November 24, 2007

My correspondence with a “theistic Satanist”

Apparently, she was raised Catholic, but says she has always felt an affinity for Satan, and a dislike for God. She holds to her own, personal form of “theistic Satanism.” I won’t explain that. You can look up “theistic Satanism” at answers.com.

Our correspondence began early this month, but was touched off by a homily that I posted more than a year ago. If you read it and the dialogue that follows it, and you want to make comments, you may do so here at this blogpost only. I won’t allow comments at the homily site from anyone else except myself and the woman concerned.

Again: I will allow your comments here, but not at the homily site

Start by reading the homily.
Click HERE for it.

33 Comments:

Blogger Thursday said...

If its ok as a private post but as a former atheist I know how obstinately we can hold onto our vices. I know that it has been roughly over a year since I decided to return to the church. God has instilled in me a tremendous change and had brought a bitter and resentful loner like myself out of his shell even before I returned in full. I sometimes don't know what may drive someone to worship Satan, but I do know what can drive someone to stop believing in God. I have a good friend of mine who I met at work, he is openly gay and a wiccan, while I do not feel that alone I could convince him that the source of his unhappiness lies with his lifestyle I pray often for his heart to turn back to Christ as it once had. For this reason I wish to express that I am praying for you and Demensira. I pray that the Holy Spirit inspires you to speak fully and correctly and with the patience and compassion I have seen in the dialogue thus far, and secondly that Demensira continue to ask questions, I can tell how she wishes to understand God but is grasping at the words, I would claim ignorance as how best to handle this situation any further than prayer, unlike yourself I do not have a full theological arsenal at my disposal. However I do know that God does not cease to call out to us so long as we live, I pray that if not through you than at least in some other way God's will should be done to help her.

-Thursday

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

Dear Fr. Stephanos,

Thank you very much for posting the exchange of correspondence between you and a "theistic Satanist." I learned a lot about myself from your answers...things that I've always known but unable to define nor explain myself. You laid it all so well.

No, I don't believe Demesura to be a theistic Satanist at all, although I don't doubt that's how she thinks of herself. For one thing, she seems too honest with her thoughts whereas Satan is the "father of lies." There seems to be a disconnect in what she thinks she professes and the way she comes across as a sincere seeker. (The exact opposite of the hypocrisy that she so detests!)

I wish she had told you who or what exactly does she know of Satan, rather than how she feels herself attracted to him. What is her concept of his being?

I've heard and read many times in so many places that the greatest deception of Satan in our times is the belief that he does not exist. At least on that, Demensura is not deceived. I like her.

1:51 AM  
Blogger Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Not me! i'm too scared! lol

5:09 AM  
Blogger dvalle27 said...

Dear Father Stephanos,

I follow your blog closely and want to congratulate on your work but specially on the conversation with Demensira.

Oddly I searched for the word Demensira on the Web to see what it means and strangely I found nothing but places (mostly Catholic) where she has been posting. I think there is a meaning for that.. (and I think you touched that on one of your posts to her..).

In any event I believe that as love is an act of the will, not choosing God (and therefore not choosing love) is an unfortune but possible outcome of free will - and her situation at present. but I also believe she is still on her spiritual journey and it seems that ultimately... Satan has lost :-)

May God give her grace and bless all of us,

Mary pray for us,


+++
Dani


http://laudom.blogspot.com/

12:33 PM  
Blogger tara said...

Father this is an interesting post.

But, the bottom line is follow Satan, a creature made by God--suffer pain and torment in Hell for Eternity.

Follow God, the creator of everything--live in blissful Heaven for Eternity.

It seems like such a no-brainer--but I know that Satan has a way of instilling peaceful
safe "feelings." Then the truth is twisted into a believable lie. I will pray for her salvation.

8:47 PM  
Blogger Marie Anne said...

Dear Father,

I enjoyed reading your conversation with Demensira. I feel she is very conflicted with her beliefs. I think she reached out to you to help her work through her conflict.

If she is a mother she has to know love. Being a good parent is all about love as you said in your conversation. I think she needs to look into the love she has as a mother and realize that is the love the Lord God has for us. We are his children. He cares for us as we care for our children. Bad things happen to our kids and we are there to support them. I always felt that God does the same for us. We cannot control all the actions that our children make. Neither can God since He gave us free will. The best we can do in instill the right teachings in our children and they decide what they do with them. God instills in us His love and faith. What we do with them are our choices.

We are not "infallible". We make mistakes. Some of our mistakes hurt others. But those mistakes help us to learn. Hopefully as we learn we become better people. However, that is not always the case. I take everyday as a learning experience. I do not hate people for being mean, nasty, hypocritical, or unfair. I just chalk it up to their infallibility and maybe evilness, and learn from the experience.

I hope Demensira begins to learn from the experiences she has had. I hope she understands that Satan calls us not to love. If she truly follows Satan she could have no love for her self or her children. Satan knows no love. He is against love. Love conquers all. Since God is Love. If you know love you know God.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Demensira has been honest and respectful with me. I want to be respectful towards her personally.

Of course, as Catholics we see her as deceived by Satan.

She doesn't see it that way.

Notice also that at one point she reasserts that she has not taken the position of believing that God is NOT the Creator. Rather, she says she is not CONVINCED that God is the Creator. She has also left open the possibility that she may be mistaken in some things.

So, there is still the possibility of her turning to God.

It would have been pointless to merely hit her over the head with, "You're wrong, you're wrong, you're wrong...." Besides, she has access to the Catechism.

She wanted me to explain certain things. I tried to give those explanations.

It is my hope that my dialogue with her would be instrumental in her turning (returning) to Catholicism. She says she was raised Catholic, and so I wonder if that included Baptism, Confirmation, and the Blessed Eucharist.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Kevin Jones said...

"Since “right and good” arguments are permitted to affect your decisions about physical well-being, but not spiritual well-being, I believe that to be a lack of integration (from the Latin integer, meaning “the whole” or “the entire”), a lack of wholeness. Murky would be a good word for that situation."

I was particularly struck by your choice of the word "integration." "Integrity" is the word that comes to my mind, but saying someone lacks integrity borders on insult.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Astrophel said...

Hello, another theistic Satanist dropping in. A Catholic friend of mine linked me here, and I found it quite an interesting read.

I smiled when I read about Demensira's attraction to Satan for as long as she could remember. All Satanists feel that; it's well-known in the Satanic community as the sign Satan has chosen someone. However, I must admit I cringed at several points where her philosophy diverges radically from mine, and thought about how I would have responded in the same discussion.

So, with all due respect to my fellow Satanist and her beliefs, would you accept a "round two" with me, Father?

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a question that goes deep to the roots:

What spiritual problem does the interest in experiencing rape in a "role-play" situation as pleasurable signify?

If this interest stems from an interest in self-destruction and submission,then this is also the sign of an interest in the ascent to God or the descent to the devil. In ascending we submit to love. In descent we submit to domination. As opposed to role-played rape as an interest in submission, experiencing joy as a result of kindness and compassion that may have been difficult for us to exhibit initially, is an example of ascent to love.

Unfortunatly, this woman does not understand the spiritual implications of what she is questioning. Perhaps even Fr. does not understand the implications of submitting to discussion without closing on the level of love. It is all fun and games to play on the level of the intellect. Spirits will only make themselves know at the level of the heart. Please move into your heart. Stop increasing your pride through intellectual discussion. This can sometimes be productive however, you MUST move into your heart. I could intellectualize with you for hours and accomplish sevenfold in one minute of your true sumbission to a prayer that genuinely asks Jesus to come in and to show you the the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus is Love in all its fullness. I will pray that He will grant you the Humility to accept him.

Sincerely,

Anthony Francis

8:56 PM  
Blogger Hidden One said...

I thought that was an excellent discussion, Fr. You and the - at least one - Satanist (of whatever sort) you have chosen/choose to dialogue with are in my prayers.

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Fr. Stephanos,

I left a comment giving an example of why God would want us to demonstrate certain virtues in this life before we eventually die and have 100% knowledge of his existance. If you happen to post this comments, can you only post my first name "Aaron" and not include my last name?

Thanks,

Aaron

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Father Stephanos,

I'm a Catholic who teaches 5th grade PRE and works with our High School Youth group. I find that many youth question why we have to make such a clear choice between satan and God in this world, before we really have 100% concrete evidence that there is even a God or satan. I find that Stanist and Atheist have the same questions in this regard.

As a response, I give an example of who I choose to be a babysitter for my small children vs. who I might choose to casually say "Hi" to at the local grocery store. I will say Hi and smile to anyone and everyone I meet always assuming they are good and friendly people before I even get to know them. However, I will not let anyone babysit my young children without really knowing the person first. If I would let a casual stranger babysit my children and they turned out to be irresponsible and did not watch my child properly, I would be opening up my child to danger and harm. I could not take this chance, so I choose only those people I know love my children the way my wife and I love our children.

Once our children grow up more, we will be more open about who we choose, but right now we only let our parents and trusted siblings watch our small children. We are lucky to have our family close by.

So God's family in heaven is much the same way. The devil, before the creation of the world, created such harm to God's family through his original "fall" from grace that God had to separate the devil from his family in heaven.

Then God created the world as a place of preparation for acceptance into God's family in heaven, so evil would not be able to even enter heaven again. Satan remains the enemy of God who is trying to turn his plan and family upside down, because Satan wants to be God of his his own domain.

It is clear to me that the world is a place which allows us to develop and demonstrate either maturity of heart and immaturity of heart. This experience will be used by God to determine who will be members of his family in heaven.

God is evaluating all of us to see who is worthy of heaven just like I would evaluation someone before I entrust them to babysit my small children. God sent his Son to show us how to live and to lead the world into a foreknowledge of God and his plan. The path of Son had been prepared in the Old Testament over three thousand years ago going back to the dawn of history.

All this fits together like puzzle.

God Bless,

Aaron

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1 Peter 3:15
"Be always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you but with respect and gentleness"

Thanks for doing the job, Fr. Stephanos

3:08 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear “Astrophel”:


Astrophel
“fond of stars” or “star-lover”—
from two Greek words:
astron, meaning “star,”
and
philos, meaning “fond” or “loving.”

In my monastery’s family tree there is an ancient monk, Herman the Cripple, who is thought to have been the composer of a famous invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary as “STAR of the Sea.”

ALMA REDEMPTORIS MATER
QUAE PERVIA CAELI PORTA MANES
ET STELLA MARIS
SUCCURRE CADENTI SURGERE QUI CURAT POPULO
TU QUAE GENUISTI NATURA MIRANTE TUUM SANCTUM GENITOREM
VIRGO PRIUS AC POSTERIUS
GABRIELIS AB ORE SUMENS ILLUD AVE
PECCATORUM MISERERE

LOVING MOTHER OF THE REDEEMER
YOU REMAIN THE OPEN GATE OF HEAVEN
AND THE STAR OF THE SEA
ASSIST THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE FALLEN AND STRIVE TO RISE
YOU WHO BORE YOUR HOLY MAKER WHILE NATURE WONDERED
YOU WERE A VIRGIN BEFORE AND AFTER
YOU RECEIVED THE GREETING FROM THE MOUTH OF GABRIEL
HAVE PITY ON SINNERS

Herman lived in the Years of Our Lord 1013-1054 at the monastery of Reichenau Island, Lake Constance. An earlier monk of that monastery, Saint Meinrad, went to be a hermit in what is now Einsiedeln, Switzerland, dying there in 861, and inspiring the foundation of a monastery in the same place in 934. Einsiedeln sent monks in 1854 to Indiana, to start the monastery that is now Saint Meinrad Archabbey. Monks came from the Indiana monastery in 1958 to found my monastery, Prince of Peace Abbey, in the city of Oceanside, California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The monastery of Einsiedeln enshrines a blackened, statue of the Madonna and Child that is nearly six centuries old. My monastery in Oceanside has a copy of that statue enshrined in our abbey church, “Our Lady of Einsiedeln Church.”

Star of the Sea! Star of Oceanside!

The topper is that my monastery is within the same part of Oceanside as Saint Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church.

Again: Star of the Sea, Star of Oceanside!

I believe she played— and prayed— a role in the fact that you, “Starlover,” Astrophel, came to my blog.

At this point you have now received a brief story of my monastic family tree. Elsewhere on my blog, you may find a link to a story of my life and personal monastic calling.

By the way, stephanos (accent on the first syllable) is the Greek word for “crown,” and is the original name of Saint Stephen the First Martyr of Jesus Christ.

Well ... that’s enough of introducing myself.

Yes, “Starlover,” Astrophel, I am willing to correspond with you as I have been doing with “Demensira.”

Before we begin, I’m going to start a new blogpost for you and me, calling it, “Astrophel, my second Satanist correspondent,” and we can conduct our dialogue there.

I want to know if you want me to address you as “Astrophel.” Historically, that is a man’s name; but I suppose a woman might use it. Are you a man or a woman?

What is your personal religious background?

I wonder that you cringe, as you say, to read that Demensira’s Satanist beliefs differ from yours. Why cringe? Are there beliefs that Satanists expect other Satanists to hold? Among Satanists, is there also an accepted Satanist orthodoxy and are there rejected Satanist heresies? Did you cringe because Demensira is evidence of disunity among Satanists?

I ask those questions while saying to myself, “Odd to see a Satanist mindset parallel to Christian religiosity!” However, it is paradoxical to me, because I am ignorant of Satanism. Christianity holds and preaches the “universals” of Truth, Goodness, Beauty, and Unity as attributes of God, while I think of Satanism as opposed to Unity (which in Christ is a gift of the Holy Spirit), Satanism as opposed to Truth (Christ is The Truth, and Satan is the primordial distorter of the Truth), Satanism as opposed to Beauty (created beauty is a reflection of the Glory of God), and Satanism as opposed to Goodness (Demensira even excludes the application of that category in decisions about spiritual well-being). All of that goes on inside my head as I read that you “cringe” over the diversity between your Satanism and Demensira’s. I acknowledge that what is inside my head might not be the same as what’s inside your use of the word “cringe.”

I will impose one restriction on the topics of our dialogue. If I wanted to learn about Satanism in depth and from a Satanist perspective, I would go to a Satanist website or source (or to Catholic sources to learn about Satanism from a Christian perspective). I am here to receive your questions, to give my explanations, and to receive your explanations as they may be pertinent to that discussion. I am not here— my blog is not here— to enable the preaching of Satanism, which you are free to do on a blog of your own.

So, with those conditions, “Starlover,” Astrophel, if you’d like to begin, please go to my new blogpost, “Astrophel, my second Satanist correspondent.”

3:38 PM  
Blogger Esther said...

Fr. Stephanos, I am reading your exchanges with interest! Thanks for allowing us to do so.
Happy Thanksgiving.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Onion said...

Wow! I'm so glad I stumbled across this.

Thank you for posting this exchange.

6:53 PM  
Blogger Letum said...

Well, personally, I'm interested in hearing more about who she believes Satan is, and why she thinks he rebelled against God. I myself have been baffled by the desire for rebellion present, at some time or another, in every heart of all intellectual beings. Why rebel against God? It makes no sense and seems counter-intuitive. I pray that my Lord Jesus Christ keeps me from ever falling into rebellion, but I am curious to know, if God wills me to know, why Satan, the fallen angels, and some men have rebelled against God? Surely they have reasons, probably bad ones, but reasons nonetheless. Or is their rebellion against reason itself in part?

9:47 PM  
Blogger Brian Zuelke said...

I find myself sympathizing with Demensira of course -- as *all* Christians really should, being fallen human beings themselves -- but also feel reaffirmed, intellectually and spiritually, by Father Stephanos's beautiful writing.

His explanations and reasoning are almost pound-for-pound mine as well, but I often need someone / something to help me remember / clarify in an apathetic world that really just doesn't seem to care sometimes whether or not there is a "beyond."

I applaud Demensira's courage and honesty, and truly pray she can work things out for herself, so that she can eventually come to make peace with God, and love him as so many of us wish to as well.

3:29 AM  
Blogger Ma Beck said...

Father,
Just wanted to thank you for allowing us to read this most interesting and civil discussion and to commend your decision to allow no comments on the posts which should involve only you and the two others.
I am certainly not qualified to add anything nor to even comment on the situation - what needs to be said, you are saying.
Be assured of my prayers.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Demensira said...

Maria's comment’s -
1) For one thing, she seems too honest with her thoughts whereas Satan is the "father of lies." There seems to be a disconnect in what she thinks she professes and the way she comes across as a sincere seeker.
2) What is her concept of his being?

I have no reason not to be honest. I will explain what I mean by this further down when I respond to Kevin Jones.

As to your second comment/question, I did not go into detail what I 'know' of Satan or 'what my concept of his being' are because I did not come here to bicker with a priest over differences in how we perceive Satan.

Kevin Jones's comment -
I was particularly struck by your choice of the word "integration." "Integrity" is the word that comes to my mind, but saying someone lacks integrity borders on insult.

Which was in response to Father Stephanos statement:
"Since “right and good” arguments are permitted to affect your decisions about physical well-being, but not spiritual well-being, I believe that to be a lack of integration”

Integrity
- Adherence to a code of values; utter sincerity, honesty, candor; completeness
- Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.
- a Primary Principle and prime virtue, is steadfast adherence to a code

(Wikipedia) One is said to have integrity to the extent that everything they do and
believe is based on the same core set of values. While those values may change, it is their consistency with each other and with the person's actions that determine their integrity. The concept of integrity is directly linked to responsibility in that implementation spawning from principles is designed with a specific outcome in mind.

Based on the definitions above my only guess here is that you have a skewed perception of what someone who worships Satan should do rather than any practical knowledge. That is completely understandable; you likely don’t care to know. That being said - If our positions were reversed, myself and Father Stephanos, I would have a difficult time calling someone’s integrity into question without any knowledge of their ‘adherence to a moral or ethical code’. Since that code could technically be anything.

Satanism as it relates to me only -

For example, right and good arguments are permitted to ‘affect my decisions about physical well-being’ because physically harming someone is not the point. In fact, there would be no point in that in all. (This goes for physical, mental, or emotional well-being)

Ask yourself. What would Satan have to gain from that? Suffering? Despair? The key question, would this be permanent? And I don’t mean permanent in the temporal sense. Affecting/effecting someone’s emotional and mental well-being could lessen a person’s culpability.

Really it depends on the person. But things like that don't always get the intended result. It’s better for people to be fat, happy and indifferent (but not ignorant). Hence the disconnect between the murderous, destructive, antisocial Satanists of popular cinema and the real thing.

No reason to lie or be untruthful because who is going to believe anything said online.

If instead you meant 'accordance with the relevant moral values, norms and rules'

Norms and rules being that of society, then yes you would be right and I lack integrity. No offense taken.

Father Stephanos –

While you asked this question to Astrophel, I think I can answer it.

We can all assume that theistic Satanism - that is the worship of Satan as a deity, or at the very least having a favorable opinion of him – is a minority. Of that the majority of theistic Satanists completely reject the Christian ideology. This means that my personal religious view is a minority within a minority. Further I believe it’s actually looked down on which is where the ‘cringe’ might come from.

There is no unity in Satanism. There is as many ways of worshiping Satan as there are individuals who worship him. The only claim to unity there is, is that we recognize that.

Finally. Baptism, yes. First Communion, yes. Confirmation, I don’t recall it could have been at the same time First Communion.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

To all:

If you have not read thoroughly my correspondence with Demensira at my homily blog, you might have an inaccurate perception of the distinction I made to explicitly choose the word "integration," rather than "integrity."

From the perspective of my Christian faith and philosophy, to be whole (literally "integrated") is to have all three dimensions of emotion (psychological health), rational intellect, and will (choices) be in harmony to the degree one is able on this side of the final resurrection-- and with God's help, of course. From this Christian perspective, one is not whole (one does not have integration) if one of those dimension is excluded from a pursuit of what is good.

I did not call Demensira's integrity into question, and I am confident she recognized that. Paradoxically, she is more honest about her Satanism than some of us Catholics are about our sins when we go to confession. As a priest, I hear confessions, and people often make excuses for their sins. One's confession would have more integrity if one would just say, "I did such-and-such, it is a sin, there is no excuse, I am responsible, I made the choice."

Kevin Jones noticed my choice of the word "integration," and rightly observed that "saying someone lacks integrity borders on insult."

Once more, you are all welcome to make your comments here. I continue to reserve my correspondence with Demensira for myself and her at the homily blog. You may read it there, but make no comments there.

Similarly, in the new, separate blogpost I have put up for me and Astrophel, I will not let through any comments but my own and his. You may read them, but comment only here.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Demensira said...

Dear Astrophel,

You have managed to return to me that passionate hatred I thought I lost a few months back.

Our dear Shepard's congratulate themselves and pat each other on the back for having so many sheep. Even when the thieves come and steal the wool, they celebrate. They are so proud of themselves they forget winter will come, and all those sheep will perish with no protection from the cold.

I wouldn't get your hopes up, as sincere as Father Stephanos appears to be, he is only one man.

I have no encouraging words for you.

Demensira

2:09 PM  
Blogger Nicholas said...

Demensira said:
"he is only one man."

My dearest Demensira everything happens for a reason. The battle of the intellects can go on for a long time, but in the end, it can be the words that are most resounding to the heart in the form of truth and beauty and simplicity, that can have incredible effects. I will explain later how am a testament to that. Even alone in a room on the computer, Fr. Stephanos is not alone. And neither are you. We truly believe in what scriptures says and what our beloved Church teaches as the "Body of Christ". Fr. Stephanos is never alone. Aside from his physical Benedictine community, there are the deceased saints that have gone before him, that he can call to his aid.

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, I am a 19 year old college student who has recently received the call o the priesthood. Many priest who are ordained follow the road to the priesthood through much prayer and by having deep down the knowledge that "this is right". I am sort of a exception. My calling, although involving the two aforementioned requirements, came in the form of two of my siblings, one living, one dead in heaven. I spent my first year in college away from the Lord, for the simple reason that I did not "feel" anything when I prayed or went to church. Although truth be told, there was not much effort outside of it in day to day activities and associations. I stopped going to church and feel deeply into my prideful nature and began heavy drinking, drugs and fooling around with girls. To make a long story short, I felt completely alone by the end of the year that I felt numb to everything. I had just broken up with my girlfriend, and was moving back in with my parents. Not liking the numbness and the depression, I cried out to God one night to give me strength, because I felt like I was hurting so much. And for the first time in a year and a half I cried and I felt completely at peace. I continued on the path to God, and dived into philosophy, theology, and surprisingly, exorcism books. Most notably, "Hostage to the Devil" By. Fr. Martin. I found it scary, yet interesting. It was after reading the exorcism book that I realized that there had in fact been a demonic presence in my life. I decided it was time for confession so that I could receive the Eucharist worthily (now that I knew the importance of it) While infront of the church, in my car, about to go to confession, I prayed to God to show me through confirmation if I should follow the road to the priesthood(I had been intensely thinking about it a little bit before this) After I prayed this prayer, my mother pulls up next to me in her van, and goes inside the church. My littlest brother, (Michael age 10) gets out of the van, and comes into my car. He had a curious look on his face, and after a while I asked him what was up. Out of nowhere he says "Are you going to become a priest?" Of course I was shocked because I had not told anybody I was even thinking about that possibility. I asked him who told him that, but he insisted on knowing if I was going to become a priest. I told him how I was thinking about it and how I just prayed moments before about it. Then told me something that has changed me and continues to change me, and gives me hope and trust in our Lord, and His triumph over evil. He said that when he was in the van pulling into church, his twin sister from heaven appeared in the seat next to him and said, "you know your brother is going to be a priest right?" Then she disappeared, not knowing anything about the matter, he simply got into my car and asked me the question. Think for a sec about the series of events. Prayer to confirmation. My brother has no reason to lie, and since satan can not read our thoughts, I truly believe is to be a sign from God, and everything has been happening very quickly since then. I am currently a missionary in a hispanic slum in North Georgia. Where just a short time ago, I was under the influence of evil, and my pride. God is very simple, bt once we truly and definitively decide to turn away from our frustration and haterd, which at root lies in hatred for self, we see the glory of God through creation. Now here is the key that you may be asking yourself...twin sister?

Well when my mother was pregnant for Michael, she had a miscarriage, seven months later she had Michael, therefore twins....My mother always felt it was a girl, and named her Philomena.

Pax Tecum
Nicholas

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the gentle but clear manner in which you are listening and then responding to each of these two individuals. While their final stories have yet to unfold I thank you for providing all of us who have chosen sides with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit an extremely close examination of all the reasons for having made that choice. Excellent review of primer material.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Bob Farrell said...

When Demensira says "...he is only one man.

I have no encouraging words for you."

I can imagine those same words being said by the Apostles as they are locked in their room on that lonely Saturday.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous James said...

Dear Father Stephanos,

I thank Our Lord for your good work here with these people whom you have deliberately engaged and are trying to help.

Your kindness, willingness to explain, and real charity are very encouraging to me and, I'll bet, a lot of others who read this.

I think St. Benedict would be proud of you.

May Our Lady protect you!

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Catholic libertarian, I've got to have a stab at this... I wonder if many theistic Satanists are attracted to that concept because it glorifies the individual, and in some way becomes a sort of, for lack of a better term: agnostic worship of reason. Because it would seem that the hatred and/or the revulsion they feel for Catholics or other Christians stems from the revulsion a free man feels for a slave who willingly accepts his condition. Why would any right-thinking individual decide that setting God up on a throne to worship through eternity is a good thing? Perhaps here there is a conflation of the notion of an earthly king and God. The problem then centers around "what, exactly then, is the nature of God?"

I am drawn to libertarianism (small "l") precisely because I believe in free will and the primacy of reason over emotion. But that does not negate the possibility of making a rational decision to surrender to faith, nor does that surrender negate free will---it confirms it. In fact, although a cradle Catholic, I drifted away from God, especially at that "college age" when we begin to become proud of our own capacity for reason. It was in my pre-Cana counselling with a couple (who happened to include a man who had a PhD in theology) that I was challenged: how deeply had I studied Catholicism, in contrast to how many years of "school learning"? In fact, I returned to the faith by the path of reason. Indeed, to me, Catholicism was the only religion that respected my free will and intellect. I am extremely uncomfortable with the "bumper sticker Jesus"---and the emotional "priesthood of the self" divorced from history, context, philosophy, patristics, and all of the vigorous debates of the Church. I don't foresee a Christian afterlife as some New Age Love-in of mindless spiritual dancing and folk music---what would be the attraction? And it's that image that unfortunately repulses many educated people from religion, unfortunate especially when it is a false vision.

Anyways, Father, I appreciate the dialogue, and would appreciate some additional elaboration of the non-exclusivity of reason and faith. I think it would be helpful.

-Poulette

5:59 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Poulette: "some additional elaboration of the non-exclusivity of reason and faith"


- - - -


THE CATECHISM, ON HUMAN REASON AND FAITH

50 By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works. But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of divine Revelation. Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. This he does by revealing the mystery, his plan of loving goodness, formed from all eternity in Christ, for the benefit of all men. God has fully revealed this plan by sending us his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

156 What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe "because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived". So "that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit." Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church's growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability "are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all"; they are "motives of credibility" (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is "by no means a blind impulse of the mind".

157 Faith is certain. It is more certain than all human knowledge because it is founded on the very word of God who cannot lie. To be sure, revealed truths can seem obscure to human reason and experience, but "the certainty that the divine light gives is greater than that which the light of natural reason gives." "Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt."

158 "Faith seeks understanding": it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love. The grace of faith opens "the eyes of your hearts" to a lively understanding of the contents of Revelation: that is, of the totality of God's plan and the mysteries of faith, of their connection with each other and with Christ, the center of the revealed mystery. "The same Holy Spirit constantly perfects faith by his gifts, so that Revelation may be more and more profoundly understood." In the words of St. Augustine, "I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe."

159 Faith and science: "Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth." "Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are."

274 "Nothing is more apt to confirm our faith and hope than holding it fixed in our minds that nothing is impossible with God. Once our reason has grasped the idea of God's almighty power, it will easily and without any hesitation admit everything that [the Creed] will afterwards propose for us to believe - even if they be great and marvelous things, far above the ordinary laws of nature."

1706 By his reason, man recognizes the voice of God which urges him "to do what is good and avoid what is evil." Everyone is obliged to follow this law, which makes itself heard in conscience and is fulfilled in the love of God and of neighbor. Living a moral life bears witness to the dignity of the person.


THE CATECHISM, ON REASON AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

35 Man's faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith. The proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.

36 "Our holy mother, the Church, holds and teaches that God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason." Without this capacity, man would not be able to welcome God's revelation. Man has this capacity because he is created "in the image of God".

37 In the historical conditions in which he finds himself, however, man experiences many difficulties in coming to know God by the light of reason alone:
Though human reason is, strictly speaking, truly capable by its own natural power and light of attaining to a true and certain knowledge of the one personal God, who watches over and controls the world by his providence, and of the natural law written in our hearts by the Creator; yet there are many obstacles which prevent reason from the effective and fruitful use of this inborn faculty. For the truths that concern the relations between God and man wholly transcend the visible order of things, and, if they are translated into human action and influence it, they call for self-surrender and abnegation. The human mind, in its turn, is hampered in the attaining of such truths, not only by the impact of the senses and the imagination, but also by disordered appetites which are the consequences of original sin. So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful.

38 This is why man stands in need of being enlightened by God's revelation, not only about those things that exceed his understanding, but also "about those religious and moral truths which of themselves are not beyond the grasp of human reason, so that even in the present condition of the human race, they can be known by all men with ease, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error".

39 In defending the ability of human reason to know God, the Church is expressing her confidence in the possibility of speaking about him to all men and with all men, and therefore of dialogue with other religions, with philosophy and science, as well as with unbelievers and atheists.

47 The Church teaches that the one true God, our Creator and Lord, can be known with certainty from his works, by the natural light of human reason (cf. Vatican Council I, can. 2 § 1: DS 3026),

237 The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the "mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God". To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in his work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel's faith before the Incarnation of God's Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit.

286 Human intelligence is surely already capable of finding a response to the question of origins. The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason, even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error. This is why faith comes to confirm and enlighten reason in the correct understanding of this truth: "By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear."


THE CATECHISM, THAT REASON MAKES MAN LIKE GOD

1730 God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions. "God willed that man should be 'left in the hand of his own counsel,' so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him."
Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Theophoros said...

"Hatred against God is far closer to God than indifference to Him." George MacDonald

10:26 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Oh, God help us.

Father,

What can I say? I will pray for you all.

Before conversion, while I was still spiritually confused I stumble upon a Satanist site. The rhetoric there was attractive, very refined and for an instant I felt drawn...but in the end I felt repelled by the coldness of their teachings.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Pablo said...

Dear Padre,
Salutations. It is with all due respect for your office of Alter Christus that I offer the following comments regarding the Mary of Magdalene with whom you are corresponding. First, a comment towards this little 'Satanist':
"Magister Adest et Vocat Te"
The Master is here, and He calls you. Mary Magdalene, at the raising of Lazarus, was called by Christ to His side; the sinner was called to the side of Christ that she might further see how the Authority of Christ raises even those dead for great lengths of time in mortal sin are raised and saved by His Grace. Mary of Magdalene is your spiritual sister. It is unfortunate that you have not heard Roman Catholic Sermons to feed your soul. Spiritually, you are starving. It appears that your soul knows it is being shortchanged by minimal Christianity, and is seeking Love. This is a grace from God. You will find He that Is. But first, our Lord is requiring you to stop by and help build up this Padre's Faith before He calls you to His side. And, you are more Roman Catholic than many of us hypocrites. So was Mary of Magdalene.
Padre,
“Whatever a priest may plan, resolve, or do to become holy, he will have to draw, for example and for heavenly strength, upon the Eucharistic Sacrifice which he offers….
He must imitate what he holds in his hands.”
Pope Blessed John XXIII
Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia

May I please ask that you stop saying the Novus Ordo Mass, and say the Latin Tridentine Mass, as now allowed by the recent Muto Propio. Then you will truly be holding our Lord in your hands. And it is the Mass that will help you feed your sheep. This will be the start of using the Authority of your Priesthood to catechize sinners and deliver Sermons that harvest souls for the Lord.
May I send you two sermons via yousendit.com to your e-mail address, that you may use them for the edification of souls?
I do not like to pray. It is a bother for me, and takes up time I can lounge around and do nothing. Today however, I shall go to Mass and pray the Rosary not for the little Satan girl, but for you. I will ask the Mother of Mercy to petition her Son for this woman's conversion, and for the conversion of all those 'Christians' she is surrounded by.
Woman, I am one of the hypocrites you refer to in your messages. I am happy that God has allowed you to speak up and remind us that we are not to take being in a state of grace for granted.
I know you are being kept at a distance from us, and that might in its own way be good for you. I would like to send a Mary Magdalene sermon to you, if you allow, given by a Roman Catholic Priest. A Traditional Roman Catholic Priest.
In the meanwhile, do no harm.
Padre;
I entrust this whole matter in the hands of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, “Mother of the Priest par excellence, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and through Him, of all priests in whom she forms her Son”.

With the assurance of my daily prayers for all your good work in the vineyard of the Divine Master, I remain yours truly in Jesus and Mary Immaculate.

pablo

12:35 PM  
Blogger Diane K said...

Dear Fr. Stephanos,

Thank you so very much for teaching us, by example, respectful dialogue. The patient manner in which you address the many questions and statements made is also a powerful witness of love.

I also must say, that I appreciate the respectful tone by Demensira.

The dialogue demonstrates how layers of misunderstanding can be peeled away.

No one can be forced to accept God. Therefore, it makes no sense to hit anyone over the head - figuratively, of course.

I know people who were practicing Satanists who have become good and holy Catholics.

Be assured that you, Demensira, and others with whom you exchange deep philosophical and religious discussions are in my Mass and prayer intentions.

4:47 PM  

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