Monday thru Friday on the
CATHOLIC-INTERNET NETWORK at
See why so many consider the
Daily CATHOLIC as the
"USA Today for CATHOLICS!"
December 14, 1998
SECTION ONE vol 9, no. 241
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION TWO
No amount of reason can deny that knowledge can only mature into wisdom through the Holy Spirit
On the feast of one of the first women Doctors of the Church Saint Teresa of Jesus, the Holy Father issued his 13th encyclical on the foundations of faith and reason entitled Fides et Ratio. Today we continue with the ninth part of this lengthy and important encyclical in installments spread out over several issues. The ninth installment continues the fourth chapter The Relationship between Faith and Reason focusing on "The enduring originality of the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas" in which the Holy Father continues his thought begun in the first chapter in which he took the reader from the Apostles to Saint Augustine. Now he delves specifically into the other "bookend" of the greatest Doctor of the Church Saint Thomas Aquinas with reasserts the wisdom of this great saint on faith and reason who relied on the Holy Spirit to discern and determine "what is." For those wanting to read the entire encyclical, go to Fides et Ratio For the ninth installment, click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS.
POPE JOHN PAUL II'S 13TH ENCYCLICAL ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FAITH AND REASON RELEASED OCTOBER 16, 1998
NEXT WEEK: The drama of the separation of faith and reason
Part Nine of FIDES ET RATIO: CHAPTER IV: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FAITH AND REASON
The enduring originality of the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas
43. A quite special place in this long development belongs to Saint Thomas, not only because of what he taught
but also because of the dialogue which he undertook with the Arab and Jewish thought of his time. In an age
when Christian thinkers were rediscovering the treasures of ancient philosophy, and more particularly of
Aristotle, Thomas had the great merit of giving pride of place to the harmony which exists between faith and
reason. Both the light of reason and the light of faith come from God, he argued; hence there can be no
contradiction between them.(44)
More radically, Thomas recognized that nature, philosophy's proper concern, could contribute to the
understanding of divine Revelation. Faith therefore has no fear of reason, but seeks it out and has trust in it.
Just as grace builds on nature and brings it to fulfilment,(45) so faith builds upon and perfects reason.
Illumined by faith, reason is set free from the fragility and limitations deriving from the disobedience of sin and
finds the strength required to rise to the knowledge of the Triune God. Although he made much of the
supernatural character of faith, the Angelic Doctor did not overlook the importance of its reasonableness;
indeed he was able to plumb the depths and explain the meaning of this reasonableness. Faith is in a sense
an “exercise of thought”; and human reason is neither annulled nor debased in assenting to the contents of
faith, which are in any case attained by way of free and informed choice.(46)
This is why the Church has been justified in consistently proposing Saint Thomas as a master of thought and a
model of the right way to do theology. In this connection, I would recall what my Predecessor, the Servant of God
Paul VI, wrote on the occasion of the seventh centenary of the death of the Angelic Doctor: “Without doubt,
Thomas possessed supremely the courage of the truth, a freedom of spirit in confronting new problems, the
intellectual honesty of those who allow Christianity to be contaminated neither by secular philosophy nor by a
prejudiced rejection of it. He passed therefore into the history of Christian thought as a pioneer of the new path
of philosophy and universal culture. The key point and almost the kernel of the solution which, with all the
brilliance of his prophetic intuition, he gave to the new encounter of faith and reason was a reconciliation
between the secularity of the world and the radicality of the Gospel, thus avoiding the unnatural tendency to
negate the world and its values while at the same time keeping faith with the supreme and inexorable demands
of the supernatural order”.(47)
44. Another of the great insights of Saint Thomas was his perception of the role of the Holy Spirit in the process
by which knowledge matures into wisdom. From the first pages of his Summa Theologiae,(48) Aquinas was
keen to show the primacy of the wisdom which is the gift of the Holy Spirit and which opens the way to a
knowledge of divine realities. His theology allows us to understand what is distinctive of wisdom in its close link
with faith and knowledge of the divine. This wisdom comes to know by way of connaturality; it presupposes faith
and eventually formulates its right judgement on the basis of the truth of faith itself: “The wisdom named among
the gifts of the Holy Spirit is distinct from the wisdom found among the intellectual virtues. This second wisdom
is acquired through study, but the first 'comes from on high', as Saint James puts it. This also distinguishes it
from faith, since faith accepts divine truth as it is. But the gift of wisdom enables judgement according to divine
Yet the priority accorded this wisdom does not lead the Angelic Doctor to overlook the presence of two other
complementary forms of wisdom—philosophical wisdom, which is based upon the capacity of the intellect, for
all its natural limitations, to explore reality, and theological wisdom, which is based upon Revelation and which
explores the contents of faith, entering the very mystery of God.
Profoundly convinced that “whatever its source, truth is of the Holy Spirit” (omne verum a quocumque dicatur a
Spiritu Sancto est) (50) Saint Thomas was impartial in his love of truth. He sought truth wherever it might be
found and gave consummate demonstration of its universality. In him, the Church's Magisterium has seen and
recognized the passion for truth; and, precisely because it stays consistently within the horizon of universal,
objective and transcendent truth, his thought scales “heights unthinkable to human intelligence”.(51) Rightly,
then, he may be called an “apostle of the truth”.(52) Looking unreservedly to truth, the realism of Thomas could
recognize the objectivity of truth and produce not merely a philosophy of “what seems to be” but a philosophy of
(44) Cf. Summa contra Gentiles, I, 7.
(45) Cf. Summa Theologiae, I, 1, 8 ad 2: “cum enim gratia non tollat naturam sed perficiat”.
(46) Cf. John Paul II, Address to the Participants at the IX International Thomistic Congress (29 September
1990): Insegnamenti, XIII, 2 (1990), 770-771.
(47) Apostolic Letter Lumen Ecclesiae (20 November 1974), 8: AAS 66 (1974), 680.
(48) Cf. I, 1, 6: “Praeterea, haec doctrina per studium acquiritur. Sapientia autem per infusionem habetur, unde
inter septem dona Spiritus Sancti connumeratur”.
(49) Ibid., II-II, 45, 1 ad 2; cf. also II-II, 45, 2.
(50) Ibid., I-II, 109, 1 ad 1, which echoes the well known phrase of the Ambrosiaster, In Prima Cor 12:3: PL 17,
(51) Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Æterni Patris (4 August 1879): ASS 11 (1878-79), 109.
(52) Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Lumen Ecclesiae (20 November 1974), 8: AAS 66 (1974), 683.
Self-esteem can only be groomed in God's mirror!
As we prepare for Christmas, we continue to bring you the signature feature of Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv. who constantly preaches living in the heart. In today's installment he shows that if we are rooted in God and have our hearts set on Him alone, then we have no need to fear what others may say or think. But, too often, we place more emphasis on the opinions of others and, when we do this, we reveal where our heart really is...and that becomes the major problem. For Father's column How to pray with the heart part four , click on HEARTS TO HEART TALK
How to Pray with the Heart part four
So many of the pains, sufferings, and evils of our day are with us because the dignity of the human person is not given recognition. Human beings are treated like animals at times, brutally dealt with, receiving merciless infections of degrading humiliations. Even animals are at times given more lofty consideration than humans. All this because of mankind's turning away from its Divine Source and being unmindful of the infinite value that God puts into each and every person, no matter how lowly in stature any person may appear in the eyes of his fellow persons. How good and considerate of God to let it be known to all men of all times that even inhuman treatment from others can reap for any victim a state of joyu with His teaching of "Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice' sake..."
What others do to me disregarding my dignity is one thing; what I do to myself disregarding that same dignity is yet another. If I myself am not aware of the worth that I have before God and deal with myself in an inhuman way, I have no one to blame but myself. The more I keep my eyes on myself, the more faults I find in me and the less respect I give to the "Who" that I am. When I take my eyes away from my essential worth and deal with myself as a bundle of habits, some good, some bad, I open the door for others to treat me with disrespect. For me to build myself up in my own estimation after a put-down by others, it needs for me to say to myself with conviction, "I am a PERSON! I am a subject of the Most High King. I AM important!"
It is the very Maker of me Who says to me, "Thou shalt love your neighbor as YOURSELF." In giving me importance, God insists that I give myself that same importance. In my own eyes I must be to me what I am as He knows me to be. My true self has the value which He Himself gave and gives to me. If I consider myself of any lesser value, I do Him and myself an injustice.
In the next installment, I shall continue on dignity and how outside forces influence us away from God.
We can better root out pride from our hearts when we are on our knees as humble servants
The Blessed Mother in Message #314 hits home on the issue Father Valenta speaks about above when she zeroes in on the root of the problem: Pride. For it is our lack of humility that enables the evil one to infiltrate our minds, hearts and souls. Her Divine Son Jesus follows up in Message #315, imparted on March 29, 1993 to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart, that true humility calls for all to bow and bend their knee to Him as King of Kings and to exhibit this where He is always truly present - in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. By showing Him this utmost respect we are constantly reminded that only through Him can we be free of Pride - for of ourselves we are nothing, but with God we are everything. For the messages 314 and 315, click on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..."
Messages Three Hundred-fourteen and Three Hundred-fifteen
Message Three Hundred-fourteen, March 28, 1993
(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart of Mary)
Beloved Hidden Flower, I love you and all of my little ones. Yet, how saddened am I to behold the pride hidden beneath the false humility of many of my little ones.
O! I am weeping! I shed many tears beseeching you to open your hearts. Many have opened their hearts. They have tasted but a minute portion of Goodness. Then, rushing headlong into battle they have neglected the virtues of humility and obedience. Obedience is humility. Humility is chained to obedience.
Now, little children, I beseech you to pray and to adore and reverence my Divine Son in the Blessed Sacrament.
Do not grow weary! I say to all that satan makes use of your lukewarmness and in an instant your burning ardor for God is nothing but a dying ember.
Soon I shall no longer be among you. Therefore, I solemnly tell you that the evil one has penetrated to the highest ranks of my Divine Son's Church. The world is driven mad by man's willingness to heed satan's call and not God's.
Therefore, I beg of each of you to consecrate yourself to the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier. He shall come. He shall enrich your soul. To you shall be given Divine Knowledge and understanding.
I solemnly ask all my children to read the Book of Revelation with the
discernment of the Holy Spirit. This is very important. You will begin to understand the words I have spoken for so long and all the great, sublime gifts God desires to give all His children. Read this part of Sacred Scripture slowly, and before and after your reading say slowly the Our Father. The prayer of my Divine Son explains the Book of Revelation, but you cannot accept, know or understand without the Holy Spirit.
In these days when you share more clearly in my Divine Son's Passion, please pray to the Holy Spirit and be filled with His Presence.
I, the Mother of God, have said all. I have shown you the way. Now you must decide and choose that path of Salvation which is the Way of the Cross, or you shall perish in the Time of Tears, Sorrow and Darkness.
Only those whose hearts are filled by the Holy Spirit shall know peace and joy even in the midst of great trials.
Almighty God is asking for your "Fiat," and it must come now and be with all your being.
Again, wait, watch, pray! I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
Message Three Hundred-fifteen, March 29, 1993
(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart)
Beloved Hidden Flower of My Mother's Immaculate Heart, how great is My joy when My little ones come to Me fully prepared to receive Me, their God.
To all of My children everywhere I say solemnly that if your heart is truly open you cannot desire Me in the Holy Eucharist nor come to Me without acknowledging interiorly and exteriorly that I Am God, truly present.
Therefore, I, your Lord and Savior want you to approach Me on bended knee, and by such humility you cause Fonts of Divine Love and Mercy to flow over all the earth.
To those who reject My plea, nay - My order, I solemnly tell you that the moment is upon you when you shall no longer have Me - the Bread of Life. Therefore, be humble, obedient little children and bow before Me, your God and Savior, for I desire only to exchange My Heart for yours, My Divine Will for yours.
Dear children, the abominations have grown too heavy to bear. Daily do these abominations increase and crucify Me.
Come, kneel to receive Me and great shall be My Love and Mercy. Do not be stubborn or proud. Look not upon those who do not heed My words and gossip about you. Pray for them. Forgive them. If all truly believed it is I, Jesus Christ, Truly Present, all would fall to their knees in loving faith.
Speak less and pray more that I may take up My abode in you!
I love and bless you! I am Jesus Christ, Savior of the World, your God and King!
LITURGY OF THE DAY
Today is the the Feast of Saint John of the Cross, priest and religious reformer of the Carmelite Order and a distinguished Doctor of the Church who faced constant persecution and calumny by liberals within his own order. Tomorrow is the Third Tuesday of Advent. For the readings, liturgy, meditations and vignette on Saint John of the Cross, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.
Monday, December 14, 1998
Monday December 14:
Feast of Saint John of the Cross, Carmelite priest and Doctor of the Church
First Reading: Numbers 24: 2-7, 15-17
Psalms: Psalm 25: 4-9
Gospel Reading: Matthew 21: 23-27
December 14: Feast of Saint John of the Cross, Carmelite priest and Doctor of the Church
Born Juan de Yepes y Alvarez in Fontiveros at Old Castile, Spain on June 24, 1542 of very poor parents, Saint John of the Cross was the youngest son of a silk weaver who died shortly after his birth. John's mother moved to Medina del Campo where he was educated in the catechism school under the Jesuits there and learned to love his faith greatly at an early age. Though he had developed the trade of male nurse, he opted for the Carmelites by entering the seminary in 1563. After ordination he returned to Medina del Campo where he first met Saint Teresa of Avila, a spiritual and philosophical bonding that would carry on through their lifetimes. Though he yearned to join the Carthusians because they offered a deeper comtemplative way of life, Teresa was able to convince him to stay and join her in reforming the Carmelite Order for both priests and nuns. Re-energized, he changed his name from John of Saint Matthias to John of the Cross dedicated to living Christ's words in Luke 9:23, "If anyone wishes to follow Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily." On November 28, 1568, aided by four others which included the former prior of the Carmelite Order in Medina Antonio de Heredia, he founded the first house of reform for Carmelite men at Durelo, Spain which marked the beginning of the Discalced Carmelites. Two years later he became rector of the Discalced house of studies at Alcala and in 1572 was reunited with St. Teresa when he was appointed spiritual director of her Convent of the Incarnation at Avila. During his five year stay here the Calced Carmelites, unhappy with the conservative bent of John and Teresa, mounted a campaign against the two saints. In 1577 they kidnapped John and held him prisoner in Toledo, subjecting him to great hardships behind bars as well as intense pressure to give up his crusade for reform and holiness. It was during this time he wrote his famous "The Dark Night of the Soul" where only his faith and goal of the cross kept him sane. After nine months of this intensive punishment that challenged John's inner faith, he escaped the clutches of the Calced and, through the tireless efforts and never-say-no attitude of Teresa the Discalced Carmelites were finally officially recognized in 1579. Immediately John was placed in charge of the Discalced Carmelite College at Baeza for two years before being elected prior at Granada in 1582. Three years later he was appointed provincial of Andalusia and in 1587 selected prior at Segovia, Spain. Through out a twelve year period he established several Discalced houses for men, but in early 1591 the Madrid general chapter dealt the Discalced Carmelites a terrible blow by stripping John of all his offices because of his support for the conservative cause and reduced him to a simple monk, sending him to La Penuela Monastery in Andalusia. His enemies had hoped he'd become so discouraged he'd leave the order or do something that would prompt him to be expelled. Shortly after arriving at the monastery, John, ever the humble one, contracted a fever from which he never recovered. Moved to the priory at Ubeda where he could get the proper medical attention, he died shortly after arriving there on December 14, 1591. He had prophecied the day, date, time and place of his death and true to his words he passed on to a Greater Glory just as the friars began the midnight office. This great mystic's writings which also include "The Ascent of Mount Carmel," "The Spiritual Canticle," and "The Living Flame of Love" have merited him the title of Doctor of the Church inferred on him by Pope Pius XI in 1926. He had been canonized in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII.
Tuesday, December 15, 1998
First Reading: Zephaniah 3: 1-2, 9-13
Psalms: Psalm 34: 2-3, 6-7, 17-18, 19, 23
Gospel Reading: Matthew 21: 28-32
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
Today's Prayers are taken from the Preface of the Carmelite Missal for the Mass honoring Saint John of the Cross:
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give You thanks as we honor St. John of the Cross. His life and teaching set before us anew the mystery of Christ's Cross and victory. He has taught us to make up what is wanting in Christ's passion, and to share and proclaim the joy of his resurrection. Inwardly strengthened by the living flame of Your Spirit, he ascended in darkness to the heights of divine union as he sang canticles of Your love, the Church's greatest treasure.
This is also the time of Advent. For the special Novena Prayer for this day during this time of preparation, click on ADVENT
ADVENT NOVENA PRAYER
O Triune Divinity, we come to you through the intercession of Blessed Mary, ever-Virgin, and St. Joseph, her chaste, holy spouse. In this season of Advent we desire to obtain the grace of purity of intention, that through our obedience to Your Heavenly Will, we, too, can transform our poor, miserable lives into the resplendent stable at Bethlehem where You Only-begotten Son was born.
Through the intercession of Mary, and all the hosts of Heaven, we beseech You, through the merits gained for us by Jesus Christ, Your Only-begotten Son, to help us convert our hearts, to live the messages of Your Mother, and to ardently beseech You to bring about the Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart now, that the Reign of the Sacred Heart might be upon the world.
Heavenly Father, we trust in Your goodness and beseech You to hear us, not because of our worthiness, but because of our willingness to be Your little children who kneel in adoration to their God. Come, let us adore Him!
PRAYER for December 14: Third Monday of Advent - Feast of St. John of the Cross
Blessed Mother, in all your daily work you never lost sight of the privilege which was yours. You know how easily we are distracted, and how weak is our faith. Through your intercession, we humbly ask that in this season of Advent we will no longer be weak, nor lukewarm in our faith. By your intercession may we put forth all our effort to enkindle in our hearts the love of your Divine Son Jesus Christ, which you bore Him throughout your life.
November 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message
For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE AND MORE
Dear children! Today I call you to prepare yourselves for the coming of Jesus. In a special way, prepare your hearts. May holy Confession be the first act of conversion for you and then, dear children, decide for holiness. May your conversion and decision for holiness begin today and not tomorrow. Little children, I call you all to the way of salvation and I desire to show you the way to Heaven. That is why, little children, be mine and decide with me for holiness. Little children, accept prayer with seriousness and pray, pray, pray. Thank you for having responded to my call.
PROVERB OF THE DAY
"The ear that hears, and the eye that sees - the Lord has made them both."
Proverbs 20: 12
Click here to go to SECTION TWO or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.
December 14, 1998 volume 9, no. 241 DAILY CATHOLIC