Four Myths about the Crusades (Continued)

09-24-2023Weekly ReflectionPaul F. Crawford (from Intercollegiate Review 46:1) - 04/21/11 (Edited)

Myth #2: Western Christians went on crusade because their greed led them to plunder Muslims in order to get rich.

Again, not true. One version of Pope Urban II’s speech at Clermont in 1095 urging French warriors to embark on what would become known as the First Crusade does note that they might “make spoil of [the enemy’s] treasures,” but this was no more than an observation on the usual way of financing war in ancient and medieval society. And Fulcher of Chartres did write in the early twelfth century that those who had been poor in the West had become rich in the East as a result of their efforts on the First Crusade, obviously suggesting that others might do likewise.


Four Myths about the Crusades

09-17-2023Weekly ReflectionPaul F. Crawford (from Intercollegiate Review 46:1) - 04/21/11 (Edited)

....Myth #1: The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and even a cursory chronological review makes that clear. In A.D. 632, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, North Africa, Spain, France, Italy, and the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica were all Christian territories. Inside the boundaries of the Roman Empire, which was still fully functional in the eastern Mediterranean, orthodox Christianity was the official, and overwhelmingly majority, religion.


Words Every Catholic Should Know and Meditate on About the Eucharist

09-10-2023Weekly Reflection

Transubstantiation: The Church makes use of this word in the Catechism to help us understand the meaning of the Holy Eucharist. A substance is what something is. Material substances have an outward appearance: color, weight, size, etc. In the Holy Eucharist bread stops being bread and wine stops being wine. At the Consecration bread becomes Jesus Christ: Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity; wine becomes Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. The appearances (species) of bread and wine remain. Only God can do this. The changing of water into wine by the Lord at the wedding in Cana was a manifestation that Jesus is God Who brings things into being through His Word but also it was preparing the disciples for the power of Christ’s word at the Last Supper changing bread and wine into Himself.


Shepherds Become Wolves? The Coming Storm

09-03-2023Weekly Reflection

The pope is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary: The pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God’s Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism. Pope Benedict XVI


More on Faith and Unbelief

08-27-2023Weekly Reflection

To believe in or unto God, Who can neither deceive nor be deceived, is essential to the dynamism of faith. By adhering with personal faith to the Word of God, the believer consents to the supreme attraction exerted by the full and absolute Good that is the Blessed Trinity. In this sense, faith – and theology as the science of faith and wisdom – offers to all “lovers of spiritual beauty” a full-flavored foretaste of eternal joy. While assent is the principal act of faith, faith is from God moving us interiorly by grace"—though this is a movement of our will and so it is consonant with free choice. Here we broach the mystery of grace and human freedom, about which much ink has been spilled in the history of Christian theology.


Belief and Unbelief

08-20-2023Weekly Reflection

Blaise Pascal, in his famous wager, summarized in the illustration above, points out the stakes regarding belief and unbelief. St Thomas Aquinas reminds us that Faith is the perfection of human understanding. What follows are thoughts from his teachings about Faith. Sanctifying grace gives a person a share in the very life of God, Who dwells within his humanity through the power of the Holy Spirit. Life and action go together and hence God’s life becomes active in the human person through the virtues. The life of God in the Christian is meant to grow to maturity and bear fruit just as a child is meant to grow to maturity as an adult. This growth takes place through the virtues and reaches its full maturity in Heaven where the person sees God face to face. The theological virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity directly tie us to God and the first of these is Faith. Faith is the perfection of our understanding. It gives knowledge of God as He is in Himself and His activity in the world for our good. Human reason can learn some things of God on its own but it is limited. It can never, on its own, know God’s inner life.


The Fighting Church, the Attacks of Satan, and the Laity

07-30-2023Weekly Reflection

The pivotal meditation in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola is called “The Two Standards.” Fr. Ambruzzi1 comments: Satan summons together innumerable devils and spurs them to go, someone to city, some to another, throughout the world, omitting no province, place or state of life, nor any person in particular. His attack is universal. St. Ignatius is the last man to attribute all temptations to the devil. Still the fact remains, and the Saint strongly emphasizes it, that Satan is constantly at our side, as the embodiment of evil, bent on organizing the attacks of the world and the flesh against us, and on undoing God’s work in our souls. …(T)he Son of Man is manifested, that He might undo the works of the devil. 1 John iii, 8. See Ephesians 6: 11-171 Fr Aloysius Ambruzzi S.J., Companion to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius


Real Life, Its Enemy, and the Mass

07-23-2023Weekly Reflection

Real life is the interior life of the Christian whereby an adopted son/daughter, lives in intimacy with God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is called being in the state of grace. I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. John 10:10

1997 Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an "adopted son" he can henceforth call God "Father," in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church.


Amusing the Self to Death…..

07-16-2023Weekly Reflection

... long ago, we sold our vote to no man, now the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, sheds its cares, and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses * —Juvenal, Satire 10.77–81

God created man and woman to praise, reverence, and serve God, and by doing this, to save their souls. God created all other things on the face of the earth to help fulfill this purpose. From this it follows that we are to use the things of this world only to the extent that they help us to this end, and we ought to rid ourselves of the things of this world to the extent that they get in the way of this end. St. Ignatius Loyola, The Spiritual Exercises


The Alien Presence

07-09-2023Weekly Reflection

The drama of the Faith has exorcisms against Satan a reminder of the Lord’s battle with the Evil One culminating in the Lord’s victory over Satan through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. To this end was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 1John 3:8 The Church in each age shares in the Passion of the Lord particularly in her struggle with the Evil One. A particular manifestation of Satan is infidelity. St. John refers to those who go from the Church and deny Christ as antichrists. St. Paul refers to his struggles with “false brethren.”


Old hatreds of the Church alive and well in Paris

07-02-2023Weekly Reflection

We don't live in a carefree society. Our lives are really part of a merciless struggle against infernal powers, all the more dangerous because they are invisible and all the more powerful because they effectively influence a certain number of people. The Word of God teaches us this through the mouth of Saint Paul: "We do not have to fight (only) against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of this dark world, against the evil spirits that are in the air" (Eph. 6:12).

NOTE: One of the signs of this is where Christ’s Name is attacked with conscious rebellious hatred. The recent beatification of five martyrs of the Commune is a timely reminder of this reality. On Holy Thursday 6 April 1871, Henri Planchat was the first to be imprisoned. Many other faithful Catholics followed. For some, it was the beginning of a real ordeal. One of the revolutionaries' hostages, Archbishop Darboy, summed up the situation for one of his companions in these words: "They don't want to kill us because I'm Archbishop Darboy and you're Mgr Soand-so, but because I'm the Archbishop of Paris and you're one of my priests".