Words to Live by – from Catholic Tradition

The Voice of Christ:

 

Your tardiness in turning to prayer is the greatest obstacle to heavenly consolation ….

 

The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis, Book III, Ch. 30.

 

CC in brief — May

Catholic Candle note: Catholic Candle normally examines particular issues thoroughly, at length, using the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and the other Doctors of the Church.  By contrast, our feature CC in brief, gives an extremely short answer to a reader’s question.  We invite readers to submit their own questions.

                

CC in brief

 

Q.  Why does the N-SSPX now lean liberal with its followers?

 

A.  If a traditional Catholic or a Society doesn’t fight against liberalism every day, gradualism will take over and they will become liberal after a time.  The New SSPX no longer fights against liberalism daily as Archbishop Lefebvre did.  They may merely mention the problem of liberalism, but are not fighting against it. 

 

Self-forgetfulness—letting the Love of God Consume Our Lives

Objective truth series – Reflection #22

In our last several reflections we have been considering focusing more and more on our eternal goal, the work of our lives, namely, the salvation of our souls.  We penetrated more deeply what it really means to save our souls—to see the Beatific Vision!

The emptiness of this world is easy to see especially when we compare this world to the delights of heaven.  We can easily conclude that to see God is worth all the efforts we can make.  Certainly as God gives us a greater desire for heaven, He increases our love for Him.   Yet, there is another aspect of our love of God which emerges especially when we see the world getting more godless every day, namely, the hunger and desire we have to see God loved.  St. Therese of Lisieux wrote in a prayer she composed to the Holy Face, “I am consumed with the desire to love Thee and make Thee loved by all men.”

When we consider how there is so much craziness going on around us in the world, we see the huge apparent sprint of the evil globalists as they try to get more control of everything with each new day.  Furthermore, these globalists have a clear agenda to erase God and His Commandments from the face of the earth.  It is so tempting to only consider our own current dangers and to get anxious about what will happen to us.  However, we must remind ourselves that we are in God’s Providential Hands and there is much consolation in this truth.  Indeed, we also know that God is allowing these events in order to perfect our souls.    

And yet, our focus should naturally turn from ourselves, to the innumerable insults that are hurled against God, His Church, His Blessed Mother, and His Saints.  We can see by the blatant attacks of the enemy, that God is so hated in these neo-pagan times of this great apostasy.  Our hearts ache out of love for God and a desire to console Him.  We should remember that just devotedly doing our duty-of-state with love for God, is a very important way to give Him glory and console Him.   

In this way, too, we begin the life of self-forgetfulness.  The simple focus on wanting to please God and work for His Glory, not only increases our love for Him, but also is God’s means to increase His Divine Friendship in our souls.  God is great and merciful to shower such undeserved goodness on His poor creatures!

 “He must increase: but I must decrease.” [St. John 3:30]  These words of St. John the Baptist apply to us as we strive to do all we can for the greater honor and glory of God and to show Him all our love.  But, more than this, is that this decreasing of ourselves in our own view of ourselves, naturally brings us lower and lower until we see our utter nothingness.  This nothingness does not disturb us because we see it as our natural place.   As Our Lord told St. Catherine of Sienna, “You are she who is not and I am He Who is.”  We are nothing and God is our all.

When we get caught up in our daily service of God and our neighbor out of love for God, our lives are busy working for God and our neighbor.  We may find ourselves trying to help our neighbor in many ways.  Some examples may be: trying to keep up our neighbor’s morale in these times when irrational fears are being pushed on everyone; trying to keep him informed when we are surrounded by false news; trying to convert others back to the pre-Vatican II Faith; or teaching others about the traditional uncompromising Faith which they have never heard about [seeing that we are now 56 years post Vatican II].  “The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few.” [St. Matt. 9:37]

With so much work to do for God’s Glory and to show Him our love, there really is no time or concern to think about ourselves.   We are glad to do all we can for God and spend ourselves in His service.  This is what it means to let our lives be consumed in the love of God.  What a mercy of God to let us serve Him and He accepts our poor service!

Besides such good works to our neighbor for love of God, we’ll find that we love spending time in prayer— adoring God; telling Him our sorrow for our own sins and the sins of the hateful world; telling Him over and over again that we love Him; and thanking Him for all His Goodness and Mercies He has shown to us.

God’s sculpturing of our souls slowly over time does bring many changes in our souls which includes the soul becoming more selfless.  He works patiently on us and if we are docile, His chiseling will not seem painful to us.  We can sense that He is steadily chipping away our selfishness and we naturally find that we want to do things for Him more because we love Him more and more.  In addition, as we see things in the world falling apart around us, and because we know that we do not in any way deserve God’s wonderful mercies that He has showered upon us, our hearts cannot help counting our blessings often.  How could gratitude not grow with each passing day?  We want to do something for Him to thank Him.  We want to share our blessings with other souls!  A consuming need to love God takes over and the desire to see Him loved is part of this. 

With grateful hearts, may God let us burn in the fire of the consummation of His Love!  This is how Divine Friendship works— to spread His Glory, to be spent in His service,  and to care about nothing else than Him!  Oh, if we could truly say like St. Paul, “And I live, now not I: but Christ liveth in me.” [Gal. 2:20]—with heartfelt pangs of love for God we would want to say something like the following:

 For God alone must be my goal,

Only He can full-please a soul,

 Focusing on myself would be,

Like living a lie—death to me.

 

 

To keep my focus on God entire

Brings on love and my soul’s desire

To become selfless, melting flame

To make of God, my only aim.

 

This fits His plan for souls that see,

Solely for Him should the soul be,

The lifetime goal, the soul’s one end

To have Him, as a Divine Friend.

 

With things all ‘round falling apart,

Thus, to tear, God out of each heart,

The devil spreads hatred so wide,

Ne’er wanting souls, to be God’s bride.

 

Fret then, just distracting the soul,

From the purpose of man’s true role,

Intimate union with The Spouse,

Evil seeks this Friendship to douse.

 

The Devil sows then fears and dread

Wanting souls to hate God instead

‘Gainst love of God, and true good deeds

He tempts men to desire false “needs”

 

 So bitter hatred fills the air

And each day more fall to despair

Insults to God are hurled galore

Than seemingly ever before

 

Our souls ache to repair these crimes

The wretched evils of our times,

To give God the glory— His due,

 Knowing He, is loved, by so few.

 

And to help poor folks so confused

Who are attacked and ill-used

Who search for truth, so hard to find

They’re led like sheep to keep them blind.

 

Out of love we help our neighbor,

 Gladly for God do we labor,

For Him our life tirelessly spend,

Knowing by this we love our Friend.

 

Working hard ‘til our eyes grow dim,

Doing all out of love for Him,

Wanting nothing than be consumed,

Giving all until we’re entombed.

 

If we like St. Paul can self-forget

We can grow more in love yet

With our dear Lord, Our Spouse Divine,

E’er adoring the Mystic Vine!

A Great Desire for Heaven

Objective truth series – Reflection #21

In our last reflection we considered how we must die to ourselves in order to work out our salvation.  Because we had already considered working out our salvation in fear and trembling, it logically followed that we must consider working on detachment from our bodies through penance.  In like manner, after considering that doing penance is a way to prepare for the release of our souls from our bodies, the benefit of detachment from the things of this world is also easy to see.

Once one is more detached from this world, the more he finds he is focused on attaining his true home, namely, heaven.  In St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s book Sermons for Sundays, he has an excellent sermon on heaven for the second Sunday of Lent.  He has four key points or reasons why we should ponder heaven and seek heaven.  Indeed any one of these reasons alone would be enough to convince us to ask God earnestly for a great desire for heaven.  Let us consider these four points one at a time.

1) “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him.”  (1 Cor. 2:9)

Concerning this point St. Alphonsus describes the beauty we should be longing for.  He says, “According to the Apostle, no man on this earth can comprehend the infinite blessings which God has prepared for the souls that love Him.”[1]

St. Alphonsus goes on to comment that people on earth are so focused on using only their senses and says:

Perhaps we imagine that the beauty of heaven resembles that of a wide extended plain covered with the verdure of spring, interspersed with trees in full bloom, and abounding in birds fluttering about and singing on every side; or, that it is like the beauty of a garden full of fruits and flowers, and surrounded by fountains in continual play.  Oh!  What a Paradise, to behold such a plain, or such a garden! But, oh!  How much greater are the beauties of heaven!  Speaking of Paradise, St. Bernard says: O man, if you wish to understand the blessings of heaven, know that in that happy country there is nothing which can be disagreeable, and everything that you can desire.[2]

St. Alphonsus not only talks about heaven being agreeable to the senses, he goes on to explain more about how all the soul’s desires are satisfied in heaven. 

2) In heaven you have all you can desire. ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ (Apoc. 21:4-5.).[3]  Concerning this point, St. Alphonsus expounds how all our senses will be delighted, saying:

There everything is new; new beauties, new delights, new joys. There all our desires shall be satisfied. The sight shall be satiated with beholding the beauty of that city. How delightful to behold a city in which the streets should be of crystal, the houses of silver, the windows of gold, and all adorned with the most beautiful flowers. But, oh! How much more beautiful shall be the city of Paradise! The beauty of the place shall be heightened by the beauty of the inhabitants, who are all clothed in royal robes; for, according to St. Augustine, they are all kings. How delighted to behold Mary, the queen of heaven, who shall appear more beautiful than all the other citizens of Paradise!  But, what it must be to behold the beauty of Jesus Christ!  St. Teresa once saw one of the hands of Jesus Christ, and was struck with astonishment at the sight of such beauty. The smell shall be satiated with odors, but with the odors of Paradise. The hearing shall be satiated with the harmony of the celestial choirs. St. Francis once heard for a moment an angel playing on a violin, and he almost died through joy. How delightful must it be to hear the saints and angels singing the divine praises! “They shall praise thee for ever and ever.” (Ps. 83:5.) What must it be to hear Mary praising God!  St. Francis de Sales says, that, as the singing of the nightingale in the wood surpasses that of all other birds, so the voice of Mary is far superior to that of all the other saints. In a word, there are in Paradise all the delights which man can desire.”[4]

St. Alphonsus explains how these pleasures of the senses are nothing compared to the actual Beatific Vision.  In his next point he concentrates directly on this Vision.

3) We see now through a glass in a dark manner, but then face to face.” (1 Cor. 13:12.)  St. Alphonsus explains: “The delights of the soul infinitely surpass all the pleasures of the senses. Even in this life divine love infuses such sweetness into the soul when God communicates Himself to her [viz., the soul], that the body is raised from the earth.  St. Peter of Alcantara once fell into such an ecstasy of love, that, taking hold of a tree, he drew it up from the roots, and raised it with him on high.”[5]

St. Alphonsus continues:

How great is the sweetness which a soul experiences, when, in the time of prayer, God, by a ray of His own light, shows to her [viz., the soul] His goodness and His mercies towards her, and particularly the love which Jesus Christ has borne to her in His passion! She feels her heart melting, and as it were dissolved through love.  But in this life we do not see God as He really is: we see Him as it were in the dark. We see now through a glass in a dark manner, but then face to face.”  (1 Cor. 13:12.)  Here below God is hidden from our view; we can see Him only with the eyes of faith: how great shall be our happiness when the veil shall be raised, and we shall be permitted to behold God face to face!  We shall then see His beauty, His greatness, His perfection, His amiableness, and His immense love for our souls.[6]

In the three points above St. Alphonsus gives us beautiful incentives to long for heaven in a speculative or thoughtful way, but he adds another incentive which is more of a practical one as well:

4) God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Apoc. 21:4).

Concerning this point, St. Alphonsus tells how our earthly trials will end, saying:

But, after entering into Paradise, the blest shall have no more sorrows. God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”  The Lord shall dry up the tears which they have shed in this life.  And death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow, shall be any more, for the former things are passed away. And He that sat on the throne, said: “Behold, I make all things new.” (Apoc. 21:4, 5.)  In Paradise, death and the fear of death are no more: in that place of bliss there are no sorrows, no infirmities, no poverty, no inconveniencies, no vicissitudes of day or night, of cold or of heat.  In that kingdom there is a continual day, always serene, a continual spring, always blooming.  In Paradise there are no persecutions, no envy; for all love each other with tenderness and each rejoices at the happiness of the others, as if it were his own.  There is no more fear of eternal perdition; for the soul confirmed in grace can neither sin nor lose God.[7]

St. Alphonsus then adds these consoling words:

In beholding the beauty of God, the soul shall be so inflamed and so inebriated with divine love, that she [viz., the soul] shall remain happily lost in God; for she shall entirely forget herself, and for all eternity shall think only of loving and praising the immense good which she shall possess forever, without the fear of having it in her power ever to lose it. In this life, holy souls love God; but they cannot love him with all their strength, nor can they always actually love him.  St. Thomas teaches that this perfect love is only given to the citizens of heaven, who love God with their whole heart, and never cease to love Him actually.[8]

These extracts from St. Alphonsus’s beautiful sermon truly show us that we should beg God for a great desire for heaven.  When one asks God for something which is good for the soul, God answers the prayer in a marvelous way. Our Lord Himself told us to seek the kingdom of heaven, saying, “Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.” [St. Matt. 6:33].

Once God sparks the flame of this desire in the soul, all the things in this world cease to have any real charm or attraction.  This earthly journey is viewed as only an exile because the soul longs for heaven so much.

It is truly an undeserved blessing from God to have a desire for heaven and to be able to see through the allurements of the world—travel, entertainments, and shallow amusements. Then a soul sees the sheer emptiness of this world and all creatures in comparison with God.  God becomes more and more the absolute center of one’s life. God really comes first and He is the basis for all decisions made.  If a soul has this blessing, it is evident because this blessing is very tangible.  Indeed, the soul shutters in fear of losing this insight from God and this objective view of life, of time, and of eternity.  He finds himself begging God to allow him to keep this objective view. In fact, he finds himself begging that God won’t allow him to abandon objective truth.  This outlook is so undeserved.  One knows this to the very marrow of one’s bones.  One feels grateful and tells God thank-you.  With the flame of desire for heaven lighted in the soul, one yearns for heaven everyday more and more and the evils of the present life make our exile here felt evermore keenly.  One could naturally find himself wanting to soar to the heavenly heights to be united with Our Lord, Our Lady, and our heavenly helpers. The soul might express its longing in words such as these:

Oh my soul it is time to die,

For all thy hopes in God must lie,

Doing penance is the sure way,

To break free from the world each day.

 

At the same time desire does grow,

And a need of God more to know,

Detaching thee from worldly cares,

 Well aware of, all of life’s snares.

 

Then with eyes raised, to thy true home,

Keep thou focused, want not to roam,

‘Cause earth is, a distracting sea,

Make it to have, no part with thee.

 

Then burning in thy heart will flame,

Yearning for heaven thy sole aim,

Eye hath not seen, nor ear hath heard,

Desire for heaven is now stirred!

 

 St. Alphonsus teaches so well,

Aching for heav’n, the heart must swell,

Ev’ry delight for ev’ry sense,

Our heart was made that we go hence.

 

Heav’n is more than just higher goal,

‘Tis the one desire, of a soul.

 To stay ever with Love Divine,

Aspire for this, oh soul of mine!

 

Far better than mere sight or sound,

For Divine View, we must be bound,

To keep in mind this View sublime,

The goal of each step, in life’s climb.  

 

 The fulfillment of ev’ry hope,

The one purpose of this life’s scope,

To land safely on heaven’s shore,

Where grief will end forevermore.

 

This wicked world with wicked trends,

My soul and it will ne’er be friends,

This fact makes it easier still,

To want to ever do God’s Will.

 

To burn with more intense desire,

Dear Mary help me to aspire,

So when my death breaks earthly ties,

My soul with thee may ever rise.



[1]           Sermons for All the Sundays in the Year, by St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, by the late Very Rev. Nicholas Callan, D.D., Roman Catholic College, Maynooth, eighth edition. Dublin, James Duffy & Sons, 15 Wellington Quay; and London, 1 Paternoster Row. 1882. Dublin.  (Emphasis in the original).

 

[2]           Sermons for All the Sundays in the Year, by St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, by the late Very Rev. Nicholas Callan, D.D., Roman Catholic College, Maynooth, eighth edition. Dublin, James Duffy & Sons, 15 Wellington Quay; and London, 1 Paternoster Row. 1882. Dublin.  (Emphasis in the original).

[3]           Sermons for All the Sundays in the Year, by St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, by the late Very Rev. Nicholas Callan, D.D., Roman Catholic College, Maynooth, eighth edition. Dublin, James Duffy & Sons, 15 Wellington Quay; and London, 1 Paternoster Row. 1882. Dublin.  (Emphasis in the original).

 

[4]           Sermons for All the Sundays in the Year, by St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, by the late Very Rev. Nicholas Callan, D.D., Roman Catholic College, Maynooth, eighth edition. Dublin, James Duffy & Sons, 15 Wellington Quay; and London, 1 Paternoster Row. 1882. Dublin.  (Emphasis in the original; bracketed words added for clarity).

[5]           Sermons for All the Sundays in the Year, by St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, by the late Very Rev. Nicholas Callan, D.D., Roman Catholic College, Maynooth, eighth edition. Dublin, James Duffy & Sons, 15 Wellington Quay; and London, 1 Paternoster Row. 1882. Dublin.  (Emphasis in the original; bracketed words added for clarity).

[6]           Sermons for All the Sundays in the Year, by St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, by the late Very Rev. Nicholas Callan, D.D., Roman Catholic College, Maynooth, eighth edition. Dublin, James Duffy & Sons, 15 Wellington Quay; and London, 1 Paternoster Row. 1882. Dublin.  (Emphasis in the original).

[7]           Sermons for All the Sundays in the Year, by St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, by the late Very Rev. Nicholas Callan, D.D., Roman Catholic College, Maynooth, eighth edition. Dublin, James Duffy & Sons, 15 Wellington Quay; and London, 1 Paternoster Row. 1882. Dublin.  (Emphasis in the original).

 

[8]           Sermons for All the Sundays in the Year, by St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, by the late Very Rev. Nicholas Callan, D.D., Roman Catholic College, Maynooth, eighth edition. Dublin, James Duffy & Sons, 15 Wellington Quay; and London, 1 Paternoster Row. 1882. Dublin.  (Emphasis in the original; bracketed words added for clarity).

 

Words to Live by – from Catholic Tradition

A prayer to recite when receiving your daily Cross (in the Catacombs)

Oh Lord, do with me and mine as Thou pleasest.  I ask and desire only three things:  Thy love, final perseverance, and the grace always to do Thy holy Will.  And if to love Thee thus, I must endure persecution and suffering, I am perfectly satisfied.

Taken from a pre-Vatican II program for making a holy hour

Empathy – a Tool for Good or for Evil

Catholic Candle note: The article below concerns the leftists’ use of empathy and compassion to promote their radical agenda.

When discussing empathy, we must first understand what empathy is.

What is empathy?  How does it differ from compassion?

Webster’s Dictionary defines “Empathy” as:

the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner[1]

Webster’s Dictionary defines “Compassion” as:

sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress, together with a desire to alleviate it.  Some of our users are interested in the difference between empathy and compassion.  Compassion is the broader word: it refers to both an understanding of another’s pain and the desire to somehow mitigate that pain.[2]

People often use these two terms (viz., empathy and compassion) interchangeably, even though Webster’s Dictionary (quoted above) says that those words are not completely synonymous.

Here are the five key points one dictionary gives concerning the difference between these two related emotions: empathy and compassion:

1.    Many people use both words to explain the same emotion.

2.    Although thought of as the same, empathy and compassion are different forms of the same emotion.

3.    Empathy and compassion require you to imaginatively experience the same feelings as the person or situation in question.

4.    Empathy is seen as a passive emotional response.

5.    Compassion requires you to take positive action to alleviate a person’s pain or situation.[3]

Although the word “empathy” is the word more currently in vogue now, the mainstream media and other “thought leaders” tend to use the word to urge people to action.  For example, during the corona-craziness, on May 5, 2020 (the date on which the Catholic Candle team happened to begin this article), a liberal, “politically correct” news commentator emphasized that we must empathize with people by wearing a mask outside even if we are very far from any other person, because people who see us even at a long distance might be afraid they will catch the virus from us.  So, (this commentator stated) we should always wear a mask outdoors, out of empathy for the fears of others.

Note that the news commentator used the word “empathy” but urged listeners to act upon their feelings.  Thus, according to the above definitions, that commentator technically seems to be talking about compassion, not empathy.  Below, we will use both terms interchangeably to mean feeling for someone and acting accordingly.

Empathy is used to push a politically correct radical agenda

The “politically correct” thought-leaders promote empathy as a tool to achieve their corrupting, radical agenda.  Here are three examples:

 

Example one: empathy used to promote religious indifference and indifference to the truth

One of the Catholic Candle team recently was compelled to endure a “diversity and inclusion” presentation by a professional diversity presenter (i.e., someone who earns a living by making these presentations).  This presenter’s emphasis was on the importance of empathy for people who are not like us.  The presenter emphasized how crucial it is for us to “affirm the choices” made by other people who do not live and choose the way we do. 

The presenter gave the example of a person who belongs to a “religious minority”.  The presenter said we should not ignore other persons’ religions but that we should be empathetic by showing an “intelligent interest” in their religions and when they explain whatever it is that they do and believe, we should “affirm” (i.e., praise) their religious practices and beliefs, whatever they are.

This appeal to empathy is unreasonable.  It treats the truth as irrelevant.  It exalts the valuing of people’s feelings or decisions, however wrong or evil they are.  Such conduct (viz., praising whatever people believe) is religiously indifferent.  Out of charity, we should try to convert people to the truth, especially to the Catholic Faith because outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation.[4] 

What should we conclude about empathy then?  Is empathy something which is religiously indifferent and uncharitable?

Example two: empathy used to attack the Natural Law[5] and sound traditional morals

Among those persons who promote unnatural impurity, one of their main goals (which has been largely achieved) has been to promote so-called “marriage” for themselves.  They “argue” like this: think how you would feel if people were not “accepting” of your choice of spouse.  Empathize with people who are living in these situations (viz., living lives of unnatural impurity).  Empathize with how they feel being “marginalized” and “not respected”.  You would not want to be treated this way.  Empathize with them and don’t treat them this way.  You should “affirm” and accept their choices.

After considering this godless, liberal argument, what should we conclude about empathy?  Does empathy promote violations of the Sixth Commandment?  Is empathy evil because it is against the law of God?

Example three: empathy used to promote murder

When people are suffering, especially near the end of their lives, the promoters of euthanasia (i.e., so-called “mercy killing”) declare that the “compassionate” response is to kill that person, either when that person consents, or even when he does not consent.[6]  These promoters say that it is unempathetic to not kill those who are suffering and that we should “help” them by ending their suffering and by “allowing” them to die with “dignity”.

The truth is that euthanasia is murder.[7]  After considering the leftist argument given in this example, what should we say about empathy?  Is empathy against the Fifth Commandment?  Is empathy against the law of God?

From these examples (above) and from countless others published by the liberal mainstream media and promoted by “thought leaders”, we see liberals using empathy to promote their leftist positions.  Conservatives often label as “bleeding heart liberals” those leftists who appeal to empathy to push their socialist agenda.[8]

True education develops the mind to think clearly.  But true education is declining and is being replaced by training in technical skills (e.g., computer skills) and by leftist indoctrination.  This is why people think less often – and also think less clearly.  Because people are now guided less by reason, they inevitably act more on emotion and passion.

Because there is a general trend toward fuzzy thinking in society, the liberals effectively use empathy against both sexes.  However, the leftists especially prey upon women, because God made them more emotional in order to assist them in fulfilling admirably their God-given role as nurturers, especially of children.[9]  This leftist manipulation of women through empathy is shown, e.g., in the greater number of women who belong to the more liberal of the two major political parties (viz., the Democratic party in the U.S.).[10]

Leftists don’t discuss matters by addressing what is reasonable.  Despite constantly talking about justice, e.g., so-called “racial justice”, the liberals never really promote anything based on real justice.  True justice means giving everyone his due, i.e., what is owed to him.[11]  When the liberals promote so-called “racial justice” (or some other kind of supposed “justice”), they don’t explain or argue why something is DUE to those who are complaining.  So, e.g., if the liberals complain that there is no “racial justice” because there are not as many black board members on corporate boards, (or whatever else) they don’t explain why more board memberships are somehow due to blacks (or due to anyone) and are something owed to them.

Instead of focusing on reason and real justice, the liberals focus on harm and fear of harm, e.g., presenting the listener with a weeping welfare recipient sobbing and angrily declaring that she cannot feed her children without an increase in welfare payments or that her government housing is in “unacceptable” and very poor condition.

The liberal media, the entertainment industry, the advertising industry, the liberal educational establishment, and the wealthy enemies of Christ who those other groups all serve, all know that people can be easily manipulated by appealing to their emotions.  Although this is not a new problem, it has gotten much worse.

As these enemies of Christ manipulate people through emotion, they promote greater dependence on acting according to emotion and have coined the oxymoronic label “emotional intelligence”.  Here is how one encyclopedia defines this phrase:

Emotional intelligence (EI), emotional leadership (EL), emotional quotient (EQ) and emotional intelligence quotient (EIQ), is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).[12]

This is why it is the current fashion for the media and other social leaders to constantly emphasize the importance of being empathetic.  For example, liberal Democrat and U.S. president, Joe Biden, was widely praised (during his campaign for president) as the candidate of empathy.[13]  Completely turning the meaning of words upside down, one of the big reasons that the media and Biden proclaim that he is “deeply compassionate” is because he “empathizes” with women by strongly promoting their murdering their babies.[14]

Similarly, the extremely politically correct leftist-Marxist group, Black Lives Matter, emphasizes in its short statement of principles, “we are empathetic”,[15] referring to their promotion of a long list of grave sins which will increase the vice, disfunction, and suffering in society through increasing gross immorality.[16]

So, empathy (compassion) seems to be bad and to be a tool of the enemies of Christ.  But on the other hand, St. James tells us that “the Lord is merciful and compassionate.”[17]  Further, St. Peter tells us that we should be compassionate too:

Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, being lovers of the brotherhood, merciful, modest, humble ….[18]

So, what is the truth?  Where can we find the truth?  As always, we should look to Our Lord as our guide.

Christ, our Model in all things – including our Model in Compassion

Our Lord Jesus Christ is our model in all things.  Our life should be a continual “work in progress” to become more Christlike in all things.[19]

We see that the Gospels tell us repeatedly that Our Lord was compassionate.  For example, here is Our Lord relieving the people’s distress because of their great hunger:

Jesus called together his disciples, and said: I have compassion[20] on the multitudes, because they continue with me now three days, and have not what to eat, and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.[21]

Notice several things about Our Lord’s compassion here.  First, remember that He knows all things and can do all things.  He knew that they had nothing to eat.  He could have sent them away after one day, but in His infinite Wisdom, He knew it was better for them to be with Him for three days, to hear His doctrine and have His Presence.   

Our Lord could have fed the multitude on each of the days, not only on the third day.  The crowd would have preferred the more frequent meals.  However, Our Lord did not give them what they wanted but what they needed.  Perhaps, He wanted them to suffer more for the sake of the truth.  Our Lord’s compassion caused Him to give them food when they could not humanly go longer without food.  He fed them when necessary, not based on the multitude’s comfort or preference.  He acted according to their true good, rather than according to their desires.

Here is another example of Our Lord having compassion by curing a leper who was suffering from his disease:

And there came a leper to Him, beseeching Him and kneeling down, said to Him: If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.  And Jesus, having compassion on him, stretched forth His hand and touching him saith to him: I will.  Be thou made clean.[22]

But in Our Lord’s public life, He showed compassion not only by relieving the people’s bodily needs and not only by relieving needs that the people knew they had.  For example, when a great crowd came to Our Lord, He had compassion on them and began to teach them because they needed guidance (whether they knew it or not).  Here is how St. Mark explains this event, when the crowds caught up with Our Lord and His apostles, in the desert:

And going up into a ship, they [viz., Our Lord and His apostles] went into a desert place apart.  And they [viz., the crowd] saw them going away, and many knew: and they ran flocking thither on foot from all the cities, and were there before them [Our Lord and His apostles].  And Jesus going out saw a great multitude: and He had compassion on them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd, and He began to teach them many things.[23]

Here Our Lord is giving us an example of a compassion not connected to the bodily needs of the people and not necessarily even connected to any lack those people explicitly knew they suffered.  But Our Lord knew (knows) the importance of His doctrine for the happiness and holiness of people.  In His compassion, Our Lord gives the people what they need and what was best for them, even if it is not what they wanted most or even knew they needed.

Our Lord’s compassion caused Him to put Himself in the “shoes” of others and see the importance of telling them the truth, rather than having them remain in ignorance.  Our Lord prioritizing the truth shows us that the truth is paramount, even when it causes people to leave Him.  When Our Lord’s truth about the Holy Eucharist was rejected by the people and they “walked no more with Him”, He did not falter but asked those that remained: “Will you also go away?”[24]
The saints showed us the same example of true compassion, helping those who are in need to learn the truth, even though this is not what they might have wanted or what emotion would incline to give them.  It is this compassion which moves great missionaries to help the pagans.  Here is how St. Wulfran’s compassion is described:

He was chosen and consecrated archbishop of Sens, in 682, which diocese he governed during two years and a half with great zeal and sanctity.  A tender compassion for the blindness of the idolaters of Friseland, and the example of the English zealous preachers in those parts, moved him to resign his bishopric with proper advice, and, after a retreat at Fontenelle, to enter Friseland in quality of a poor missionary priest.[25]

Here is how St. Amand’s compassion is described:

In 649, he [St. Amand] was chosen bishop of Maestricht; but three years after he resigned that see to St. Remaclus, and returned to his missions, to which his compassion for the blindness of infidels always inclined his heart.[26]

God treats us this way too, giving us what we need and what is in our true best interests, rather than what we might want instead.  For example, God sends us crosses which we don’t want or think we need, as an expression of His compassion for us.  This Divine compassion could be called “tough love”.  Here is how The Catechism Explained teaches this truth:

“A grievous sickness makes the soul sober” (Ecclus. xxxi. 2).  In sickness God knocks at the door of the heart and asks for admission.  “I am always glad,” said St. Ignatius, “when I see a sinner fall ill, for sickness brings back to God.”  How foolish it is then to regard sickness as a mark of God’s anger, when it is really a mark of His compassion.[27]

On the other hand, upon God’s enemies He is sometimes said to not have compassion.  For example, 

And the Lord the God of their fathers sent to them, by the hand of His messengers, rising early, and daily admonishing them: because He spared His people and His dwelling place.  But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused the prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, and there was no remedy.  For He brought upon them the king of the Chaldeans, and he slew their young men with the sword in the house of His sanctuary, He had no compassion on young man, or maiden, old man or even him that stooped for age, but He delivered them all into his hands.[28]

Plainly, God is showing us that there is a time for compassion and a time for no compassion.  In his parable of Lazarus and Dives, Our Lord has Abraham show no compassion on Dives: 

There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen; and feasted sumptuously every day.  And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who lay at his gate, full of sores, desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table, and no one did give him.  Moreover, the dogs came, and licked his sores.  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.  And the rich man also died:  and he was buried in hell.  And lifting up his eyes when he was in torments, he saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom: And he cried, and said:  Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, to cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame.  And Abraham said to him:  Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazareth, evil things, but now he is comforted; and thou art tormented.  And besides all this, between us and you, there is fixed a great chaos: so that they who would pass from hence to you, cannot, nor from thence come hither.  And he said:  Then, father, I beseech thee, that thou wouldst send him to my father’s house, for I have five brethren, that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torments.  And Abraham said to him:  They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  But he said:  No, father Abraham:  but if one went to them from the dead, they will do penance.  And he said to him:  If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead.[29]

Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church, comments on this parable and teaches that the just are completely conformed to the righteousness of God so that they are not “moved with compassion towards the reprobate” because God would not want them to feel compassion for the damned.[30] 

We are now in a position to see what empathy (compassion) is good and what empathy (compassion) is evil.

  Compassion must conform to reason.

  Compassion must be in the appropriate amount and not be excessive.   As shown above, Our Lord multiplied simple bread to feed the crowd to prevent them from collapsing on the way home.  He did not give them feasts and riches, although that would have been easy for him to do and although the people would have preferred those instead of plain bread.  But riches and feasts would have been excessive and not good for them.

  Compassion is bad when contrary to reason.  For example, parents could empathize and “feel” for their children when those children are acting willful or need to be corrected. 

St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Doctor of the Church, condemns this empathetic over-indulgence this way:

Great indeed is the misfortune of the child that has vicious parents, who are incapable of bringing up their children in the fear of God and who, when they see their children engaged in dangerous friendships and in quarrels, instead of correcting and chastising them, rather take compassion on them ….[31]

Thus, we see that compassion (empathy) is good and God-like, provided it is according to right reason and thus, conforms to God’s own righteousness.  We should not feel empathy willy-nilly, but only as God wants us to feel it, and only toward those for whom God wants us to feel it.

For if it were good for us to have compassion/empathy whenever a person is suffering, and to have greater compassion/empathy on whoever is suffering more acutely, then it would be good to have the greatest compassion on the damned because no one on earth suffers as much as they do in hell.  Yet Our Lord has no compassion on the damned and wants us to have no compassion/empathy for them either. 

If a person were to have compassion/empathy on the damned, this would clearly be unreasonable and would be contrary to God’s Will.  In other words, such compassion/empathy would be evil (i.e., unreasonable).  Our compassion must always be directed by reason.[32] 

Our compassion is not well-regulated and formed properly if we are moved to compassion toward the wrong person or in the wrong circumstances.  If we feel compassion/empathy when we should not feel it, this spontaneous feeling might not be a sin but we must strive hard to conform our feelings to our reason and to the truth.  One example of this misplaced compassion would be to feel sorry for the damned, e.g., Judas.[33] 

Our ability to feel natural compassion is a good thing just like anger or our desire for food.  All three come from God.  But all three must be directed by reason.  So, we see that it is not true that “the more compassionate we are, the better”, any more than “the angrier we are, the better”.  Instead, compassion (and anger) must always conform with reason.

Compassion is a good passion to the extent that it readies us to help someone who is suffering[34], just like anger is a good passion to the extent that it assists us in facing danger in a difficult situation.  Those passions are good when directed toward the right object, in the right amount.  But these passions are good only if and to the extent that right reason approves of the help they move us to give (assist the suffering or facing danger in difficult situations).  If compassion and anger are according to reason, they should be promoted.  If they are against reason, then they are bad and should be suppressed (or moderated).

We need to follow reason and always make sure that our compassion/empathy is Christlike and reasonable, just like we must make sure that our anger, our desire for food, and everything else that we do, say, and think is reasonable and Christlike. 

“Solving” the false arguments promoting an evil empathy, given at the beginning of this article

Example one: empathy used to promote religious indifference and indifference to the truth.  We should resist the temptation to make a person feel good in his false religion because it will lead him to hell.  We should help to guide him to the true Catholic religion, even if he “feels bad” or becomes angry because we tell him the truth.

Example two: empathy used to attack the Natural Law and sound traditional morals.  We should resist the temptation to make a person feel good in his unnatural vice, because that vice will lead him to hell.  True compassion would move us to disapprove of his sin, to pray for him and help him to fight and escape his life of vice.  This is called “tough love”.  This is truly doing unto others as we would want them to do unto us.

Example three: empathy used to promote murder.  Whereas empathy which is misplaced could promote euthanasia (i.e., so-called “mercy killing”) because our heart is moved by a person’s suffering, making us want to end his suffering, true empathy would move us to help/support/pray with someone who is suffering/dying, while he is suffering, to help him die well.  This is truly doing unto others as we would want them to do unto us.  In other words, true empathy moves us to help a person, but in the way our reason and our Catholic Faith tell us to help. 

Conclusion

We must strive to avoid feeling compassion toward the wrong person or in the wrong circumstances.  By promoting unreasonable compassion, the leftists prey upon unwary people and draw them to support the leftists’ evil agenda.  We must guard against this trap through our efforts to conform our compassion (and everything else in our lives) to reason.



[1]           https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empathy (emphasis added).

 

[2]           https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compassion (emphasis added).

 

[4]           It is a dogma of the Catholic Church, which was infallibly declared four times, that Outside the Church there is no salvation.  For a more complete treatment of this dogma, read this article: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/there-is-no-salvation-outside-the-catholic-church.html


[5]           The Natural Law is what we know we must do by the light of the natural reason God gave us.  One example of the Natural Law is that we must never tell a lie.  We naturally know this because we know that the purpose of speech is to convey the truth and so we naturally know that telling a lie is abusing the purpose of speech.

 

Here is how St. Thomas explains what the Natural Law is:

 

[L]aw, being a rule and measure, can be in a person in two ways: in one way, as in him that rules and measures; in another way, as in that which is ruled and measured, since a thing is ruled and measured, in so far as it partakes of the rule or measure. Wherefore, since all things subject to Divine providence are ruled and measured by the eternal law, as was stated above [in Summa, Ia IIae, Q.91, a.1]; it is evident that all things partake somewhat of the eternal law, in so far as, namely, from its being imprinted on them, they derive their respective inclinations to their proper acts and ends. Now among all others, the rational creature is subject to Divine providence in the most excellent way, in so far as it partakes of a share of providence, by being provident both for itself and for others. Wherefore it has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law. Hence the Psalmist after saying (Psalm 4:6): "Offer up the sacrifice of justice," as though someone asked what the works of justice are, adds: "Many say, Who showeth us good things?" in answer to which question he says: "The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us": thus implying that the light of natural reason, whereby we discern what is good and what is evil, which is the function of the natural law, is nothing else than an imprint on us of the Divine light. It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature’s participation of the eternal law.

 

Summa, Ia IIae, Q.91, a.2, respondeo.

 

[8]           See, e.g., this article: Political liberals are ‘bleeding hearts’ because they empathize so strongly with the sufferings of othershttps://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-human-beast/201210/why-liberal-hearts-bleed-and-conservatives-dont

 

[9]           To read more about the exalted role of wife and mother that is being attacked by feminism, read this article: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/the-role-that-god-gave-to-woman-and-the-great-work-of-her-life.html

[10]         See., e.g., this 2009 article concerning the results of a survey of voters, which states:

In the current analysis of 149,192 Gallup Poll Daily tracking interviews conducted in January through May of this year [2009], 41% of women identify as Democrats, some nine points higher than the 32% of men who identify as Democrats. The 34% of men in this sample who are independents can be contrasted with the smaller 26% of women who are independents. There is little difference by gender in terms of identification as Republicans — 28% of men are Republicans, compared to 25% of women.

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Overall, the data confirm that men currently have a much more even distribution of party identification than do women. The range across the three partisan groups for men is just 6 points, from a low of 28% identifying as Republicans to a high of 34% identifying as independents. On the other hand, the range for women is a much larger 16 points, from 25% Republican to 41% Democratic.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/120839/Women-Likely-Democrats-Regardless-Age.aspx  (bracketed date added for clarity).

 

We see in daily experience and in the mainstream media, that the U.S. Democratic Party is the party of fear instead of reason.  For example, notice how strongly the Democrats promote COVID-terror and “climate catastrophe”.  Thus, because the Democrats use fear more, they have more women in the party because scare tactics work better on women than they do on men.  Here is a study showing this fact:  Appealing to fear: A Meta-Analysis of Fear Appeal Effectiveness and Theories, Tannenbaum, et al., published by the National Institute of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, and found here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5789790/

 

As a corollary to the fact that the leftists especially prey upon women, using empathy (emotion) to win them to evil causes, conservative women, especially uncompromising Traditional Catholic women, have the honorable distinction of being among the most clear-thinking of women.

 

Feminists and other Democrats expect and demand all women to vote Democratic and to promote radical, anti-God, (so-called) “women’s issues”, which are really only the usual stock of leftist issues.  To do this, feminists and other Democrats promote (a false) empathy which is merely promoting leftist evil by appealing to emotion.

 

Conservatives – including women – who recognize this leftist appeal to evil through misplaced empathy, and who thus reject such leftist evil, are attacked viciously.  For example, one radical leftist woman called conservative women “white nationalist racist gender traitors.”  https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2020/07/is-hollywood-too-soft-on-conservative-women   In the fight between good and evil, between Christ and Satan, such attacks are examples of leftist “empathy” at its clearest.

[11]         Summa, IIa IIae, Q.58, a.1, respondeo.

[13]         Read, e.g., the media promoting Biden’s “empathy offensive”.  https://news.yahoo.com/joe-bidens-empathy-offensive-184554158.html

 

[15]         Quoted from https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/ accessed on June 4, 2020. 

 

Beginning in about June 2020, conservatives noticed the BLM credo and its overt Marxism.  They began quoting it to warn the public about the encroaching Marxism throughout western nations.  Sometime, in approximately September 2020, BLM removed this credo and substituted a more generic one in its place.  Here is an archive copy of BLM’s Marxist credo we quote, here:  https://web.archive.org/web/20200917194804/https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/

 

[16]         This group, Black Lives Matters, is a very bad group.  Read more about the similarity between this group, Karl Marx, and Satan, here: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/03/09/black-lives-matters-program-is-the-same-as-that-of-satan-and-marx/

 

The truth is that black lives and all lives are important because they are gifts of God, which are necessary in order to give us the opportunity of serving Him and saving our souls so that we can be with Him for all eternity in heaven. 


[17]         St. James, 5:11.

[18]         1 St. Peter, 3:8.

[19]         Here is how St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church, teaches that Our Lord Jesus Christ is our model in everything:

 

Each word and deed of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is for us a lesson in virtue and piety.  For this end also did He assume our nature, so that every man and every woman, contemplating as in a picture the practice of all virtue and piety, might strive with all their hearts to imitate His example.  For this He bore our body, so that as far as we could we might repeat within us the manner of His Life.  And so therefore, when you hear mention of some word or deed of His, take care not to receive it simply as something that incidentally happened, but raise your mind upwards towards the sublimity of what He is teaching, and strive to see what has been mystically handed down to us.

 

St. Basil the Great, as quoted in Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, (translated by M. F. Toal), Regnery Co., Chicago, ©1958, sermon for the 5th Sunday after Easter, entitled That Prayer is to be placed before all things, volume 2, p.377.


[20]         This is the Douay Rheims translation.  The Latin word is “misericordia”, usually translated as “mercy”.


[21]         St. Matthew’s Gospel, 15:32 (emphasis added).

 

[22]         St. Mark’s Gospel, 1:40-41 (emphasis added).

 

[23]         St. Mark’s Gospel, 6:32-34 (emphasis added, bracketed words added to show context).

[24]         Here is the longer account from St. John’s Gospel, Ch.6:

 

[Our Lord declared:] I am the bread of life.  Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead.  This is the Bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die.  I am the living Bread which came down from heaven.  If any man eat of this Bread, he shall live forever; and the Bread that I will give, is My Flesh, for the life of the world.  The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying:  How can this man give us his flesh to eat?  Then Jesus said to them:  Amen, amen I say unto you:  Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you.  He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.  For My Flesh is meat indeed:  and My Blood is drink indeed.  He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me, and I in him.  As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven.  Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead.  He that eateth this bread, shall live forever.  These things he said, teaching in the synagogue, in Capharnaum.  Many therefore of His disciples, hearing it, said:  This saying is hard, and who can hear it?  But Jesus, knowing in Himself, that His disciples murmured at this, said to them:  Doth this scandalize you?  If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before?  It is the spirit that quickeneth:  the flesh profiteth nothing.  The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life.  But there are some of you that believe not.  For Jesus knew from the

beginning, who they were that did not believe, and who he was, that would betray him.  And He said:  Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to Me, unless it be given him by my Father.  After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him.  Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away?  

 

St. John’s Gospel, Ch.6, vv.48-68 (emphasis added).


[25]         Butlers Lives of the Saints, Fr. Alban Butler, vol. 1, St. Wulfran, March 20, (emphasis added).


[26]         Butlers Lives of the Saints, Fr. Alban Butler, vol. 1, St. Amand, February 6, (emphasis and bracketed words added).


[27]         The Catechism Explained, Spirago, TAN Books, Rockford, 1993, section: Apostles’ Creed, subsection #3, p.143.

[28]         2 Paralipomenon, 36:15-17 (emphasis added).

 

[29]         St. Luke’s Gospel, 16:19-31 (emphasis added).

[30]         Here are St. Gregory’s words:

 

For as the wicked desire to pass over to the elect, that is, to depart from the pangs of their sufferings, so to the afflicted and tormented would the just pass in their mind by compassion, and wish to set them free. But the souls of the just, although in the goodness of their nature they feel compassion, after being united to the righteousness of their Author, are constrained by such great uprightness as not to be moved with compassion towards the reprobate.  Neither then do the unrighteous pass over to the lot of the blessed, because they are bound in everlasting condemnation, nor can the righteous pass to the reprobate, because being now made upright by the righteousness of judgment, they in no way pity them from any compassion.

 

Catena Aurea on St. Luke’s Gospel, Ch. 16 section 5 (emphasis added).

 

St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, teaches that not only don’t the blessed have compassion on the damned but that they rejoice in the torments of the damned.  St. John Chrysostom explains this truth teaching that, in these words of Abraham, it is:

 

as if he [viz., Abraham] says, “we can see, we cannot pass; and we see what we have escaped, you, what you have lost; our joys enhance your torments; your torments enhance our joys.”

 

Catena Aurea on St. Luke’s Gospel, Ch.16, section 5 (emphasis added).

 

[31]      St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Sermon 36, On the Education of Children, First Point, section 4.

[32]         Here is how St. Thomas explains the importance of compassion being directed and controlled by reason:

 

I answer that, compassion signifies grief for another’s distress.  Now this grief may denote, in one way, a movement of the sensitive appetite, in which case compassion is not a virtue but a passion; whereas, in another way, it may denote a movement of the intellective appetite, in as much as one person’s evil is displeasing to another. This movement may be ruled in accordance with reason, and in accordance with this movement regulated by reason, the movement of the lower appetite may be regulated.  Hence Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5) that “this movement of the mind” (viz., compassion) “obeys the reason, when compassion is vouchsafed in such a way that justice is safeguarded, whether we give to the needy or forgive the repentant.”  And since it is essential to human virtue that the movements of the soul should be regulated by reason, as was shown above (I-II:59:4 and I-II:59:5), it follows that compassion is a virtue.

 

Summa, IIa IIae, Q. 30, a.3, in an article entitled: Whether mercy is a virtue?  Note: the Latin word St. Thomas uses here is “misericordia”, the same Latin word translated as “compassion” in the Douay Rheims quotes above.

[33]         To see that Judas is in hell read this article: http://www.catholiccandle.org/2020/05/01/judas-is-in-hell/

 

[34]         Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas, following St. Augustine, explains how compassion is a help to virtuous action, when that compassion is ruled by our reason:

 

As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5), mercy is heartfelt sympathy for another’s distress, impelling us to succor him if we can.  For mercy takes its name "misericordia" from denoting a man’s compassionate heart [miserum cor] for another’s unhappiness.

 

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.30, a.1 respondeo (translating “misericordia” as “mercy”).

 

Thus, we see that compassion helps us by moving us to perform works of mercy which we might otherwise not perform or might not perform as readily.

CC in brief — April

Catholic Candle note: Catholic Candle normally examines particular issues thoroughly, at length, using the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and the other Doctors of the Church.  By contrast, our feature CC in brief, gives an extremely short answer to a reader’s question.  We invite readers to submit their own questions.

CC in brief

QI’m so confused.  Is there a mass that I can attend, i.e. SSPX or SSPV?  Should I simply stay home and pray the traditional Rosary?

A. We are in the same position you are, with no Mass to attend, since there are no uncompromising priests, at least in most places in the world.  We strongly encourage you to do what we do: we stay home and sanctify the Sunday there, reading the Mass prayers, a good sermon, etc.  We use the program set out here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/sanctifying-sunday-no-mass.html

Even if we don’t “feel” content in our feelings or emotions, nonetheless with our will and intellect (the important faculties) we should be perfectly content without the Mass and Sacraments when they are not available without compromise.  Read this morale-boosting explanation here:  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/complete-contentment-without-the-mass-when-it-is-not-available-without-compromise.html

 We urge you not to attend compromise groups to get the Sacraments, even where they are valid Sacraments.  The Sacraments of compromise groups do not please God.  https://catholiccandle.org/2020/04/02/a-compromise-groups-masses-and-sacraments-do-not-give-grace-because-the-end-does-not-justify-the-means/

The SSPX is a compromise group and is liberal (as is Bp. Williamson’s group). To see concrete evidence of the “new” SSPX’s increasing liberalism, click on the “Society of St. Pius X” tab at this link: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/#gsc.tab=0

Most of the SSPV have doubtful ordinations and all of them are in schism.  Read more about the schism of sedevacantism in a book available here: https://catholiccandle.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/sedevacantism-material-or-formal-schism.pdf  If you prefer, you can buy this book (which is sold at cost) here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FP5NQR6?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860#reader_B08FP5NQR6

 

 

 

Rome Has the Churches, But Traditional Catholics Have the Faith

Catholic Candle note:  We recommend that readers copy the following article and keep it handy, as we live “in the Catacombs” and as we and the Church follow Christ to Calvary.  We all need to keep its contents in mind and in practice until the “Resurrection” (viz., the restoration following the pope’s and bishops’ consecration of Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart).

A similar statement was first expressed in 1970, after the destructive Second Vatican Council.  The only difference is that things are much worse now.  The Catholic Church is going through a Passion similar to that of Christ.  So be ready to help carry His Cross as the Cyrenean did.

Rome has had a series of bad popes who teach heresies and have taken the Faith from most Catholics.  Rome has succeeded in establishing the anti-Catholic conciliar church by making it appear that there is no longer any need for the traditional Catholic Church, when they:

1.    Eliminated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that gave grace, and replaced it by a service that does not give grace – and without grace a Catholic loses his Faith.

2.    Re-wrote all seven Sacraments to make them acceptable to non-Catholics.

3.    Taught (and teach) that everyone goes to Heaven (i.e., universal salvation).

4.    Give the impression that Mass attendance on Sunday depends on if you really want to go, and have nothing better to do.

5.    Say that there is no need for confessing your sins to please God; you must reconcile with your fellow man.

6.    Imply that all faiths are the same and that salvation is assured regardless what faith (or no faith) you choose with your complete “religious liberty”.

The above points are just a few of the many anti-Catholic actions used by Rome to establish the anti-God, humanist, conciliar church.  These actions effectively center everything on man and focus on solving his earthly problems with little thought of God and our duties to Him.

Well, what is an uncompromising traditional Catholic to do?

First, realize that Our Lord will not abandon you.  He will give you many graces to ensure a holy and happy life during this current crisis in the Church, even though we have no Mass to attend because there are no uncompromising priests, at least in most places in the world.  We do as the early Christians did: move to the Catacombs.

In the Catacombs we can live our lives without a priest, but with the fruits of the four Sacraments so necessary for a fruitful spiritual existence and salvation.

1.    Marriage

2.    Baptism

3.    Penance

4.    Holy Communion

Let’s consider how we receive the fruits of these necessary Sacraments for that spiritual existence and salvation, beginning with Marriage.  The baptized Catholic couple marry each other with words they pledge to one another and this marriage is blessed by a priest, if this is possible.

(T)he marriage contract is not a mere promise, but a transfer of right, by which the man actually yields the dominion of his body to the woman, the woman the dominion of her body to the man; it must therefore be made in words which designate the present time, the force of which words abides with undiminished efficacy from the moment of their utterance, and binds the husband and wife by a tie that cannot be broken.  …  [T]he consent of the parties, expressed in the manner already explained, is sufficient to constitute a true marriage.

See, Catechism of the Council of Trent, section: The Kind of Consent Required in Matrimony, subsection: The Essence of Marriage Constituted by the Consent.)

Next, we consider Baptism of the offspring of the above marriage. 

The matter of this sacrament is true and natural water; and it is indifferent whether it be cold or hot.  The form is: I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.          

See, 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. II, article: Baptism.

Next, we consider the need for the fruits of the Sacrament of Penance, when there is no uncompromising priest to confess to.

Perfect Act of Contrition Without a Priest.  The prospect of dying without confession would be horrifying were it not for the knowledge that a merciful God has provided for this with a perfect Act of Contrition.  This prayer, said sincerely and with God’s help, is literally a God-send.  United with a pledge to go to confession when available, this heartfelt prayer restores the dying person to grace at once.

See, Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, 1908, article: Contrition, article subsection: Perfect Contrition Without the Sacrament.

Of course, all of us should strive to make perfect acts of contrition even many times per day, just as frequent sacramental confession is important wherever God gives the opportunity to receive this sacrament without compromise.

And finally, we consider receiving the fruits of Holy Communion, in frequent Spiritual Communions, i.e., receiving the Holy Eucharist in spirit

A person receives the Holy Eucharist in spirit when he, “inflamed with a ‘lively faith which worketh by charity’, partake in wish and desire of that celestial bread offered to them, from which they receive, if not the entire, at least very great fruits.”[1] 

St. Thomas Aquinas teaches about the efficacy of a Spiritual Communion in these words:

The effect of the sacrament can be secured by every man if he receives it in desire, though not in reality.  …  So likewise, some eat this sacrament spiritually before they receive it sacramentally.

Summa, III Q.80, a.1, ad. 3.

If a person sincerely wants to receive Holy Communion, Our Lord will see to it that he receives the beneficial fruit of the Sacrament.  He assures us of our reward from a Spiritual Communion.  Here are the words in the Imitation of Christ:

The Voice of Christ:

When he is indeed unable to come, he will always have a good will and pious intention to communicate and thus he will not lose the fruit of the Sacrament.

 The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas `a Kempis, Book IV, ch. 10.

Another fruit of a worthy Holy Communion is the preservation from mortal sin and the remission of venial sin.[2]      

Although we should make Spiritual Communions every day, we should especially prepare well for our Sunday Spiritual Communion and make this Act at the appropriate time when reading our Sunday Mass prayers at home.  One way to add special meaning to the Sunday Spiritual Communion, we recommend that you consider fasting from midnight.

So, you can see, a spiritual, holy, and fruitful life is possible in the Catacombs without a priest during this very serious crisis.  Some say we are in the most serious crisis ever, in the Catholic Church.  God has created us to live now and He wants us to help Catholics to return to the full Traditions of the Church.

Life in the Catacombs is not easy, but with the daily help and graces from Our Lord, it can be holy, fruitful, and spiritually beneficial with our full cooperation and with much prayer.



[1]           The Catechism of the Council of Trent, Section: The Sacrament of the Eucharist, subsection, On the Three-fold Manner of Communicating.

[2]           See My Catholic Faith, Bishop Louis Morrow, My Mission House, Kenosha, WI, ©1949, p.298.

Catholic Candle note: If a person sincerely wants to receive Holy Communion but is truly unable to, Our Lord will see to it that he still receives the beneficial fruit of the Sacrament.  Below, Our Lord assures us of our reward from a Spiritual Communion, when we cannot receive Sacramental Communion.

 

 

Words to Live by – from Catholic Tradition

 

The Voice of Christ:

 

When he is indeed unable to come, he will always have a good will and pious intention to communicate and thus he will not lose the fruit of the Sacrament. 

 

The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis, Book IV, ch. 10 (emphasis added).

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on Death: to Die to Oneself

Objective truth series – Reflection #20 — dying to oneself and preparing for death at the same time.

In our last reflection we considered how we have to work out our salvation in fear and trembling.  This work must be unto death.  We cannot stop working with fear and trembling until we have drawn our last breath, knowing that Jesus Christ in His Human Nature will meet us Himself to judge us.

At death the soul seems to recede out of the body—the limbs become colder and as in fainting or being anesthetized, everything [all one’s surroundings] seem to be going farther and farther away.  This is known from people who have been resuscitated and have told what they experienced.   We also know of this type of thing from the lives of the saints— those who were miraculously raised from the dead, and from apparitions of souls from purgatory.  Thus, the soul seems to distance itself from the body and then, of course, the substantial change of the soul actually leaving the body is one horribly painful moment.

This is a very sobering thing to reflect upon.  We must die to ourselves and distance our souls from our bodies now.  We show true love for ourselves and our bodies by thinking of the eternal happiness for our souls and bodies, particularly, by the practice of penance here in this life.  The soul will show love of the body by treating the body distantly, namely, trying to distance one’s will from his material body. When the soul becomes detached from the body in this manner, it consequently will be detached from other material things.  By thinking of the reality that at death our souls must really leave our bodies, it makes the thought of doing penance more acceptable to our wills.  In other words, this gives us an additional incentive and desire to do the penance that Our Lord says is necessary for our salvation.  Let’s face it, even though Our Lord tells us authoritatively that we will perish if we do not do penance, we are not frightened enough to do what is necessary for our souls.

Yet we know that the denial of ourselves is necessary for our salvation by just reading the following quotes from Our Lord Himself:

·         “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone. But if it dies it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it and he that hateth his life in this world keepeth it unto life eternal.” (St. John 12:24-25)

 

·         “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (St. Luke 9:23)

·         “No, I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish.” (St. Luke 13:3) and a little farther on He says, “No, I say to you: but except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish.”

 

·         “But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.” (St. Matt. 24:13)

 

·         “And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away.” (St. Matt. 11:12).

These words inspire awe and sobriety indeed!  Likewise, Our Lady in her apparitions at La Salette, Lourdes, and Fatima, insists that we Catholics pray and sacrifice for the salvation of our souls and for the conversion of sinners.

Holy Mother Church, the Mystical Bride of Christ, has taught throughout the ages, the importance of doing penance for the reparation of our sins.  We have the season of Lent which is always penitential and had always provided the faithful with the obligation of doing penance.  (Unfortunately, the Conciliar Church, has done away with almost all obligatory penance.)

Yet the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent and the Ember Days are not all the penance that is needed.  Our Lord, Our Lady, and the many saints have all exhorted us to undertake a life of penance in order to discipline our passions and curb/root out our vices. 

Furthermore, we all need to make reparation for all of our sins and this is reason alone to do penance, but our motive for doing penance must be higher than this. We must certainly consider how doing penance and dying to ourselves have many wonderful consequences such as the following:

1) Shows Our Lord that we love Him;

2) Shows Our Lord that we want to be His true friends and disciples;

3) Makes reparation for our past sins and the sins of the world;

4) Makes our souls more Christ-like, precisely because penance disciplines the soul     and purges out vices and imperfections;

5) Prepares our souls for a holy death by strengthening the soul and detaching ourselves from the world;

6) Makes us more selfless; and

7) Gives us more of a longing to be with Our Lord.

Our Lord suffered from the moment of His conception to His last breath on the Cross.  We should desire to imitate Him.  In other words, we should be willing to suffer out of love for Him.  We certainly want our love for Christ to grow.

 In order to imitate Christ, He tells us to follow His examples of selflessness. He Himself said that the Son of Man has no place to lay His Head.  The Gospels are full of details to ponder on the countless ways in which we can imitate Our Lord.

Basically, by dying to ourselves through doing penance to discipline ourselves, we imitate Christ and thus increase our love for Our Lord.  However, we mustn’t forget that by dying to ourselves in our daily lives, it is actually preparing ourselves for death.  What a wonderful precept of Divine Wisdom to command something that has so many beautiful and efficacious consequences for our souls!  How good God is!

In addition to His command to die to ourselves, God also gives us so many examples in the lives of the Saints showing us how to go about doing this internal death through penance.  The edifying examples of the saints give us much encouragement and inspiration for our lives.  The Saints show us how doing penances and offering up our crosses really does lead to a holy life and hence, to a holy death.

One such beautiful example is dear St. Paul who encourages us to die to ourselves when saying, “But I chastise my body and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.”(1 Corinth. 9:27)

We should thank God for His loving warnings, and for giving us so many encouraging examples of penance in the lives of Our Lord, Our Lady, and the Saints.   Let us not forget to beg our dear Heavenly Mother, the Mother of Sorrows, and St. Joseph, the Patron of the Dying, to help us die to ourselves daily.  With these means we will be preparing for death as we journey towards death and our hearts might express our tenderest feelings to Our Lord thus:

Oh dearest Lord thou hast us shown,

How of our lives, too fond we’ve grown,

We’ve been too attached to the earth,

We’ve not noted, our souls’ full worth.

 

Yet thou hast taught us by Thy Life,

That ours with pleasures have been rife,

 Penance is the most needful cure,

To die to self we must endure.

 

To prepare our souls for our death,

We must work until our last breath,

And kill the old man in our soul,

Make ready for life’s final goal.

 

And other motives, there are too,

That make penance, crucial to do,

To increase in hearts, love divine,

To things of heaven, to incline.

 

A profound friendship ‘twill inspire,

And kindle our hearts with new fire

Making repairs for our past wrongs,

To Him to whom our debt belongs.

 

True penance is not just for pain,

Hoping only, for us to gain,

Some credit or to inspire awe,

But, because our passions, are raw

 

We know that we need, them to train,

Easier to keep them, in rein,

While doing battle here below,

With this can our love, for Christ grow.

 

Our Lady will help us not tire,

To follow His Path with desire,

And His Divine Precepts to keep,

And be always a faithful sheep.

 

Beseech St. Joseph at our side,

To a holy death he’ll us guide,

With heav’nly helpers we can be,

Safe like them for eternity.

 

St. Paul says, “To die is to gain,”

Our Lord says, to die like grain,

If we die to ourselves in time,

Then for us can death be sublime.

Why Did God Create Me Now, During a Church Crisis?

God created you to be happy with Him in Heaven and at this time, because He wants you to be soldiers of Christ the King for His greater glory and your greater merit.  When the Faith is under attack, as now, the soldiers must study the Faith and practice it openly, uncompromised.  You certainly will get the necessary graces to fulfill your duties as a soldier of Christ.

As stated above, God created you for Heaven and will help you toward that goal every day in so many ways.  Yes, those crosses He sends you are blessings that always help you on that heavenly journey.  God knows just what you need.  He can read your heart in order to send you crosses that are helpful and goal-oriented.  So, thank God for those helpful crosses.  You’ll understand just how helpful they are years after you receive them. 

God made you for Heaven and is not trying to confuse you.  He is constantly helping you and the crosses He sends are for your good.  He helps in more ways than you can understand or realize.  For your part, you must cooperate completely in every way possible.

It is possible God will be harsh with a sinner to wake him up in order to “jolt” him into leaving his life of sin.  He always acts in the best interests of His friends.  In general, the crosses He sends you are to put you on a better track toward heaven.  Also, God strengthens your will to resist evil because the devil wants you in hell and will not stop tempting you as long as you live. 

To get to heaven we must become saints.  Just “ordinary” saints, not even extraordinary saints like St. Francis, who started a religious order that spread worldwide.  God chose St. Francis to do His will and become an extraordinary saint in his century.  God also will guide you to do His special work now, and in the future to fight against the many evils of Vatican II.  These evils are promoted by Pope Francis and the conciliar church, causing a crisis in the Roman Catholic Church.  Your response to this crisis must be to become a saint by faithfully fulfilling the daily obligations of your state of life.

It is no secret that complete submission to God’s Will will bring you happiness now and also in the hereafter, in Heaven.

This knowledge should relieve you from stress or fear in your everyday life.  God has a plan (His Will) for your whole life.  All you have to do is to be receptive, pray, and live accordingly.  Talk with Him daily, heart-to-heart.  He will be there with all the answers to your questions.  He is very willing to help you reach your goal of Heaven.

Don’t forget God can read your heart, which is a real blessing.  So, you don’t have to fear that He may not realize just how much you love Him, based on you not always living up to your desire to serve Him well and pray devoutly.

Don’t forget God made you for Heaven, and everything He does for you is to help you fulfill that goal, and absolutely nothing He does will interfere with that.   

CC in brief — March 2021

Catholic Candle note: Catholic Candle normally examines particular issues thoroughly, at length, using the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and the other Doctors of the Church.  By contrast, our feature CC in brief, gives an extremely short answer to a reader’s question.  We invite readers to submit their own questions.

 

 

CC in brief

 

Q. My husband says it was wrong for the Southern States of the U.S. to attempt to secede – that is, to revolt – from the Federal, national government, in the civil war of the 1860s.  Is my husband correct?

 

A. There are many things to consider in assessing whether the Southern States were permitted to secede from the Union.  For example, was it prudent to secede based on the chances of success?  However, in this short CC in Brief, we leave such other considerations aside.  Although it is true that revolution is always evil,[1] nonetheless, the question arises whether the Southern States’ secession was revolution or was it the exercise of a right given by the Union’s founding agreement.  

 

The U.S. Constitution is the agreement between the states which governed their mutual relationship.  That agreement is silent on this issue, unlike, e.g., the European Union’s charter which explicitly allowed for a country to exit the EU as Britain did.[2]

 

One could suppose that the fact that the original 13 American colonies revolted against Britain implies that the U.S. Constitution might implicitly allow secession of any states which chose to sever ties with the U.S. federal government, just as those colonies severed ties with England.  Further, it certainly seems that there could be an element of hypocrisy in the successors of the American revolutionaries refusing to allow secession from their own Union, although they demanded this secession from England.  Nonetheless, the Southern States’ right to secede (or not) would “boil down” to whether secession was implicitly allowed (or implicitly forbidden) under the U.S. Constitution.

 



[1]           Read the analysis of this issue here: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/02/01/revolution-is-in-the-air/

 

[2]           Cf., Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

 

It is a Good Thing to Ask for Tears of Compunction

Objective truth series – Reflection #19

  “With fear and trembling work out your salvation.” (Phil. 2; 12).

In our last reflection, we addressed what it means to have an eternal perspective of life, namely, to live for our last end.  We must work out our salvation every day, and at no waking moment can we stop laboring at this crucial task. 

But what in particular do we think about when considering the salvation of our soul?  It would seem that if we really penetrated the reality that we can lose our souls, we would tremble and quake.   This reality is what St. Paul is admonishing us about in his Epistle to the Philippians.  We simply cannot take our salvation for granted.

We speak of fear and trembling.  One can speak of two kinds of fear—servile fear and filial fear.  Servile fear is the fear of being punished for an evil we’ve done, i.e., as a slave’s fear of his master.  Filial fear is the fear a son has towards his father because the son does not want to displease his father. Filial fear is based on love.

As Catholics we are taught from our childhood to fear hell as a place of punishment and torment.  However, God expects us to have filial fear of Him and that we will want to please Him always.

We know that we owe God everything, and that we owe Him gratitude for everything He has done for us.  We further know that we do not fear God’s Justice enough and we do not love God as we ought.  For example, St. John Chrysostom when referring to the sins of rash judgment, anger, and detraction as being such general vices among men, says, “What hopes of salvation remain for the generality of mankind, who commit without reflection, some or other of these crimes, one of which is enough to damn a soul?”[1]

This quote gives one pause and invokes fear.  What hope do we have of salvation when we are so guilty of so many crimes against Our Dear Lord?  Naturally, compunction should seize our hearts.  Compungere, which means the sting of conscience, should be what we want in order to weep for our sins.  We should consider these words of Our Lord, “Many sins are forgiven her, because she has loved much,” which refer to St. Mary Magdalene who was washing His feet with her tears [St. Luke 7; 47].  This quote, coupled with St. Peter’s words, “Charity covereth a multitude of sins,” [1st St. Peter 4:8] should make us want to weep for our sins in order to console Our Lord and Our Lady for the many sins and insults we have committed against them.

Especially in these times of the great apostasy and chastisement, we should want to pray and weep for the offenses that are continually being hurled against Our Lord and Our Lady.  We know that we deserve the punishments of a chastisement for our sins.  Our Lord and Our Lady have told us of the necessity of penance.   Our Lady of Fatima insisted on us praying the Rosary and performing sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and for peace to be obtained through the Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart.   

Our Lady’s remedy is not unlike what St. John Chrysostom recommended during his times. As Alban Butler summarizes St. John Chrysostom’s books On Compunction, he notes how St. John prescribes a life of mortification and penance as an essential condition for maintaining a spirit of compunction.  Butler refers to St. John Chrysostom’s analogy that water and fire are not more contrary to each other than a life of softness and delights is opposed to compunction.  In the same vein, Butler relates how Chrysostom states that a love of pleasure renders the soul heavy and altogether earthly; but compunction gives the soul wings, by which she raises herself above all created things.  St. John Chrysostom mentions, too, how Our Lord blesses those who mourn for their sins.

With all of the above in mind, let us not forget to turn to Mary, our Mother of Sorrows, and ask her to teach us about the malice of sin and how much pain we have caused her Divine Son.  She, better than all mankind put together, understands the massive weight of sin that her Beloved Son bore.  Her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart was pierced with a sword of sorrow.  She was a first-hand witness of the sufferings of Our Lord.  This is why tradition teaches that she is the Co-Redemptrix and the Queen of Martyrs because she stood at the Foot of the Cross offering herself in union with her Divine Son.

So, begging Our Lord through Our Lady for the gift of tears of compunction, we pray that our hearts can melt.  If we ponder the Passion of Our Lord, the innocence of Our Lady, and how we have both afflicted Our Lord and Our Lady, perhaps our cheeks would be moistened as we say the following:

Oh, if only we could full keep,

The love of Our Lord and Lady deep,

In our minds, each day and night,

How would we bear the sight?

 

Of so much grief, for this blest pair,

For their sorrow, beyond compare,

Attend and see if there like be,

Sorrow that pierced the heart of she,

 

Who was chosen to watch her Son,

And stay with her, beloved One,

While journeyed He, each step with pain,

The ground covered, with precious Stain

 

If tears could well up, as we see,

Each awful wound endured by Thee,

But could our hearts melt like wax,

Tears of Thee, Lord, would we dare ask?

 

Yeah, Lord Thy heart did yield wax-like,

 Poured out like water, without dike,

The nails dug deep, Thy wrist and feet,

With growing love, could our hearts beat?

 

If tears could flow in rivers too,

But woe to us they are so few,

Beg we do now, for an increase

And weeping let us, never cease.

 

Our sins have caused Thee, pain so great,

We cannot full appreciate,

 What our malice has done to Thee,

And the price of, iniquity.

 

And with fear then, do let us quake,

Seeing what Thou, bore for our sake,

 Not displease Thee, in any way,

Working to save, our souls each day. 

 

Mary, our Mother of sorrow,

 Assist us with each new morrow

Without thee, we cannot endure,

And our love cannot, be pure.

 

Mary, us, with compunction fill,

With melted hearts our tears can spill,

 Such a gift, we do not deserve,

From the right path, let us not swerve!



[1]           Of course, our catechism teaches us that the three conditions for mortal sin are: 1) it must be a serious matter or considered to be a serious matter; 2) sufficient reflection; and 3) full consent of the will.  See, e.g., Baltimore Catechism #3, Q.282.  St. John Chrysostom here alludes to sinners becoming callous to their grievous vices.

Words to Live by – from Catholic Tradition

 

The Voice of Christ:

 

What more do I ask than that you give yourself entirely to Me?  I care not for anything else you may give me, for I seek not your gift but you.  Just as it would not be enough for you to have everything if you did not have Me, so whatever you give cannot please Me if you do not give yourself.

 

The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis, Book IV, ch. 8 (emphasis added).