November 03, 2007

A Manual of Theory and Operations for the Vocation of Every Human Person

You’ll find it in numbers 1691 through 2051 (in other words, on pages 421 through 495) of the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. That amounts to the three chapters in Section One of Part Three of the Catechism. Here’s an outline.

Section One: Man’s Vocation: Life in the Spirit
Chapter One: The Dignity of the Human Person
Chapter Two: The Human Community
Chapter Three: God’s Salvation: Law and Grace

The Jews and the Return of Christ Jesus

God’s word in today’s first reading from the eleventh chapter of the Letter to the Romans is about the exaltation of the children of Patriarch Abraham.
God had exalted them above all other nations to be his own.
Though some of the patriarch’s children do not accept the Gospel, in the end they will all be exalted, “as it is written”:
and thus all Israel will be saved....
... they are beloved because of the patriarch.
For the gifts and call of God are irrevocable.

Following the word of the Lord [today’s first reading], the Catechism of the Catholic Church [674] says:
The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history
until his recognition by all Israel....
The full inclusion of the Jews in the Messiah’s salvation,
in the wake of the full number of the Gentiles,
will enable the people of God
to achieve the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
in which God may be all in all.

The final exaltation of the Jews will complete the exaltation of the Church.
Once the children of Abraham fulfill the Church, Christ will return.

= = = = = = = =

That was part of my homily for today, Saturday of the Thirtieth Ordinary Week of the Church Year.
Click HERE for it.

November 02, 2007

The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed ("All Souls"), 2 November

A newborn baby is not yet able to walk or run, not yet able to chew, not yet able to speak or read, not yet able to understand a joke.
Newborn babies are alive, but not all their built-in abilities are working yet.
When we sinners die, we are like newborn babies: we are not instantly able to enjoy heaven.
Until the moment of death we remain free and able to sin— even if we might be the holiest persons alive.
Until the moment of death we continue to have sinful tendencies.
When we die, God must remove sin and its effects from us so that we are completely free and able to enjoy heaven.
That process is purgatory.
As a negative process, purgatory means God is purifying us of sin and its effects so that we enter heaven free and clean.
As a positive process, purgatory means God is waking up our souls, turning on all the lights inside us, making us fully able to run in heaven, fully able to see heaven, fully able to hear heaven, fully able to enjoy and celebrate in heaven.
When we pray and sacrifice on behalf of the dead— as we do especially today— we are helping those souls who died still needing purification before they can enter heaven.
Some persons doubt that the Church has the power to do anything for persons who have died.
However, in Matthew 18:18, Christ tells his followers:
Truly, I say to you,whatever you bind on earthshall be bound in heaven,and whatever you loose on earthshall be loosed in heaven.

Christ gave the Church— ON EARTH— authority and power IN HEAVEN.
Some might say that when persons die they go either straight to hell or straight to heaven, because there is no such thing as purgatory.
Do you remember that Jesus raised from the dead a 12-year old girl, his own friend Lazarus, and the son of a widow?
If those three persons were already in the eternal glory of heaven, why would God bring them back to earth to suffer more and die again?
On the other hand, if they were already in hell, Jesus consistently taught that being in hell is everlasting.
Those three persons whom Jesus raised from the dead were neither in eternal damnation nor in eternal glory.
The Church specially devotes the second day of November to prayer and penance on behalf of those Christians who have died serving the Lord but still needing to be purified of the effects of sin.
The Church has authority from the Son of God to set those persons free for heaven.
Since Christ gave the Church authority to bind and to release on earth and in heaven, the Church authorizes each one of us to participate in helping souls enter heaven.
One way each of us can do that is to visit a cemetery each day from today through November ninth and pray for the faithful departed.
A second way is to come to church today and pray here for the faithful departed.
What we are doing today here in church, I hope someone will do for me when I die.
I hope the same for each one of you.
The souls that we help to enter heaven will join all the angels and saints in helping us by their prayers.
May the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.

One monk's garden

outside the backdoor of his cell

I've posted a few other photographs of my monastery.
Click HERE for it.

November 01, 2007

A Homily for the Mass of the Solemnity of All the Saints

Click HERE for it.

The evolution of “saints”

The word “saint” means “holy.”

Today we use the word “saint” as a title for someone whom the Church publicly recognizes to be in heaven.

However, the Church originally used “saint” as a title for all baptized believers of the Church. That is how the New Testament uses it.

Acts 9:13,32
Acts 26:9-11
Romans 8:27
Romans 15:25-31
2 Corinthians 1:1-2
Ephesians 1:1-2
Ephesians 3:8
Ephesians 6:18
Philippians 1:1-2
Philippians 4:21-22

In those and other New Testament texts, the saints are the members of the Church living on earth. The New Testament use of the word “saint” is parallel to our use of the word “Christian.”
So, then, you and I are saints.
Let’s own up to it!
Let’s live it!
That’s what God wants for us.

As the early decades of Christianity began to roll into centuries, the Church increasingly began to use the word “saint” to refer especially to the martyrs.

The widespread devotion to St. Martin of Tours, who died in A.D. 316, was one of the earliest examples of the widespread popularity of a non-martyr saint.

The saints are in various categories, and the Church maintains those categories in a particular order of priority. We find this traditional priority, for instance, in several places in the Missale Romanum, for instance in the Litany of Saints during the Baptismal Liturgy at the Paschal Vigil Mass. The order of priority of the saints is as follows.

First, the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Holy Angels
Saint John the Baptist
Saint Joseph
Doctors of the Church
Virgins and Religious
Finally, other kinds of Saints

Some may find it odd that Saint John the Baptist is listed ahead of Saint Joseph. We “moderns” do not remember that, for more than the first thousand years of the Church, Christians had the greatest devotion to Saint John the Baptist; then we slowly forgot him.

The Litany of the Saints and the Roman Missal have not forgotten.

The Son of God himself said no one of earthly birth is greater than Saint John the Baptist [Mt. 11:11; Lk. 7:28].

At the Vatican, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel painting of the Last Judgment shows the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist as the first ones seated to the immediate right and left of Christ.

In the Eastern Church, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist are known and pictured as the first intercessors on either side of the throne of Christ the King.

Although the Son of God names Saint John the Baptist as the greatest person of earthly birth, Jesus added that to be the least-born in the kingdom of HEAVEN is greater than being the greatest man on earth.

Through Baptism, you and I were born into the kingdom of heaven.
So, then, you and I are saints.
Let’s own up to it!
Let’s live it!
That’s what God wants for us.

October 31, 2007

An ancient hymn for evening prayer on the solemnity of all the saints

Pray this one before going out this evening!

O Christ, Redeemer of us all,
preserve your servants here.
You are appeased by holy prayers
of your own Mother dear.

You angels, hosts of spirits pure,
around your mighty King,
us through all evils present, past
and future safely bring.

O prophets of the world’s just judge,
the Lord’s apostles true,
that by your prayers we may be saved
we humbly ask of you.

O martyrs, victims to our God,
confessors, world renowned,
obtain for us the grace that we
one day with you be crowned.

Vast choirs of spotless virgin souls,
and monks in tightened ranks,
make us companions with the saints
of Christ, and reap our thanks.

Drive far away all faithlessness
that faithful we may live,
so we may sing most fitting praise
and thanks to Christ may give.

All glory to the Father and
his sole-begotten Son,
and to the Spirit Advocate
now and forever One.

"Halloween" = Eve of the Solemnity of All the Hallowed in Heaven

Guess what I'm going to wear....
Click HERE for it.


Ten years ago, a parish church asked me to give a talk about saints throughout history. I came up with the following outline of a “quick tour.”


A.D. 107. St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr.

A.D. 203. St. Perpetua and St. Felicity, Martyrs.


A.D. 316. St. Martin of Tours, Bishop.

A.D. 356. St. Antony of Egypt, Abbot.

A.D. 430. St. Augustine of Hippo, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.


A.D. 547. St. Benedict, Abbot.

A.D. 604. St. Gregory, Pope and Doctor of the Church.

A.D. 1153. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Doctor of the Church.

A.D. 1221. St. Dominic, Priest.

A.D. 1226. St. Francis of Assisi.

A.D. 1274. St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church.

A.D. 1380. St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church.


A.D. 1538. St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop.

A.D. 1552. St. Francis Xavier, Priest.

A.D. 1556. St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest.

A.D. 1582. St. Teresa of Avila, Virgin and Doctor of the Church.

A.D. 1591. St. John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church.

A.D. 1597. St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs.

A.D. 1622. St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.


A.D. 1897. St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin.

World War II. St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr.

A.D. 1997. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.


Click on it to see a larger version.

October 29, 2007

St. Bartholomew, pray for us! St. Louis King of France, pray for us! St. Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us!



A good-hearted visitor asks how to contribute to the rebuilding of St. Bartholomew on the Rincon Indian reservation here in San Diego County. St. Bartholomew burned in the fires last week. I suppose one could write a check to the priest who is the pastor for that reservation. Here is his contact information.

Rev. Luke Jauregui
Mission San Antonio de Pala
P.O. Box 70,
Pala, CA 92059-0070

Telephone (760) 742-3317

Three of the brothers and the father of Father Luke all lost their homes in the fires.


San Diego County has eighteen Indian reservations, more than any other county in the U.S.A.

Rincon Reservation of the Luiseño tribe lost its beloved St. Bartholomew Church in the wildfires now. The Luiseño take their name from Mission San Luis Rey. Historically, the smaller churches on the surrounding reservations received their chaplains from Mission San Luis Rey which is two miles east of my monastery.

I have heard that two other reservations nearby also lost their churches.

October 28, 2007



About one hundred and fifty years before the birth of Jesus, the pagan, idol-worshipping Greeks invaded and occupied the nation of Israel.

The Pharisee movement started up to preserve the Israelites, the chosen people of God, from the contamination of the Greek idol worship.

For the people of Israel, the original Pharisees were heroes fiercely loyal to God and country.

Unfortunately, by the time of Christ, some of the Pharisee movement had stiffened into hollow observance and showing off.

About ninety years after the Greeks invaded Israel (therefore, about sixty years before Christ was born) the Romans invaded Israel.

Israelites who worked as tax collectors for Rome forced their fellow Israelites to pay more than the Romans required. That way the tax collector could take in more for himself than the Romans paid him.

A tax collector did to his fellow citizens what Judas Iscariot did to Jesus: betraying their own for money.

In the Gospel of Sunday’s Mass, Jesus tells a parable of a tax collector and a Pharisee who are both praying in a house of God.

I’ve posted a homily for that Gospel.
Click HERE for it.