But this editorial is not about ice cream on a commercial basis, but rather on a spiritual basis. Bear with us for this is also about how we have lost the work ethic as we stand at the brink of the third millennium. How many of our ancestors would turn over in their graves if they could see how lazy and out-of-shape our society has become. We have become so spoiled that if our flavor isn't in the store, or they run out of Ben & Jerry's or Hagendaas, we are furious at the poor clerks who sometimes take more heat in the summer than even the sun can dish out. All the modern conveniences have made us a slovenly civilization where to wait in a bank line, check-out counter or in traffic can cause tempers to flare. We have become impatient and selfish. It is a sad commentary on today's society. But God, in His wisdom and finger on the pulse of mankind, is beginning to push buttons that will bring man back to the age of hard work and instinctive innovation. But man is not always such a willing animal and so the Almighty has to send our way ways to wake us up, to motivate us to return to what His will demands. He is doing so through a natural means, better called "Mother Nature" but do not be deceived - it comes from the Father. Up until recently, most of the natural disasters claimed great amounts of property but few lives. After the tragic events on the highly Catholic island of Papua New Guinea last weekend and the searing mercury in Texas and the southwest, that can no longer be said. Earthquakes, volcanic activity, avalanches, floods, droughts, fires and pestilence throughout the world are taking the lives of more people. No sooner do the fires in Florida finally die down, then this terrible heat spell is searing many spots on the globe, especially in the United States where temperatures everywhere have reached record numbers. As we say goodbye to El Nino we have no choice but to say hellow to La Nina which could be even more consequential than her brother. This fall many are expecting massive fires in the overly lush canyons of Southern California when the fierce Santa Ana winds settle in where one spark can turn into a thousand acre inferno in no time at all. So many still wonder why?
Our question is why would anyone question what is happening? God is not happy with His children and, like He has done to past generations - from Adam and Eve to Noah to Sodom and Gomorahh and many others in Old and New Testament chronicles - He will not stand for insubordination. He will not stand for disobedience. He will not stand for modern thought that man can do anything he wants without God being first and foremost. The Blessed Mother has been warning us since La Salette that these natural disasters would increase. Why should we be surprised? It is an omen that we need to return fully to Him. The terrifying disease of Aids cries out that homosexuality and promiscuous sex are against the Law of God, but too many ignore His commandments. If a child refuses to obey his parents, he is going to be rightfully punished until he conforms to their will. Isn't this the same for God in reference to His children? Today cancer is one of the most prominent of killers. Is this a new disease? Relatively so, corresponding with man's lazy, convenience-at-all-costs, dog-eat-dog temperament that has rendered mankind a selfish race, that lives for the now, with little thought to the hereafter. God is equally merciful and just. What He is doing now is both merciful and just. It is merciful that He has not wiped out the entire population for Our Lady has conveyed many times that this generation is more sinful than the era of Sodom and Gommorrah. And it is just that he exacts His Justice, weeding out the chaff so that the wheat can be harvested. Many don't understand this and cry out, nay, lash out at God with a scream.
And that brings us back to the analogy we began with: ice cream. God is preparing us in His special "dairy" - mixing in the milk of life's experiences with the cream of faith, sweetened with flavors of our culture. Then that mixture is heated in a pasteurizer - the confinements and freedom of spirituality - in our case His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The dogmas, doctrines, teachings and traditions homogenize us to where our lives are molded to a creamy, smooth texture of mind, heart and soul. That mixture is cooled and whipped by our regular participation in the mystical Body of Christ, allowing us to form into a solid entity that can be of value to ourselves and to others as Christ has commanded. As we grow older and more mature, we are packaged into containers that either edify or scandalize. If we can effect the former by living our faith to the best of our ability, then we are pleasing and delectable in the eyes of the Triune Divinity and will be highly instrumental in enticing more to God's will. If we falter and cause harm to others by breaking any of His laws, then we are not palatable to the Heavenly Court and we melt under the heat of satan's wiles and deceits. While the package may look the same on the outside, inside, in the heart of the ingredients God created, would be a puddle of iniquity that can only be made firm again through the refreshing refrigeration of sanctifying grace. During this summer heat, think about that the next time you bite into that cold concoction or sip on that malt or McFlurry. It's something to consider because, in spiritual dairyese, that is basically the scoop on keeping cool in God's eyes during the summer and beyond..
Even the news media, CNN - all of the news networks are conveying immoral values that are so subtle, so smooth, so unobtrusive that the human mind is absorbing evil as though it was good.
Last week CNN had some programs on about lying. The jist was that EVERYBODY LIES! SO WHAT! WHATíS THE BIG DEAL! Maybe the purpose of the programs was intended to excuse the President of the United States for lying, if that is what he is doing!
Oh, dear! Oh, my, my, my! Do you see whatís happening? Satan has such control over the media that heís succeeding in getting people to think that lying is all right. Do you remember that satan has been called the "father of lies?" Satan never makes a bad thing look bad. He always makes a bad thing look GOOD. Thatís why humans fall for his stories - his LIES. This has been true since the day of Adam and Eve.
God has made it clear that lying is NOT all right. The Eighth Commandment is: YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST YOUR NEIGHBOR.
Every day, more and more I am feeling sorry for God. Often, anymore, I am saying: "Poor God, poor God!" Instead of getting smarter, our generation is becoming more and more confused, in a state of darkened mind. Evil is seen as OK and what God COMMANDS us is considered taboo. The truth is that Godís Commandments are never out of date because human nature has never changed. Culture may change. The circumstances of our lives may change, but human nature has never changed. And for those who think it has, I question: "To what other NATURE has it changed to? Are we not still human? To what other creature did we become?"
Every day, more and more I understand why Our Lady of LaSalette sat on a rock and cried. Frankly, Iíd like to sit beside her and cry also. Our poor Mother! She foresaw this day. She is weeping over the loss of her children.
Dear reader, please do not be among those who are deceived. GOD DOES EXIST. Acting contrary to Godís Commandments is sinful. Our whole world is headed for great punishment, if we do not turn from sin and keep Godís Commandments.
Please do not let CNN or Hollywood set your value system. God has already done that. No one who works at CNN or Hollywood or anywhere else is smarter than God.
I can assure you of something else. Unless you pray and pray from your hearts, you will NOT be able to discern the subtle evil of today. You will NOT have the courage to avoid it. You WILL gravely RISK the loss of your soul.
There are some television programs that can feed your soul and are educational. But most of what is on TV, is very subtlely profane and corrupt.
Pray, pray, pray lest you enter into temptation. Your salvation depends on it.
God bless you!
It is also important to be ever mindful that communion with Christ is deeply tied to communion with our brothers and sisters. The Sunday Eucharistic gathering is an experience of brotherhood, which the celebration should demonstrate clearly, while ever respecting the nature of the liturgical action. All this will be helped by gestures of welcome and by the tone of prayer, alert to the needs of all in the community. The sign of peace - in the Roman Rite significantly placed before Eucharistic communion - is a particularly expressive gesture which the faithful are invited to make as a manifestation of the People of God's acceptance of all that has been accomplished in the celebration(74) and of the commitment to mutual love which is made in sharing the one bread, with the demanding words of Christ in mind: "If you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift" (Mt 5:23-24).
In his first Apology addressed to the Emperor Antoninus and the Senate, Saint Justin proudly described the Christian practice of the Sunday assembly, which gathered in one place Christians from both the city and the countryside.(76) When, during the persecution of Diocletian, their assemblies were banned with the greatest severity, many were courageous enough to defy the imperial decree and accepted death rather than miss the Sunday Eucharist. This was the case of the martyrs of Abitina, in Proconsular Africa, who replied to their accusers: "Without fear of any kind we have celebrated the Lord's Supper, because it cannot be missed; that is our law"; "We cannot live without the Lord's Supper". As she confessed her faith, one of the martyrs said: "Yes, I went to the assembly and I celebrated the Lord's Supper with my brothers and sisters, because I am a Christian".(77)
47. Even if in the earliest times it was not judged necessary to be prescriptive, the Church has not ceased to confirm this obligation of conscience, which rises from the inner need felt so strongly by the Christians of the first centuries. It was only later, faced with the half-heartedness or negligence of some, that the Church had to make explicit the duty to attend Sunday Mass: more often than not, this was done in the form of exhortation, but at times the Church had to resort to specific canonical precepts. This was the case in a number of local Councils from the fourth century onwards (as at the Council of Elvira of 300, which speaks not of an obligation but of penalties after three absences)(78) and most especially from the sixth century onwards (as at the Council of Agde in 506).(79) These decrees of local Councils led to a universal practice, the obligatory character of which was taken as something quite normal.(80)
The Code of Canon Law of 1917 for the first time gathered this tradition into a universal law.(81) The present Code reiterates this, saying that "on Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to attend Mass".(82) This legislation has normally been understood as entailing a grave obligation: this is the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church,(83) and it is easy to understand why if we keep in mind how vital Sunday is for the Christian life.
48. Today, as in the heroic times of the beginning, many who wish to live in accord with the demands of their faith are being faced with difficult situations in various parts of the world. They live in surroundings which are sometimes decidedly hostile and at other times - more frequently in fact - indifferent and unresponsive to the Gospel message. If believers are not to be overwhelmed, they must be able to count on the support of the Christian community. This is why they must be convinced that it is crucially important for the life of faith that they should come together with others on Sundays to celebrate the Passover of the Lord in the sacrament of the New Covenant. It is the special responsibility of the Bishops, therefore, "to ensure that Sunday is appreciated by all the faithful, kept holy and celebrated as truly 'the Lord's Day', on which the Church comes together to renew the remembrance of the Easter mystery in hearing the word of God, in offering the sacrifice of the Lord, in keeping the day holy by means of prayer, works of charity and abstention from work".(84)
49. Because the faithful are obliged to attend Mass unless there is a grave impediment, Pastors have the corresponding duty to offer to everyone the real possibility of fulfilling the precept. The provisions of Church law move in this direction, as for example in the faculty granted to priests, with the prior authorization of the diocesan Bishop, to celebrate more than one Mass on Sundays and holy days,(85) the institution of evening Masses(86) and the provision which allows the obligation to be fulfilled from Saturday evening onwards, starting at the time of First Vespers of Sunday.(87) From a liturgical point of view, in fact, holy days begin with First Vespers.(88) Consequently, the liturgy of what is sometimes called the "Vigil Mass" is in effect the "festive" Mass of Sunday, at which the celebrant is required to preach the homily and recite the Prayer of the Faithful.
Moreover, Pastors should remind the faithful that when they are away from home on Sundays they are to take care to attend Mass wherever they may be, enriching the local community with their personal witness. At the same time, these communities should show a warm sense of welcome to visiting brothers and sisters, especially in places which attract many tourists and pilgrims, for whom it will often be necessary to provide special religious assistance.(89)
MONDAY: Part Ten of Dies Domini: Chapter Three, DIES ECCLESIAE The Eucharistic Assembly: Heart of Sunday part five.
Jesus, our Redeemer, called Saint James from humble labor with fishing nets and made him a fisher of men for their salvation. He responded to the divine call with a prompt and faithful spirit; therefore he merited to undergo the torment of martyrdom and to enter into glory before the other apostles of the Lord.