, I am not talking here about merely psychological depression. I am talking about ontological depression.

That is why we cannot be saved except by the Most Holy Trinity. Because when you turn back to the Most Holy Trinity, you turn back to the Source of all Order and Identity.  And repentance will be just that: the decision made possible by God’s grace and YOUR collaboration with it, to seek again that which you were made to be and to stop wandering down ever-narrowing dark alleys of existence, in which there is no lasting consolation, but only worsening deprivation and worsening emptiness.

We are called to be the adopted sons of the Eternal Father. We are called to be the adopted brothers of the Eternal Son. We are called to be the adopted temples and soldiers of the Eternal Lord and Vivifier, the Holy Spirit. And I will add, we are called to be the beloved sons and knights of the Blessed Virgin, Our Mother in Heaven.

We are called by a Love which has contemplated our own personal individual existence from Eternity. We are called by this Eternal Love to be loved eternally. We are called by this Love which is God to be loved by everyone in Heaven, perfectly and forever. There, where God will wipe away every tear and sorrow and all shall be gladness and rejoicing. A Beatitude which we will posses in soul, but which also will pour over out of our souls into our bodies.

This is why, the most powerful prayer to break from the slavery to the sins of impurity is the Our Father. Because in this one prayer we can come to understand that our eternal destiny our ultimate and perfect affirmation, consolation, encouragement comes from the Eternal Father and finds its fulfillment only In Him.

This is also why repeated meditations or confessions which focus ONLY upon the eternity of hell and how horrible and terribly we have failed God by sins of impurity, is NOT going to solve the problem. It may even make it worse, because it increases the sense of failure and gives no hope or direction where to find true success.***

So my final advice is to contemplate that throne next to Himself to which God has called you, and for which He has made you and in this way you will find a stable ground upon of grace upon which to step forth from this slavery.  For if you want that throne in which is found all goodness, you must understand that you must give up all impurity. Because just as the power of procreation touches upon the Infinite, so the virtue of purity is the root of immortality.

Because in the task of being something, where it really matters, that is, in getting to Heaven, God Himself with His Eternal Love and with His Omnipotence, has both made you in Christ and empowers you with His Holy Spirit — if you accept the challenge — to succeed eternally and achieve perfection in being eternally loved by everyone in Heaven, and not according to the flesh, but according to who you are, which is that according to which you are unique in all the cosmos, in all time and eternity.

May Our Immaculate and Ever Virgin Mother, who is so saddened when She sees us sin in any way, especially against purity, be your refuge and path back to God. For She who never was in any way impure was rewarded with the greatest joy in Heaven and She wants you, as Her adopted child, to enjoy that with Her, for as a Mother, Her heart can not rest until She sees you with Her in Her home and at Her table.****

________

* And I speak to men, for no other reason, that being a man, I know something about being a man. I will readily confess, that as a hermit and consecrated virgin, I know nothing about women.

** And yes, that means, if you do not have a wife, you should never use this power. To understand this, let me use an example from an entirely different matter. At a gun range, when you practice shooting, you shoot at a target. If you shoot at anything else, you will never be allowed to return and may also be arrested and sent to prison. These are the rules of a gun range.  And God has His own rules, because all Creation is His Range, and God Has an eternal prison, it’s called Hell. And Arresting Angels (not nice people at all), who are the angels of destruction and damnation (a.k.a devils) which take those in mortal sin to Hell.

*** This why I believe it is necessary for Confessors, during confession, not simply to hear the sins of impurity enumerated by the penitent, or simply talk about the eternity of hell which they merit, but to remind the sinner that he is called to a true destiny where he can succeed in arriving, because God is at his back every step of the way.

**** And She has many graces which no one ever asks Her for. One of which, is the grace to be worthy of Her love through a life of purity. For only the pure shall merit to kiss Her hand in Heaven.

No, Francis, what you just said is heresy…

ANSA699342_ArticoloIn the liturgical changes imposed by Pope Paul VI, today, Nov. 23, 2014, is the Solemnity of Christ the King.  Pope Francis gave a homily today, on the occasion of Canonizing 6 saints.  The official English text is found at Vatican Radio. In it, Pope Francis says (in the sixth paragraph):

The starting point of salvation is not the confession of the sovereignty of Christ, but rather the imitation of Jesus’ works of mercy through which he brought about his kingdom.  The one who accomplishes these works shows that he has welcomed Christ’s sovereignty, because he has opened his heart to God’s charity.  In the twilight of life we will be judged on our love for, closeness to and tenderness towards our brothers and sisters.  Upon this will depend our entry into, or exclusion from, the kingdom of God: our belonging to the one side or the other.  Through his victory, Jesus has opened to us his kingdom.  But it is for us to enter into it, beginning with our life now, by being close in concrete ways to our brothers and sisters who ask for bread, clothing, acceptance, solidarity.  If we truly love them, we will be willing to share with them what is most precious to us, Jesus himself and his Gospel.

Heresy, one must remember, is a post-baptismal denial of a truth revealed by God.  Truths can be revealed by God by explicit affirmations in any text of Scripture, or in implicit ones; since, God speaks in Scripture in a variety of ways.

One of the truths of Scripture is that Faith begins by hearing, proceeds by confession on the lips and lives in good works for the needy.  St. Paul, for example says (in his Letter to the Romans, 10:9):

For, if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

This truth is implicitly taught in the Gospel of St. Luke, when at the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel, Our Blessed Mother first believed, then went in haste to her cousin St. Elizabeth; because first She confessed Her assent & consent to the truths revealed by God through St. Gabriel, then She manifested Her consent to the message of salvation in going to St. Elizabeth.

And St. Thomas Aquinas says, in regard to the Question (Summa, II, II, 5, 3), whether one is a heretic who disbelieves 1 article of the faith:

I answer that, Neither living nor lifeless faith remains in a heretic who disbelieves one article of faith.

The reason of this is that the species of every habit depends on the formal aspect of the object, without which the species of the habit cannot remain. Now the formal object of faith is the First Truth, as manifested in Holy Writ and the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth. Consequently whoever does not adhere, as to an infallible and Divine rule, to the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth manifested in Holy Writ, has not the habit of faith, but holds that which is of faith otherwise than by faith. Even so, it is evident that a man whose mind holds a conclusion without knowing how it is proved, has not scientific knowledge, but merely an opinion about it. Now it is manifest that he who adheres to the teaching of the Church, as to an infallible rule, assents to whatever the Church teaches; otherwise, if, of the things taught by the Church, he holds what he chooses to hold, and rejects what he chooses to reject, he no longer adheres to the teaching of the Church as to an infallible rule, but to his own will. Hence it is evident that a heretic who obstinately disbelieves one article of faith, is not prepared to follow the teaching of the Church in all things; but if he is not obstinate, he is no longer in heresy but only in error. Therefore it is clear that such a heretic with regard to one article has no faith in the other articles, but only a kind of opinion in accordance with his own will.

Hence, we can say with absolute certainty, that what Pope Francis said, namely:

The starting point of salvation is not the confession of the sovereignty of Christ, but rather the imitation of Jesus’ works of mercy through which he brought about his kingdom. 

Is heretical, because, this proposition denies the salvific merit which accrues from every confession of Christ’s sovereignty. In doing this, it denies that man’s justification begins with Faith, confessed either in mind alone or also on the lips.

This is the direct teaching of St. Paul, the infallible teacher of the nations.  Let us take a look at Romans 10:9 again:

For, if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

In the Greek* we have for “the Lord Jesus”, kurion Ihsoun, a double accusative singular, which signifies not only “the Lord Jesus”, but “Jesus as Lord”.  But to recognize that Jesus is Lord, is to recognize his Sovereignty.   And thus St. Paul links the confession of Christ’s Sovereignty to salvation.  Thus, to explicitly deny that salvation begins with such a confession, directly denies the teaching of St. Paul.  But to deny the truth affirmed in any passage of Sacred Scripture is heretical, the very definition of heresy, for one separates himself from a truth revealed by God, through St. Paul.

Thus, to the homily which Pope Francis uttered today, we must respond:  No, Francis, what you just said is heresy!

But, as St. Thomas says, at the end of the above, quote, merely to say what is heretical does not make one a heretic, unless he is obstinate in his error.

How, then, does a Catholic assist a fellow Catholic from falling into  obstinacy, regarding a heretical doctrine?

First, he should point out to his brother, his sin and the error; then, remind him, that without the truth and authentic Faith it is impossible to be saved.  Third, we should pray for the brother so long as we are not certain of his obstinacy. After that, according to the teaching of St. John the Apostle, we are not obliged to pray for his repentance; however, we may continue to do so, or instead we  may pray to be delivered from him, or for God to punish him for his sin.

Let us, in charity, rebuke the Holy Father for his error, so injurious to the very essence of salvation in Christ.

 

________________________

 

Cf. the Greek-English interlinear text for Romans chapter ten at

http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/rom10.pdf

 

Cf. Also, the Petition to the Cardinals regarding the Grave Improprieties of Pope Francis

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/petition2CardinalsReFrancis