THERE is an underlying theme I try to weave throughout all the aspects of my ministry: Be not afraid! For it carries within it the seeds of both reality and hope:
by Yongsung Kim
The theme that is emerging in my heart this Advent is the need for a “revolution of the heart.” It begins, simply, with a courageous declaration of one’s faith in Jesus Christ against the cultural tide of faithlessness…
A sign in the State Capitol building in Illinois, USA, displayed prominently in front of the Christmas display, read:
At the time of the winter solstice, let reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is just myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds. —www.cbs2chicago.com, December 23rd, 2009
Some progressive minds would have us believe that the Christmas narrative is merely a story. That the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His ascension into Heaven, and His eventual second coming are merely a myth. That the Church is a human institution erected by men to enslave the minds of weaker men, and impose a system of beliefs that control and deny mankind of true freedom.
Say then, for the sake of argument, that the author of this sign is correct. That Christ is a lie, Catholicism is a fiction, and the hope of Christianity is a tale. Then let me say this:
THIS past Lent was a blessing for me to journey with tens of thousands of priests and laymen alike all over the world through the daily Mass meditations I wrote. It was exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. As such, I need to take some quiet time to reflect upon many things in my ministry and my own personal journey, and the direction God is calling me.
God forgive the USA. Normally I would begin with God Bless the USA, but today how could any of us ask him to bless what is happening here? We are living in a world that is growing more and more dark. The light of love is fading, and it takes all my strength to keep this little flame burning in my heart. But for Jesus, I keep it burning still. I beg God our Father to help me understand, and to discern what is happening to our world, but He is suddenly so silent. I look to those trusted prophets of these days who I believe are speaking the truth; you, and others whose blogs and writings I would read daily for strength and wisdom and encouragement. But all of you have become silent too. Posts that would appear daily, turned to weekly, and then monthly, and even in some cases yearly. Has God stopped speaking to all of us? Has God turned His holy face from us? After all how could His perfect holiness bear to look upon our sin…?
Scene from The 13th Day
THE rain pelted the ground and drenched the crowds. It must have seemed like an exclamation point to the ridicule that filled the secular newspapers for months prior. Three shepherd children near Fatima, Portugal claimed that a miracle would occur in the Cova da Ira fields at high noon that day. It was October 13, 1917. As many as 30, 000 to 100, 000 people had gathered to witness it.
Their ranks included believers and non-believers, pious old ladies and scoffing young men. —Fr. John De Marchi, Italian priest and researcher; The Immaculate Heart, 1952
IN a recent letter exchange, an atheist said to me,
If sufficient evidence was shown to me, I would start witnessing for Jesus tomorrow. I don’t know what that evidence would be, but I’m sure an all-powerful, all-knowing deity such as Yahweh would know what it would take to get me to believe. So that means Yahweh must not want me to believe (at least at this time), otherwise Yahweh could show me the evidence.
Is it that God does not want this atheist to believe at this time, or is it that this atheist is not prepared to believe in God? That is, is he applying the principles of the "scientific method" to the Creator Himself?
I have spent several weeks dialoguing with an atheist. There’s perhaps no better exercise to build one’s faith. The reason being is that irrationality is a sign itself of the supernatural, for confusion and spiritual blindness are hallmarks of the prince of darkness. There are some mysteries the atheist cannot solve, questions he cannot answer, and some aspects of human life and the origins of the universe that cannot be explained by science alone. But this he will deny by either ignoring the subject, minimizing the question at hand, or ignoring scientists who refute his position and only quoting those who do. He leaves many painful ironies in the wake of his “reasoning.”
Philip Pullman; Photo: Phil Fisk for the Sunday Telegraph
I AWOKE at 5:30 this morning, the wind howling, snow blowing. A lovely spring storm. So I threw on a coat and a hat, and headed out into the blistering winds to save Nessa, our milk cow. With her safely in the barn, and my senses rather rudely awakened, I wandered into the house to find an interesting article by an atheist, Philip Pullman.
With the swagger of one who hands in an exam early while fellow students remain to sweat over their answers, Mr. Pullman briefly explains how he abandoned the myth of Christianity for the reasonableness of atheism. What caught my attention most, though, was his answer to how many will argue that Christ’s existence is evident, in part, through the good His Church has done:
However, the people who use that argument seem to imply that until the church existed no one ever knew how to be good, and no one could do good now unless they did it for reasons of faith. I simply don’t believe that. —Philip Pullman, Philip Pullman on the Good Man Jesus & The Scoundrel Christ, www.telegraph.co.uk, April 9th, 2010
But the essence of this statement is puzzling, and in fact, presents a serious question: can there be a ‘good’ atheist?
FOR decades now, Catholics have had to endure a never-ending stream of news headlines announcing scandal after scandal in the priesthood. “Priest Accused of…”, “Cover Up”, “Abuser Moved From Parish to Parish…” and on and on. It is heartbreaking, not only to the lay faithful, but to fellow-priests. It is such a profound abuse of power from the man in persona Christi—in the person of Christ—that one is often left in stunned silence, trying to comprehend how this is not just a rare case here and there, but of a much greater frequency than first imagined.
As a result, the faith as such becomes unbelievable, and the Church can no longer present herself credibly as the herald of the Lord. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Light of the World, A Conversation with Peter Seewald, p. 25
RECENTLY, I answered your questions regarding private revelation, including a question about a website called www.catholicplanet.com where a "theologian" has, on his own authority, taken the liberty to declare who in the Church is a purveyor of "false" private revelation, and who is conveying "true" revelations.
Within a few days of my writing, the author of that website suddenly published an article on why this website is "full of errors and falsehoods." I’ve already explained why this individual has seriously damaged his credibility by continuing to set dates of future prophetic events, and then—when they don’t come to pass—resetting the dates (see More Questions and Answers… On Private Revelation). For this reason alone, many don’t take this individual too seriously. Nonetheless, several souls have gone to his website and left there very confused, perhaps a tell-tale sign in itself (Matt 7:16).
After reflecting on what was written about this website, I feel that I should respond, at least for the opportunity to shed even further light upon the processes behind the writing here. You can read the short article written about this site on catholicplanet.com here. I will quote certain aspects of it, and then reply in turn below.