FRI-SAT-SUN     March 17-19, 2000    vol. 11, no. 55    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • The Story of Saint Patrick part two continued
  • Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW on the real Saint Patrick
  • APPRECIATION OF THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH: Installment 133 - Occasions and Sources of Sin part one


  • STORY OF SAINT PATRICK part two continued:

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    The Legend of Saint Patrick is all about Faith!

       In his column today, Pat Ludwa commemorates the Feast of Saint Patrick by revealing the real side of this "Apostle of Ireland." While overall favorable to Fox's "St. Patrick the Irish Legend" aired Sunday and Thursday, there were some inaccuracies that he points out such as how distorted this saint's life has been picked apart, twisted to make neo-Druidism palatable and how many aspects of our lives today mirror what St. Patrick faced in his life. More importantly he points out a prayer many haven't heard; one that encompasses everything this 5th century saint stood for. It expands on that famous Irish toast:

    In honor of his patron saint, Pat defends this great bishop and missionary in his column today, The Real Saint Patrick . See VIEW FROM THE PEW

    The real Saint Patrick!

          When Fox aired their television movie "St. Patrick, The Irish Legend" this past Sunday evening, I was pleasantly surprised. It showed that there were missionaries sent to Ireland before Patrick (Padraic in the Irish and Patrocus in Roman Britain). But the Bishop that went before was not the self centered fellow they portrayed. It would have been nice if they just showed that he was martyred by the Irish. There were Christians in Ireland before St. Patrick. Slaves, traders, etc., just not that many of them. St. Patrick, as those who went before him, wasn't sent to 'capture the country for the Roman Church' (as some think as was alluded to in the movie) but to act as a bishop, a shepherd, for those already there. Just as Bishop John Carroll, America's first Bishop, wasn't sent to convert America, but to minister to the Christians already there.

          However, because of his experience with the Irish, Patrick knew that his ministry would be futile and short lived if he didn't gain at least the benign support of the High King of Ireland. This oversight by his predecessors probably contributed greatly to their martyrdom.

          It can be excused that the movie had Patrick asking his father for a Bible, considering the Bible (as we know it) wasn't even put together until 397 to 400 AD. And the movie used many of the legends attributed to him. Driving the snakes out of Ireland. (Probably a metaphor for the faith driving the Druids from Ireland), he and his companions being turned into deer to escape an Irish ambush, the 'duel of magic v. faith' between the Druids and Patrick, etc. But then again, we know miracles do happen. Who's to say that they didn't occur? Was it by chance, or Divine Providence that Patrick's 'fire' was lit during the Easter vigil in opposition to the Druidic lighting of the High King's first fire? The Druid's hold over the populace wasn't one of benevolent care, but one based on fear. (Being Irish and weaned on the legends of "The Hound of Cullen", the curse of Ulster [the Pangs], Deirdre, etc.)

          Today, what with the resurrection of neo-paganism, neo-heresies, and political animosity; what with the rise of Wicca, goddess worship, and New Age distortions; what with those in the Church and outside of it, working diligently to undermine the Church and God, maybe we need to also resurrect St. Patrick's prayer, his 'Breastplate':

         

        "I arise today
        Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
        Through a belief in the Threeness,
        Through confession of the Oneness
        Of the Creator of creation.

        I arise today
        Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism,
        Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
        Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
        Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

        I arise today
        Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
        In obedience of angels,
        In service of archangels,
        In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
        In the prayers of patriarchs,
        In preachings of the apostles,
        In faiths of confessors,
        In innocence of virgins,
        In deeds of righteous men.

        I arise today
        Through the strength of Heaven;
        Light of the sun,
        Splendor of fire,
        Speed of lightning,
        Swiftness of the wind,
        Depth of the sea,
        Stability of the earth,
        Firmness of the rock.

        I arise today
        Through God's strength to pilot me;
        God's might to uphold me,
        God's wisdom to guide me,
        God's eye to look before me,
        God's ear to hear me,
        God's word to speak for me.
        God's hand to guard me,
        God's way to lie before me,
        God's shield to protect me,
        God's hosts to save me
        From snares of the devil,
        From temptations of vices,
        From every one who desires me ill,
        Afar and anear,
        Alone or in a mulitude.

        I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
        Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
        Against incantations of false prophets,
        Against black laws of pagandom,
        Against false laws of heretics,
        Against craft of idolatry,
        Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
        Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.

        Christ shield me today
        Against poison, against burning,
        Against drowning, against wounding,
        So that reward may come to me in abundance.

        Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
        Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
        Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
        Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
        Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
        Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
        Christ in the eye that sees me,
        Christ in the ear that hears me.

        I arise today
        Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
        Through a belief in the Threeness,
        Through a confession of the Oneness
        Of the Creator of creation.

          (The Lorica 9Breastplate) of St. Patrick; ca. 377)

          A beer in his honor is not inappropriate, but maybe we should consider the Irish tradition for this day, and attend Mass in honor of this saint.

          Happy St. Patrick's day. May you be a half an hour in Heaven, before the devil, knows you're dead.

      Pax Christi, Pat

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    Appreciation of God's gift of Christ's Redemption and His Church to keep us out of Occasions and Sources of Sin

          Today we continue with our new series in the search to uncover the wonderful treasures of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith. Today we present the first part of the catechesis on Occasions and Sources of Sin as explained in My Catholic Faith and how all need to be aware of these temptations and strive to avoid them at all costs and cling to the Cross. For part one in the 133rd installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

      installment 133: Occasions and Sources of Sin part one

          Vice is easily formed, but requires great struggle to overcome it. The longer a man indulges in vice, the harder is the struggle. He becomes its slave. He is completely carried away by his passions. Only the great grace of God, coupled with a resolute will, can eradicate vice, once it is strongly rooted in a man's nature. This is one reason why we must be most careful to avoid sin, in order not to become victims of vice.

          If we are so unfortunate as to fall into sin, we must at once repent and resolve to avoid it in the future. The near occasions of sin are all persons, places, or things that may easily lead us into sin.

          Most common occasions of sin are: Bad companions. One who provokes or leads us into sin is not our friend. We must stop going with that companion. One rotten apple in a basket of good apples quickly rots the rest. The same is true of human beings. Sin is a contagious disease. If we do not wish to be infected, we must go far away from it

          Another common occasion is MTV, rock bands, parties and dances. Not every dance or song is sinful. But many dances are occasions of sin; and public dances without the presence of respectable adults as chaperones are extremely dangerous. A safe rule to follow is never to go to any place where you would be ashamed to take your virtuous mother or sister. Never go anywhere you wouldn't want Jesus or His Blessed Mother Mary accompanying you.

          In many dances, the women tend to dress with extravagance and immodesty, just to "follow the fashion". Sometimes, too, dances are an occasion for the taking of liberties, due to late hours, and the spirit of unrestrained pleasure.

          Bars, nightclubs, parties where alcohol is served. These are very proximate occasions of sin, leading to intemperance, and worse evils. Those who frequent saloons and "booze parties" are likely to be not only habitual drunkards, but become involved in disputes, and finally end badly even in the temporal sense such as alienation or divorce.

          Lotteries, card games, betting can be a serious occasion of sin because money meant for something else can often be wasted on gambling, causing neglect of family, home and duties.

          Bad newspapers, magazines, questionable internet sites. These are no less dangerous because their wickedness is often not apparent, many hiding their evil under the guise of cleverness, information, science, art, etc. But periodicals gradually undermine faith and make one insensitive to evil. It is the duty of every Catholic to subscribe to a Catholic periodical, and never to favor a wicked press such as Playboy magazine or that ilk and to be very careful in what daily newspapers one reads for there can be subliminal editorial content throughout that promote the culture of death and immorality.

          5. Bad books. Many novels are harmless; some are very helpful, but many are positively wicked. We must be very careful in the selection of the books we read. There are many books of merit according to literary standards, and not offensive to Catholic morals. Many Catholic internet sites publish religious book sources There are Catholic and Christian sites that publish reviews of current fiction most useful for the general reader. We must remember that poisonous food will only kill the body, but poisonous reading kills the soul.

          Indecent films and videos. Today most of the motion pictures and video releases are not decent. All, it seems, are rated R or PG-13 and very few PG's with the number of G rated films that could be counted on your hands. We must be careful to choose only the good and, unfortunately the strong presence and influence of the Catholic National Legion of Decency is no longer thanks to greedy Hollywood moguls who have forced their own value system on audiences. In the past, the Legion of Decency, working under the hierarchy, each week issued a list giving the moral evaluation of current films; it reviewed and classified. It asked every Catholic to take a pledge not to patronize lewd pictures. Today we unfortunately don't have those safety measures thought the United States Bishops Conference does publish movie reviews on their site it is a far cry from the clout the Legion of Decency used to enjoy with everyone. Thus today, responsible Catholics have to be on their guard and on their own in monitoring not only what they watch but what their children - from toddler to teen. It is for this reason the DailyCATHOLIC added Michael Vincent Boyer's twice-weekly column HOW HOLY WOULD HELP HOLLYWOOD. He is presently preparing a feature on the history of the Legion of Decency which was formed in order to unite the laity with the hierarchy in a persistent drive to prevent the showing of lewd pictures. If every decent person kept away from such obscene and violent shows, the producers would surely make better pictures. Supply is according to the demand; we get what we ask for.

          Finally, a new occasion of sin in this generation is Video games. Quite often they are very violent and devoid of merit or any semblance of values. While the games themselves are very realistic, they tend to blind one to reality and too many youth today have difficulty deciphering the difference between violence in real life and in the virtual world. Games such as Dungeons and Dragons from the sixties gave way to the computer generation and today such violent and obscene games have given rise to violence in schools with Columbine serving as a stark reminder of this malady.

          Even games such as "Mario" or "Sonic" or "Crash Bandicoot" which are totally toon or sports games can be occasions of sin for the competitive nature of the games can prompt the players to be uncharitable or spend too much time away, thus alienating them from family and their chores and studies.

      Monday: Occasions and Sources of Sin part two

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    March 17-19, 2000     volume 11, no. 55
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