Is There A Doctor In The House? Doctors of the Church

A “Doctor” of the Church is a person, officially proclaimed by a pope, whose life shows:

1) holiness that is truly outstanding, even among saints;

2) depth of doctrinal insight; and

3) an extensive body of writings which the church can recom­mend as an expression of the authentic and life-giving Catholic Tradition.

(Further details are here).  There are 33 doctors:  30 are men and 3 are women.  John Paul II proclaimed the most recent doctor of the Church.  Who was she? Hint: She told the story of her soul.  Who are the other two women?  One was known for her dialogues and speaking very frankly to the Holy Father (as Italians are wont to do) and the other spent much time in her interior castle.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of many of the men: St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis de Sales, St. Augustine, and St. Jerome.  Some others are little more obscure: St. Ephraem the Deacon, St. Anselm (unless you are a philosophy major),  and St. Bonaventure (St. Francis of Assisi’s right-hand man).

Of the writings that I am familiar with, St. Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Theresa’s Interior Castle, and St. Therese’s Story of a Soul are the best.

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Our Lady of Good Help — An Approved Marian Apparition In The United States

Our Sunday Visitor is reporting that the Church has approved an 1859 Marian apparition that occurred in Champion, Wisconsin.  The Blessed Mother appeared to Adele Brise three times.  The last time, according to the story, the Blessed Mother asked Adele:

Upon returning home with her companions, the apparition appeared a final time. When Brise asked the identity of the apparition as she was instructed, it replied, “I am the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same.”

Brise then asked the apparition what she desired of her, and the apparition replied: “Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation. … Teach them their catechism, how to sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross, and how to approach the sacraments; that is what I wish you to do. Go and fear nothing. I will help you.”

Interestingly, the Church has two levels of approval for events such as this.  The first is to permit worship and other religious activities to occur at the location.  The second level is a declaration that the event is of “supernatural origin” and worthy of belief by Christians.  Note well, though, that belief is not binding on us, the Church only proposes it as worthy of belief.   Here is the proclamation from Green Bay Bishop David L. Ricken:

“I declare with moral certainty and in accord with the norms of the Church that the events, apparitions and locutions given to Adele Brise in October 1859 do exhibit the substance of supernatural character, and I do hereby approve these apparitions as worthy of belief (although not obligatory) by the Christian faithful,” he said.

Mary’s message is straightforward: catechesis of children.  Isn’t that one of our most important duties as Catholic dads?

If you are interested in more information, check out the OSV story linked above, the webapage of the Diocese of Green Bay that is devoted to this issue, and the website of Our Lady of Good Help.

The Angel Of The Lord Declared Unto Mary . . .

The Angelus is a simple but very moving prayer in honor of the Incarnation and of the Blessed Mother.  This You Tube ( (c) 2010) video is a beautiful rendition of it.  The singer is Brother Alphonsus Mary, a Carmelite brother.  If you like it, feel free to share it.

Cardinal Wuerl’s Letter About Findtheperfectgift.org

Cardinal Wuerl sent this letter via e-mail.  It’s posted here in case you missed it:
December 6, 2010
Saint Nicholas

Dear Friends,

In the center of Saint Peter’s Square in Rome each Advent, the Vatican erects a beautiful monumental-size Nativity scene.  While I was in Rome for the Consistory a couple of weeks ago, the construction of the Nativity scene was just beginning.  Watching the workers put together the Christmas home for the Holy Family, I was struck by the truth that we are all called to build up the home of Christ, the Catholic Church, to invite others home and to serve those who have no home.

The image of the Virgin Mary and Joseph with the newborn child Jesus in a manger reminds us what the Magi discovered that first Christmas.  Jesus is the one for whom we are all searching, the answer to every question.  In fact, that is the message that thousands of individuals, families and parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington will offer this Advent season through yard signs inviting others to  “Find The Perfect Gift.”

Christmas reminds us of this great Good News that God is with us, that the perfect gift isn’t one you can buy in a store.  So often, we are quick to share the latest great buy or new restaurant with friends, yet reluctant to share the gift of Christ.  Why not commit to sharing that news with just one person this holiday season?  The knowledge that God loves us more than we can imagine is an incredible gift that we should share.  If you are uncomfortable about inviting someone to church, tell them that Cardinal Wuerl wanted them to come home for Christmas and encourage them to visit FindThePerfectGift.org.

An important part of being Catholic is living out Christ’s love for us by caring for others.  When we serve others, we serve Christ himself: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).  Christmas is a perfect time to share God’s love for us with our neighbors in need.

Here in our own community, many families have been hit hard by the economic crisis.  Local governments are making difficult budget cuts and critical social services are being affected.  One of the groups hit hardest by the budget cuts will be the poorest among us, those who have no home.  Our local Church knows first hand the pain of these families.  Catholic Charities is one of the region’s largest providers of emergency and supportive transitional housing and every day is on the front lines working to provide shelter and the care to help move the homeless back into homes and onto a path of success.

Catholic Charities and other organizations in the archdiocese depend on volunteers and support from our parishioners.  Right now, Catholic Charities is readying hypothermia centers for homeless men and women and families.  Volunteers are needed this winter to help the dedicated staff at Catholic Charities serve our brothers and sisters in need, to see Christ in the face of the poor among us.

Today, December 6, the Church remembers Saint Nicholas, who has been venerated for centuries as a giver of gifts.  He was the bishop of Myra in the 4th century in Asia Minor.  In his day a young woman needed a dowry to be married or she might end up in destitution.  Legend tells us that Saint Nicholas would secretly place coins in stockings as they were hung out to dry in the evening, thus giving the poor a chance for a brighter future.

Saint Nicholas’ image has changed in the last centuries to become Santa Claus.  While the joy of Santa is something we all can appreciate, the centrality of the birth of Jesus sadly is being pushed from the public consciousness.  It does not have to be this way.  Together, we can reclaim the season and take pride in our faith and identity as Catholics.  Exchanging gifts and enjoying the cheer of the season is a wonderful part of Christmas, but as we do, let us remember that the hanging of our stockings recalls a loving saint, the reason for Christmas is Christ’s Mass and the deepest expression of giving is sharing God’s love with others.  The most powerful gifts we can give are not material things, but this love, the love of Jesus Christ.  As we prepare for Christmas, let us thank God that we have found the perfect gift in Jesus and let us share that gift with another who is still searching for the perfect gift.

May this Christmas be a time of peace and joy for you and your loved ones.

 
Faithfully in Christ,

Donald Cardinal Wuerl
Archbishop of Washington

5 for 5: Thoughts On The Five Episodes Of Luke, Chapter 5

We are progressing through St. Luke’s Gospel. We have joined Mary in her Magnificat; Simeon and Anna; Mary, Joseph, and the teachers of Law in finding Jesus in the Temple; and have pondered the mystery of Jesus’ genealogy. In Chapter 5, His ministry really begins and we are treated to five episodes.

The Call of Sts. Peter and Andrew

The first is the call of Simon, the fisherman and his partners, the Sons of Thunder. (St. Andrew is not mentioned). There are a number of things to notice about this episode. First, “[t]he fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge[.]” Proverbs 1:7. Something about this incident convinces Peter that he is in the presence of Someone greater than he is. What is it? It’s not just the miracle; Jesus had already healed Peter’s mother-in-law. It’s not just the physical proximity – Peter had spent time talking and listening to Christ at the encouragement of Andrew (and, indeed, had been renamed). Other questions arise: What does this tell us about “fear of the Lord?” What does Peter call Jesus at the beginning of this passage and what does he call Jesus at the end? Why the difference and what does it mean?

Next comes the healing of the leper. There are several aspects of this passage that bear attention. First, this passage recalls something we just read. The contrast between the two is telling. The story of Naaman the Syrian in the Second Book of Kings is very, very important in this context. Read it.  Following the healing of the man with leprosy is the healing of the paralytic man. This passage emphasizes the unity among believers and the value of intercessory prayer. There is something unique in this passage. What is it and why is it important?  The fourth episode is the Call of Levi. It is interesting to compare the Call of Levi and the Call of Peter. At their core, they are the same. How so? If our response to Jesus’ call lacks the element common to Sts. Peter’s and Matthew’s, is our response deficient?  The final episode of Luke, Chapter 5 is the parable of the old and new wine skins and the discussion of fasting. In addition, Christ gives us some direction on fasting as practice. Once again, we see a strong parallel between Chapters 4 and 5 (Luke 4:1-4). The Vatican gives a hint in the following:

The practice of fasting, characteristic of the lenten season since antiquity, is an “exercise” which frees the faithful from earthly concerns so as to discover the life that comes from above: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (cf. Dt 8,3; Mt 4, 4; Lk 4,4; antiphon for the first Sunday of Lent).

So those are the five episodes of Luke, Chapter 5. What do you think?

Sources: Sts. Peter and Andrew

“Judas Asparagus”

A Church Guy sent this along. It is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face:

“Judas Asparagus”:

A child was asked to write a book report on the entire Bible. Here is what was written:

The Children’s Bible in
a Nutshell

In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, ‘The Lord thy God is one,’ but I think He must be a lot older than that.

Anyway, God said, ‘Give me a light!’ and someone did.

Then God made the world.

He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren’t embarrassed because mirrors hadn’t been invented yet.

Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden…..Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn’t have cars.

Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel.

Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.

One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check. Then the sewers backed up and everything flooded but Noah did not fish much since he only had two worms.

After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.

Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh’s people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable.

God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include: don’t lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor’s stuff.

Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother.

One of Moses’ best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.

After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn’t sound very wise to me.

After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore.

There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don’t have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New Testament. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me, ‘Close the door! Were you born in a barn?’ It would be nice to say, ‘As a matter of fact, I was.’)

During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Republicans.

Jesus also had twelve opossums.The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount.

But the Republicans and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn’t stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.

Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.

 

An Open Letter To The County Council To Stop Partial Birth Abortion In Our County

A fellow member of St. Francis of Assisi wrote this and I thought it worthy to pass on. . . .

Dear Council Member,

As a parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Derwood, MD, a member of Pax Christi Metro DC, and Montgomery County resident, I believe in the life and dignity of every human being that is gifted to all by God. I ask you in the peace and love of God to speak out against, and shut down, Dr. Carhart’s late-term abortion clinic in Germantown. No one denies that these little children can live outside the womb with the help of the appropriate medical equipment. Why should they have an infinite value outside the womb, so that we will do everything in our power to save their lives, but inside the womb so little, to no value at all? These children are fully formed in their mother’s womb. Consider the pain caused to one of these helpless, little ones, when they are being put to death through late-term abortion procedures. This does not respect or dignify human life. I ask you to also consider the health risks to women in these types of procedures, because abortion clinics are not regulated, and do no follow-up on the condition of the women that go thru with their abortions. Many women end up with health problems due to botched abortion procedures, including depression, and even worse the inabilityto have children at all. Please stand up for these little children, the most vulnderable members of our community, and for women who need assistance to carry their babies to full term. These children are persons, like us, and they have a right to life, like us.

In Peace, Respectfully,

[A Parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi]