Friday, October 29, 2010

The Liturgy of the Hours Book Review on Aquinas and More

This item received 5 stars overall. (10/21/2010)

Orthodoxy: Completely orthodox.
Reading Level: Intermediate

Ignatius BenedictBy Ignatius Benedict (OH) - See all my reviews


Pray in the heart of the Church

Evaluator Comments

The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office, has for centuries been called the "prayer of the Church".  All the ordained are required to start the day with Morning Prayer and the Religious pray the entire Office. Since Vatican Council II, the laity have been encouraged to participate individually or as a community in this most sacred and ancient form of prayer.
The Liturgy of the Hours are divided into specific hours of the day, which comes to us from the Jewish tradition known to Jesus and the Apostles. We see in Scripture from the Book of Acts, the Apostles going to the Temple to pray during the 3rd hour or ninth hour. The Divine Office fulfills in Christianity the Jewish practice of praying 8 times a day. The Hours are: Lauds or Morning Prayer, Day Time Prayer which include Terce, Sext, None, Vespers or Evening Prayer, and lastly Compline or Night Prayer. 
This edition from the Catholic Book Publishing has all of the Hours available in an easy to follow format, once one understands how the book is structured. Also included in the Hours are the Readings which include Scripture and writings from the Fathers of the Church. The Hours include a four-week Grail Psalter following the Roman Calendar with Solemnities and Feast Days of the Saints. 
The structure of the Major Hours (Lauds, Vespers, Compline) goes like this:
Opening prayer or Invitatory
Psalter with Canticles
Short passage of Scripture
Canticle taken from Maginificant or Benedictus
Intercessions of the Church
The Lord's Prayer
Concluding Prayer
Blessing given by a priest or deacon
I highly recommend this edition of the Liturgy of the Hours and this form of liturgical worship. It draws one close to God through participating in the ancient prayer of the Church. 
You can purchase this book here from the leading Catholic online store, Aquinas and More.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Islamization of Europe - France

Here you will see Muslims rioting at a "Free Palestine" march against uniformed police somewhere in Europe. The police are overwhelmed and forced to disperse down the street as the angry mob chants Islamic slogans at them. My dear Brethren, I fear this is just the beginning of the aggressions Europe will see in the years to come.

Due to Western society's pluralistic beliefs, we are seeing France and other countries become Islamic, meaning laws are ignored to grant special privilege to the Muslim way of life. In the below video, which was captured in France by a brave Crusader who by the way has a death warrant on his head , shows Muslims lining the streets of Paris for prayer. Paris law forbids blocking the streets, which they are clearly doing.

I recently learned about an ancient prophecy concerning the end of days where the Great Monarch will come to power after or during a period of great chastisement from God the world has never experienced. This Monarch will be from Gaul/France and will rule with an iron sword all of Europe. All of the republics will fail, as clearly they are doing now, and crumble as the Holy Roman Empire is revived and the great King will rule with His Holiness the Pope at his side. The Protestant sects will cease to exist, all Christians will come back into the one fold, and Christendom will be at the strongest it will ever be. There will be a holy Crusade to remove evil from this world, and we will have a great period of peace.

You can read about this prophecy in the post below.

The Catholic Knight: Catholic Prophecy

The Catholic Knight: Catholic Prophecy: "THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Sit down my readers, grab a cup of tea and I'll tell you a story about your future. Actually it's our future, and ..."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pray for the revival of Catholic England

"Jesus! Jesus! Let England be converted! Let it be done! Let it be done!" - Motto of the College of St. Omer

Monday, October 11, 2010

St. Michael the Archangel: Patron and Defender of Soldiers

St. Michael the Archangel Medal

I served in Iraq during what was called, Operation Iraqi Freedom III during the time period of 2005 - 2006. My unit's mission was to seek and destroy improvised explosive devices (IED's) along the country's maim supply routes (MSR's). This is a highly dangerous mission which required mental strength, faith, and an aggressive desire in every fiber of one's being to live. I'm about to share a story from combat that I believe was a miracle caused by the Hand of God involving a blessed medal and faith in Him who defends His children.

We had been in country for a few months running our patrols. I was assigned with the convoy's commander, 1st Lieutenant Butler, as his personal Humvee driver for the majority of the deployment. I must first retrace my steps to the day I received my first and only St. Michael's medal.

I was at the airport in Indianapolis, IN ready to board a plane with my unit for departure to Kuwait. There was a Catholic priest there serving as Chaplin. He announced if anyone would like to pray with him before we leave, he would be available. My squad leader suggested we go and take the Chaplin's offer. As he finished saying a blessing over us, he gave me the St. Michael's medal. I put it on my dog tags and there it stayed close to my body for the next year.

So, we're out on a routine mission and we think we spot some debris on the side of the road under this overpass. The debris consisted of a sack and some other garbage typical of Iraq's countryside. The convoy stopped and we all jumped out with weapon's in hand ready to pull security while the IED vehicle called the "Buffalo" conducted its investigation of the garbage. My crew and I were standing no more than 20-30 yards away from the overpass. It was dusk as we stood on the street looking for enemy forces lingering in any side street or building window. Roughly a few minutes into the Buffalo's search of the garbage, I saw this flash of light come from underneath the over pass right beside the Buffalo. Then I heard the sound of the explosion which followed afterwards. I knew right away what I saw and heard was an IED exploding right in front of me and my fellow soldiers. In that split second I turned and ran for cover behind my Humvee trying not to get hit by the shrapnel as the sound of metal whizzed by my head and "pinged" off my truck, making what would become the all-too familiar sound of metal on metal. After I full realized what had just happened, I searched my legs and torso for any blood, to my amazement everyone survived except the tires, windows, and hydraulic arm of the Buffalo. The crew was OK as well, though a little shook up, but in one piece. This occurrence would be one of many like it during our one year in combat.
The Buffalo -  IED Hunting Vehicle
The Buffalo was damaged to the point it was immobile and we could not go on any further with our mission. We radioed base requesting a tow vehicle to haul the Buffalo back to base. We continued to pull security until our help came. We ended up pulling a 19-hour mission that night. I remember thanking God for saving my life that evening. I also remember feeling as if my St. Michael medal had something to do with this divine intervention as well. I think God protected all of us that night and our patron St. Michael was the one there deflecting the pieces of metal flying through the air. No other thought has ever crossed my mind regarding how I survived that evening unscathed. I thanked St. Michael and all our Guardian Angels for protecting us, and I particularly thanked God for His wisdom in creating such protectors for us.

The Prayer to St. Michael holds a special place in my heart. For me this prayer rings true not only in an invisible, spiritual way. Rather in a concrete way where this magnificent Angel of God crosses into our physical World and intervenes in our daily lives, truly defending us from the snares and wickedness of Satan.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Credo - Symbolum Apostolicum

In English:
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again.

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.


In Latin:
Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae,
et in Iesum Christum, Filium Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum,
qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine,
passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus,
descendit ad ínferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis,
ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Patris omnipotentis,
inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos.
Credo in Spiritum Sanctum,
sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem,
remissionem peccatorum,
carnis resurrectionem,
vitam aeternam.

The part of the Apostle's Creed I would like to focus on is the part that says "sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam" or "holy Catholic Church".  I contest centuries ago, before the so-called Protestant "Reformation" (it hardly reformed anything but rather caused schism and heresy), Christians since the formulation of the Apostle's Creed (and Nicea) correctly understood which Church they were professing belief in. For there were two bodies of believers before the Reformation. The Apostolic Church consisting of the Western Roman and Eastern Greek Churches, and the heretics consisting of Arians, Donatism, Gnostics, Marcionism, Montanism, etc. For more ancient heresies of Christianity visit here

Before the division of Christians during and after the "Reformation", Catholics and Orthodox Christians who recited the Creeds understood the "holy Catholic Church" to be the same Church as those who had written the statement of faith. And they were correct in their thinking. Pre-"Reformation" all Christians, whether from the East or West, outside of the heretics, were all in an Apostolic body that was unified in faith, practice, and leadership. They understood that their Metropolitan Bishop's succession to the See could be traced back to the Apostles and Early Church Bishops. It was a very concrete thing and it did not take much mental power to comprehend this reality. Since the thousands of denominations that have sprung up since the "Reformation", this is still not the case outside of Catholicism and Orthodoxy. 

The Protestant mindset when analyzing the Apostle's and Nicean Creeds are only half way there to the full understanding of the Catholic/Orthodox belief at the words "holy Catholic Church". The Protestant will say, and I have a pretty good idea since I used to have this same mindset out of ignorance, that when he/she says "I believe in the holy catholic Church" they are not referring to any particular "denomination", but rather all the "true believers" who have professed Jesus as Lord and Savior. These "true believers" could not possibly be counted since they can be at any place and time in the world. I take this belief to be very abstract and it doesn't sound like much to believe in...personally an invisible body of believers gives me little comfort. This ideal hardly fulfills the Lord's words when he says his followers are to be as obvious as a light on a hill (Matt. 5:14). 

Thinking about this more thoroughly, I'd say there are other conclusions a Protestant can come to with "holy Catholic Church". Although, they certainly would never say it's the "Roman" Church. The die-hard fundamentalist could believe their denomination, though created some man in the last few centuries, truly is the church spoken of in the Creed. This type of believer insists all other Christian expressions are incorrect and their particular "church" was doctrinally right in its founding, thus it can be the church spoken of in the Creeds (Baptists come to mind here). Another Protestant believer might say their denomination branched off of an Apostolic Church at some point, so it can trace it's lineage back to this Church spoken of in the early Creeds. 
I find both, and indeed all of these theories, to be problematic.  The "branch-theory" could not work in the case of Protestantism. The reason the Orthodox are properly and rightly considered Apostolic and true Churches is because they maintained the priesthood, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the 7 Sacraments, Liturgical worship, hierarchy, etc. The true Apostolic faith minus their acceptance of the Pope as having universal jurisdictional authority. The Protestant's completely threw away the Apostolic faith and adopted a new set of beliefs, some of which were condemned in the past. So, for a Protestant to claim the "branch theory" would liken to a member of an ancient heretical cult claiming they too are true Catholic or Orthodox Christians. It's not logical nor reasonable. 

Secondly, for a person, such as a Baptist, to think their denomination (usually as ridged as their individual congregational church) is correct and all other expressions are in error, they would have to show historically how their beliefs today can be found throughout all of Christianity's history. They would need to back up their theology using the Early Church Fathers, Councils, Creeds, and Scripture of course. Any honest person will tell you that at some point, all Protestant denominations, and even those non-denominational denominations, can find their origins in a person who was once Catholic and left the Church to start his own version of Christianity (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, King Henry VIII, Thomas Cramner, John Knox, etc.). For a belief like this to hold would mean Christians for nearly two thousand years were in error, possibly damning error, and Christians were "lost" for all this time until Calvin or Luther or Rick Warren came onto the scene to lead people to the correct beliefs. I find no logic in this and frankly appalling. I don't buy into this "Remnant" belief some extreme Fundamentalist Evangelicals adhere to either. 

So what should an Evangelical, Non-denominational, Protestant be thinking of when they recite the words of the Creed stating belief in the "holy Catholic Church"? They should be thinking of the Catholic Church headed by the current Pope, Benedict XVI. If they think it means the invisible set of true believers in Christ, they are half way there, but not fully correct. Catholics believe too that if one is baptized in the Trinity, they are a Christian and are some how mystically connected to the physical Church Jesus established over two thousand years ago. We regret they are not in full communion with us and we pray for their return to orthodoxy and orthopraxy. 
Protestants are Christians thanks to the baptism and belief in Jesus. However they are sects within Christianity and they lack many of the graces Christ intends for his children to have. They have the Scriptures, which many enjoy abusing by making themselves the sole authority on its interpretation, and they have prayer, along with Baptism and Matrimony.  They severely lack the New Covenant priesthood, Eucharist, Absolution from sins through Confession, and to sum it up, the fullness of faith as promised by the Holy Spirit. I pray for their return to the Church of Christ so that Jesus' powerful prayer "may they all be one" in St. John 17 would be fulfilled.