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August 3, 1998
SECTION ONE   vol 9, no. 150
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION TWO
Every era of history has always and will always be
sustained by hope
In the fifteenth installment of the Holy Father's Apostolic Letter DIES DOMINI, Pope John Paul II begins Chapter Five, illustrating that time was always destined by God. There is no time frame in God's mind as the Holy Father indicates in referencing the beginning of creation and the Crucifixion and Resurrection of His Divine Son for Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega. To read the entire document, you can go to Dies Domini. For Chapter Five: DIES DIERUM Sunday: the Primordial Feast, Revealing the Meaning of Time part one, click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS.
Christ the Alpha and Omega of time
74. "In Christianity time has a fundamental importance. Within the dimension of
time the world was created; within it the history of salvation unfolds, finding its
culmination in the 'fullness of time' of the Incarnation, and its goal in the glorious
return of the Son of God at the end of time. In Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh,
time becomes a dimension of God, who is himself eternal". (118)
In the light of the New Testament, the years of Christ's earthly life truly constitute
the centre of time; this centre reaches its apex in the Resurrection. It is true that
Jesus is God made man from the very moment of his conception in the womb of
the Blessed Virgin, but only in the Resurrection is his humanity wholly transfigured
and glorified, thus revealing the fullness of his divine identity and glory. In his
speech in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia (cf. Acts 13:33), Paul applies the
words of Psalm 2 to the Resurrection of Christ: "You are My Son, this day I have
begotten you" (v. 7). It is precisely for this reason that, in celebrating the Easter
Vigil, the Church acclaims the Risen Christ as "the Beginning and End, the Alpha
and Omega". These are the words spoken by the celebrant as he prepares the
Paschal candle, which bears the number of the current year. These words clearly
attest that "Christ is the Lord of time; he is its beginning and its end; every year,
every day and every moment are embraced by his Incarnation and Resurrection,
and thus become part of the 'fullness of time'". (119)
75. Since Sunday is the weekly Easter, recalling and making present the day upon
which Christ rose from the dead, it is also the day which reveals the meaning of
time. It has nothing in common with the cosmic cycles according to which natural
religion and human culture tend to impose a structure on time, succumbing
perhaps to the myth of eternal return. The Christian Sunday is wholly other!
Springing from the Resurrection, it cuts through human time, the months, the
years, the centuries, like a directional arrow which points them towards their target:
Christ's Second Coming. Sunday foreshadows the last day, the day of the
Parousia, which in a way is already anticipated by Christ's glory in the event of the
In fact, everything that will happen until the end of the world will be no more than an
extension and unfolding of what happened on the day when the battered body of
the Crucified Lord was raised by the power of the Spirit and became in turn the
wellspring of the Spirit for all humanity. Christians know that there is no need to
wait for another time of salvation, since, however long the world may last, they are
already living in the last times. Not only the Church, but the cosmos itself and
history are ceaselessly ruled and governed by the glorified Christ. It is this life-force
which propels creation, "groaning in birth-pangs until now" (Rom 8:22), towards
the goal of its full redemption. Mankind can have only a faint intuition of this
process, but Christians have the key and the certainty. Keeping Sunday holy is the
important witness which they are called to bear, so that every stage of human
history will be upheld by hope.
TOMORROW: Part Sixteen of Dies Domini: Chapter Five, DIES DIERUM Sunday: the Primordial Feast, Revealing the Meaning of Time
- (118) John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente (10 November
1994), 10: AAS 87 (1995), 11.
- (119) Ibid.
Satan encourages us to speed up with the mind while God advises us to slow down with the heart
In his third part on The subtleties of satan in his weekly column, Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv. gives a practical scenario of how clever the great deceiver is and how we can be hoodwinked in the blink of an eye unless we are aware of his constant presence and devote our lives to keeping him at bay through prayer and sacrifice. Father indicates the various ploys the evil one uses to confuse us further. For Father's column, click on HEARTS TO HEART TALK
The subtleties of satan part three
One of the other subtleties of satan is that he so cleverly works things
that it becomes part of the way we live in our day, to take life EASY.
DON'T EXERT, is the order of the day. Well, you may say, what's so bad
about that? When we don't exert, we do not have power to resist evil, nor
do we have energy to do that which is virtuous. We become like strands of
straw in a fast flowing river. When we do not put forth effort into life,
we become victims of every force in life. Every fad, every promotion of
the media governs our behavior. We do not have the energy to make
decisions for ourselves. Because satan has taken the world to be his own,
he governs it in the way that serves his purpose; he, together with the
demons under his charge, men and women who have given themselves over to him.
CONFUSE THEM! That is the order that satan gives to his legions. When the
mind does not know what to do or what even to think, satan has us in the
palm of his hand. We know what it feels like when we are driving along to
a destination and we become confused because we either took a wrong turn or
missed a road sign. Satan thrives on confusion. Hardly does our world
today recognize the darkness it has been put into because of the
manipulations of Satan in bringing mankind into a state of utter confusion.
What gives him special jubilation is when he sees that he has succeeded in
bringing confusion into Christ's Church. Through this, he has put a noose
around the necks of the faithful, for in the state of confusion, they do
nothing. Spiritual growth, evangelization, and the influence of the Holy
Spirit are brought to a halt, or, to a very slow pace.
Another subtlety Satan thrives on is the introduction of speed into our
daily living. HURRY UP! The mind and the will cannot work well when there
is the pressure brought on by our culture propelling it to speed everything
up. Our way of life is a far cry from that of our grandparents. In years
gone by, there was a more deliberated life. People were not so in a hurry
and so could take more time to think more clearly and to do things better.
It is an interesting point that, as we have with us fast foods, fast this
and that, instant this and instant that, we still complain that we don't
have time to do what is expected of us. "Hurry up and wait" comes to the
foreground quite often. How does Satan gain in all of this? When we try
to pray and when we try to serve God, it does not work when we do it in a
hurry. The mind and especially the heart need to be in a peaceful state if
they are to do their best in the service of their God. God is deprived of
so much when we try to give to Him what is His in a hurry.
The process of separating the faithful from their shepherd is also one of
Satan's subtle ways in gaining control of human beings and revenging
himself on God. He, amongst other means, uses the media to accomplish
this. There is the dissecting of whatever comes out of the Vatican for the
faithful. It is no business of the media, but the media makes it its
business and makes it very difficult for the faithful to give respect and
obedience to what the Holy Father as the Supreme Shepherd, wishes of his
flock. There is so much of the priest bashing going on. Satan has a major
part in this, and through it, prods people to lose reverence for their
priests upon whom in so many ways they depend so much.
There are many more subtleties, too many for us to go into now. From what
has been already put forth, it is clear that satan is shrewd and cunning.
He is pulling out all stops and making use of every one of his fallen
angels, as also people in our midst into whom he has entered, to bring
destruction to faith, to trust, to love, to obedience. We must be careful
not to become obsessed by him or his ways, for then, we, too, play into his
To counter Satan's strategy of subtleties, we have the strategy of Our
Blessed Mother Mary. We are told by the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures that
Mary's strategy will ultimately win out. This is indeed hopeful.
Mary has been teaching us how to detect satan's subtleties and how to
become victorious over satan. This will be treated in the next issue.
NEXT WEEK: Part Four of the sublteties of satan
LITURGY OF THE DAY
Today is the Eighteenth Monday in Ordinary Time before five consecutive days of feasts beginning tomorrow with the feast of
Saint John Baptist Marie Vianney, the Cure of Ars. For the readings, liturgy, and meditations, and the click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.
Monday, August 3, 1998
First Reading: Jeremiah 28: 1-17
Psalms: Psalm 119: 29, 43, 68, 79-80, 95, 102
Gospel Reading: Matthew 14: 13-21
Tuesday, August 4, 1998
Tuesday August 4:
Feast of Saint John Mary Baptist Vianney, Priest and Confessor: Cure d'Ars
First Reading: Jeremiah 30: 1-2, 12-15, 18-22
Psalms: Psalm 102: 16-23, 29
Gospel Reading: Matthew 14: 22-36
SAINT JOHN MARIE BAPTIST VIANNEY, CURE OF ARS
This humble parish priest was born on May 8, 1786 in Dardilly near Lyons, France three years before the French
Revolution. Few realized this young John Baptist Vianney would stage his own revolution within the Church - one which would set the model for the importance of the parish priest and foster numerous vocations to the priesthood at a time when the Church was greatly persecuted and misunderstood. He saw first hand the
slaughter of the clergy and exile of many of the priests who he longed for. Thus at age 20, with a fervent desire
to rebuild the Church in France he began studying for the priesthood under the saintly Abbe Balley at Ecully.
Because he was not a learned man, young John had great difficulty with his studies and struggled greatly,
particularly with the Latin. Because of his grades he was not protected from the military draft and was called to
Napoleon's army in 1808. Less than a year later, realizing the folly of war, he deserted and returned home in
hiding. In 1810, the little French general, realizing how the populace was turning against him, granted amnesty
to all deserters. This freed Vianney to pursue his studies where he was tonsured. Though he continued to
struggle with his studies, the Abbe saw the qualities of holiness in John and interceded for his ordination. Thus
John became a priest in 1815 despite his poor grades. His first assignment was under the Abbe as curate
where he remained until the Abbe's death in 1817. The next year the bishop assigned Fr. Vianney as the Cure
d'Ars where he remained for the rest of his life - 42 years - as a humble, parish priest. His first priority was to
reinstill the reverence for the Blessed Sacrament and then reignite the flame of involvement in a parish that had
become exceedingly indifferent. He waged a constant war on immorality and over-spending, eventually winning
over the entire village though not before impassioned bouts with enemies who wanted to cling to the good life.
But Fr. Vianney won out, opening a school for girls, a shelter for orphans and a shrine to Saint Philomena which drew enormous throngs as a place of pilgrimage. Many believe it was not the shrine they were being attracted to, but rather this simple, holy priest who spent sixteen to eighteen hours a day in the confessional counseling through spiritual direction, and giving absolution. Though he was laughed at by many of his peers and some of the villagers for his ignorance in things of the world, he had the unique gift of reading souls and the
confessional became his classroom where he was the master teacher. As befits a holy man, the more one
strives for sanctity the more satan assaults. Such was the case with Fr. Vianney who was subjected to demonic
attacks for over thirty years. Though he was not an intellectual, the wisdom which he spoke told volumes. One
such pearls of wisdom was on "Whom the devil torments most?" in "Beware if you have no temptations".
Every time the bishop sought to transfer him, his parishioners stormed the ordinary with protests, causing the
bishop to back down. Fr. Vianney himself longed to leave, not for another parish, but rather for the life of a
Carthusian monk. Three times he sought the contemplative life but each time his parishioners brought him
back and he finally realized his life would always be healing sinners and tending to the desolate. His fame
spread throughout Europe and in 1843 he was awarded the medal of the Legion of Honor. He promptly sold it
for the value it brought and gave the money to the poor. Exhausted from a life-long dedication to his
parishioners and pilgrims, he died peacefully on August 4, 1859 a year after Our Lady, whom he had a deep devotion to, had appeared at Lourdes affirming the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. This holy saint truly believed in the power of prayer, saying "Private prayer is like straw scattered here and there, if you set it on fire it makes a long of little flames. But gather these straws into a bundle and light them, and you get a mighty fire,
rising like a column into the sky; public prayer is like that." Such was the power of Mass, the Real Presence of
the Blessed Sacrament, and the Holy Rosary and this devotion is still evident today in this tiny village which has
become the shrine of St. John Vianney who was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and four years later
proclaimed "patron of parish priests."
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
Today is the anniversary in 415 when the relics of Saint Stephen were discovered. The prayer below commemorates the relics of this first Christian martyr below:
Grant unto us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may imitate that which we revere, learning to love even our enemies, as we celebrate the finding of the body of Stephen who interceded on behalf of his persecutors with our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.
July 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message
Dear children! Today, little children, I invite you, through prayer, to be with
Jesus, so that through a personal experience of prayer you may be able to discover the beauty of God's
creatures. You cannot speak or witness about prayer, if you do not pray. That is why, little children, in the
silence of the heart, remain with Jesus, so that He may change and transform you with His love. This,
little children, is a time of grace for you. Make good use of it for your personal conversion, because
when you have God, you have everything. Thank you for having responded to my call.
For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE AND MORE
Click here to go to SECTION TWO or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.
August 3, 1998 volume 9, no. 150 DAILY CATHOLIC