St. John Paul II stressed the need to pray for the Souls in Purgatory. He said, "The first and highest form of charity for brothers is the ardent desire for their eternal salvation ... . Christian love knows no boundaries and goes beyond the limits of space and time, enabling us to love those who have already left this earth." Therefore, not only the belief in purgatory but also the spiritual duty to pray for the souls there remains part of our Catholic faith. Contrary to what some may erroneously believe, Vatican II's "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church" asserted, "This sacred council accepts loyally the venerable faith of our ancestors in the living communion which exists between us and our brothers who are in the glory of Heaven or who are yet being purified after their death; and it proposes again the decrees of the Second Council of Nicea, of the Council of Florence, and of the Council of Trent" (No. 51).READ MORE
Dear brothers, [...] we have heard the passage from the Acts of the Apostles (20:17-38) in which Saint Paul speaks to the presbyters of Ephesus, intentionally recounted by Saint Luke as the testament of the apostle, as a discourse destined not only for the presbyters of Ephesus, but for the presbyters of all time. Saint Paul is speaking not only with those who were present in that place, he is really speaking with us. So let us try to understand a little of what he is saying to us, at this time. [...]READ MORE
A common assertion is that early Christians derived Christmas from pagan celebrations, and that these feasts are therefore pagan (though overlaid with a thin veneer of Christianity). How much truth is there in this assertion? Since the Western Christmas (25 December) falls near the Winter Solstice (21 December), it occurs at the same time of the year as certain pagan solstice feasts. One such feast was the Roman celebration of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (Nativity of the Invincible Sun), which commemorated the birth of the sun god Mithra. After Emperor Aurelian declared Mithra/Sol Invictus to be the patron of the Roman Empire in 274 AD, this feast in his honor became very popular. Some say that the Christians invented Christmas, a feast in honor of Jesus' birth, as an alternative to this popular feast of Mithra's birth. Others claim that Christmas was never a separate feast, but is the feast of Sol Invictus itself, continued and adapted by pagan converts in the fourth century, after Constantine forced them to become Christians. Unwilling to abandon their beloved Mithraism, they changed Dies Natalis Solis Invicti into a feast of Christ's Nativity (since no one knows for sure what day Jesus was born).READ MORE
They who want to win the world for Christ must have the courage to come into conflict with it.
Hearing (Mark 8:34ff), the following hard words of Jesus hit home: For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.READ MORE
The Saint Benedict Medal St. Benedict (born at Nursia, Italy, in 480) had a profound veneration for the holy Cross and for our Savior Crucified. In virtue of the Sign of the Cross, he wrought many miracles and exercised great power over the spirits of darkness. In consequence of the great veneration in which St. Benedict was held from the early Middle Ages, it followed that a Medal was struck, one side of which represents St. Benedict holding the Cross in one hand and the Holy Rule in the other. Around the image of St. Benedict are these words in Latin: "May his presence protect us in the hour of death." St. Benedict has ever been the patron of the dying, because of the circumstances attending his own most glorious death, for he breathed forth his soul while standing in prayer before the Most Blessed Sacrament.READ MORE