Friday, January 04, 2008

True Devotion or Idol Worship

Feast of Mary, Mother of God, Father Paul Weinberger, Pastor
St. William the Confessor Catholic Church, Greenville, Texas, January 1, 2008
http://www.semperficatholic.com/


When eight days were completed for His circumcision He was named Jesus, the Name given Him by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen

Yesterday I was listening to 910 AM Radio; you can listen to it during the day; after the sun goes down, forget it unless you have a computer. The man was telling a story that happened to a friend of his, who bought a house and moved into a new neighborhood.

As a new neighbor, he was taking things off the truck and he had a statue of St. Francis that he took to the back yard and placed in the garden. As he continued to unload the truck his neighbor came over and welcomed him. The neighbor identified himself as his next-door neighbor and a “bible Christian.” This neighbor asked the man moving in if he would do him a favor. The new neighbor agreed to do so. The man asked him,

“Would you please take away that idol you have in the back yard?”

The man moving in asked,

“ You mean St. Francis? St. Francis loved all God’s creation, the birds and the flowers etc.”

The neighbor was unmoved and insisted he move the statue. Wanting to be neighborly, the new neighbor said he would move the statue to a place where it would not be seen by his neighbor, the bible Christian.

Some weeks and months passed and as Christmas was approaching, the new neighbor heard the bible Christian making preparations next door. He was making a lot of preparations evidentially because an elaborate platform was produced and had a manger scene complete with donkey, ox, sheep, shepherds, the Three kings, a star and angels. It was very elaborate.

The new neighbor went over to the bible Christian and said,

“This is great; do you do this every year?”

The bible Christian said,

“Oh yes! I have been doing it for years!”

The new neighbor replied,

“Well, I really like your collection of idols!”

When it comes to speaking about the Blessed Virgin Mary, it is amazing how timid Catholics are, and regrettably ignorant of the teachings of the Church concerning Our Lady. Today is not the feast of New Year. The Chinese have a pagan feast called “The Chinese New Year”, but we don’t celebrate the New Year; we celebrate this Solemnity, Mary Mother of God. This Solemnity, Mary the Mother of God used to be the Feast of the Circumcision. You can see that in the last part of the Gospel today, mentioned is the eighth day along with the Circumcision of baby Jesus and that He was given His name; the name that the angel had given Him before He was conceived in the womb.

The Circumcision of Jesus is considered by some to be something we would like to forget, but it was a point of Jewish law and in fact, it still is. You may have sent or received Christmas cards of the Baby Jesus portrayed without a stitch of clothing. In fact, it has only been a recent addition to a crucifix to have a cloth placed around the waist of Jesus for the same reason. You see, you only have to go back as far as the Da Vinci Code when so many so-called non-Catholic Christians and Catholic Christians threw away good money to buy the book or go to the movie, and have their faith unduly tested by what are obvious lies and distortions about Jesus, His mother, and St. Mary Magdalene, just to name a few. How many Catholics participated in making Dan Brown richer? It is to their shame!

It was not long after the Birth of Christ, His Life, Death, and Resurrection, that people began to spread lies about Him. For example, that He really didn’t take flesh from the Blessed Virgin Mary, but rather He appeared to have flesh; kind of like a ghost. If you remember on Easter Sunday evening Jesus addressed His Disciples and Apostles, save St. Thomas, and He mentioned the wounds in His Glorified Body, the wounds of the nails and the wound in His side. Later He would remind them again that a ghost does not have flesh and blood.

The mark of the circumcision shows also that He has flesh and that He doesn’t appear to have flesh. Were He not in fleshed could He be nailed to the Cross later on? This is not a small detail that some would like to assign it, and what the Church teaches and has taught for centuries is that Jesus is True God and True Man. The Church has taught this over 2000 years from the beginning. You have to go no further than the Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians; just look at chapter two, it is not long. In chapter two you will hear these words,

In Christ the fullness of Deity (fullness of God, of Divinity) resides in bodily form. Yours is a share of this fullness of Him, Who is the Head of every principality and power.

How do you have a share? You have a share through Baptism! Christ is True God and True Man and not 50/50. He is 100% God, if you will, and 100% man.

“Well, how is that possible?”

It is called “The Mystery of the Incarnation”, which is what we celebrate at Christmas and this Feast of Mary the Mother of God helps us to understand another aspect of that Mystery. We can understand some things about the mystery but we can never understand it all. In fact, the bishops in Ecumenical Councils as early as 431 in Ephesus declared Mary to be the Mother of God. Again, we can hear our non-Catholic Christian friends saying to us,

“Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk!”

It is like the bible Christian objecting to St. Francis. It is interesting that in the 1200s St. Francis is the one noted to have popularized the Manger scenes. Because people couldn’t go to the holy Land, in a sense the Holy Lady would come to them; a memorial to remember that birth in Bethlehem.

The fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary is called the Mother of God would make some people worry that Catholics have gone overboard. Again, listening to Catholic radio I heard Fr. Corapi say that if Mary is good enough for Jesus she is good enough for him. That statement kind of cuts right through all of that clicking of tongues.

“Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk!”

It is amazing how when someone is clicking their tongue at us we roll up into the fetal position as Catholics and don’t defend the Blessed Virgin Mary or our faith. It is ignorance on our part. But you see... she is the Mother of Jesus and if you merely read St. Luke’s Gospel you find that it is by the Power of the Holy Spirit that she conceived. The Blessed Virgin Mary did not conceive Jesus the way it happened so often among the Greek and Roman gods and goddesses of the fables and myths. The gods would come down and wreak havoc many times, raping along the way and children were conceived. No, the Blessed Virgin Mary was not violated in any way but she consented to be the Mother of God. She consented to be the Mother of Jesus.

“But how can you call her the Mother of God?”

Jesus IS GOD! The Father of Jesus is God the Father; by the Power of the Holy Spirit, and if Mary is the Mother of Jesus she is the Mother of God. I don’t need a blackboard; it is very direct and yet, this Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God is an embarrassment to many Catholics.

St. Leo the Great wrote in the Office yesterday about every Christian through Baptism.

Quote:

Henceforth, he is reckoned to be of the stock, not of his earthly father but of Christ, who became Son of Man precisely that men could become sons of God. For unless in humility he had come down to us, none of us by our own merits could ever go up to Him.



That is very succinct, very direct, and very helpful to us.

Today is a day of resolutions. Resolutions for the New Year usually fail because too much is attempted all at once, so what I am about to promote is to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary in two apparently small and insignificant ways, but to honor Our Lady as Jesus no doubt honored His mother.

I have visited the Missionaries of Charity over the years; they are Blessed Mother Teresa’s sisters, who live among the poorest of the poor. They have nothing in their convent except the bear essentials. Can you imagine four women living in the same two-bedroom house with no mirror? They have no air-conditioning in the summer but they do have heating in the winter; they afford themselves no luxury. I have never been to the Missionaries of Charity when I did not see in front of the statue of Our Lady, a vase with at least one flower in it. They either get a flower from the garden or someone has given them flowers. The vase may hold the same flower from day to day but they change the water daily. The crystal vase is always there in front of the statue of Our Lady.

What mother does not accept flowers from her children with love and joy? I remember taking my mother some weeds that were blooming in the field next to our house. My mother said,

“Oh, uh, awe, thank you!”

Mothers understand that it is a gift from a child; perhaps it is imperfect but it is a gift so it cannot be refused. A flower in front of an image of Our Lady wouldn’t break your leg and it would be something very dear to Our Lady, and I promise you that it will be dear to her Son as well.

The second thing is kind of presumed by the first thing and it is that you have an image of Our Lady in your home and it is venerated, in a place of honor…maybe somewhere near the TV, the highest of honors, right?

Father is being facetious

I remember being taught something at one of the processions we had for Our Lady of Guadalupe. Over the years we have had these processions and at the end the people would come up to the image of Our lady of Guadalupe and with great tenderness would reach out to touch the folded hands of Our Lady. I noticed they were all touching the same place. I am sorry ladies; I am a man so it took me a while to figure out what they were doing, which was reaching up and attempting to hold the hand of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

So this is the other thing, the other “baby step” if you will. At least one time a day and without anyone else in the room if you so choose, reach up and tenderly touch the hands of Our Lady. No, it is not tag, and if you have boys make sure that the image is nailed down or tacked on the wall because it will end up on the floor. They will say they don’t know how that happened. I was a boy so I know how these things can happen.

We have to begin with baby steps. St. Louis de Montfort, who was much prized by both Pope John Paul II and Blessed Mother Teresa, wrote “True Devotion to Mary.” False devotion to Mary…I have not time for it! True devotion, YES! St. Louis de Montfort wrote in his True Devotion to Mary in paragraph 36,

Quote:

When the Holy Spirit, her spouse, finds Mary in a soul, he hastens there and enters fully into it. He gives himself generously to that soul according to the place it has given to his spouse. One of the main reasons why the Holy Spirit does not work striking wonders in souls is that he fails to find in them a sufficiently close union with his faithful and inseparable spouse.



These resolutions will serve us “now and at the hour of our death, Amen”, as we say in the Hail Mary.

When eight days were completed for His circumcision He was named Jesus, the Name given Him by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

Amen

Announcement to the parishioners of St. William, the Confessor:

After offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on the Solemnity of the Mother of God, Fr. Paul recited, along with the congregation, the Prayer to St. Michael for an end to abortion, then moved to the lectern to make an announcement, which was as follows.

Today is January 1st and I need to make an apology to you but more importantly to Our Lady and Our Lord. On January 10th I will be finishing four years here as Pastor of St. William’s so I am speaking to my parishioners as Pastor. If you are a visitor, welcome! I mentioned in my homily, True Devotion to Mary and false devotion to Mary. I ask apology of you, Our Lady and her Son, Jesus Christ.

Over the last four years I have not spoken out, either by cowardice or sloth, often enough about the false devotion to our Lady under the title “Lady of Medjugorje”. There is no such person. I went once to visit a man, who was dying and as he was dying I gave him the Last Sacraments and then he asked me to bless his room. He had religious pictures around his room and there was a picture of this “thing”, which is called “Lady of Medjugorje.” It is not the Blessed Virgin Mary. I told the man I wouldn’t bless the room until he did something with that image.

The next day I arrived to bless the room and he had glued a picture of his dog over the other image. I said, “Well, that is very fitting.”

If you have statues or pictures of this image and you do not wish to discard them, bring them to me and I will see that they are destroyed. You know for a fact that I am not against statues. (Father turns and points to the statues around the Altar.) I think we can safely say that.

When I was assigned to my first parish as a young priest, just a half mile down the road there was a woman that said Our Lady was appearing on the bark of her tree. I never went down to see it until we were ordered to go by the bishop, Bishop Thomas Tschoepe. I went once and that was it; of course everyone else had to pay admission. In the background you could hear, “cha-ching cha-ching.”

I am telling you this because if you have any kind of devotion, book, statue, or anything connected with Our Lady of Medjugorje, she doesn’t exist. The bishop of that place has written about it extensively, the Bishop of Mostar, and so I am telling you as your Pastor to cease and desist if you have any of that. Perhaps you have done this through misguidance or perhaps I haven’t mentioned it enough. It has been very rare that I have done it, but I thought how fitting on this Feast Day, Feast of Mary the Mother of God, that True Devotion to Mary should only be promoted.

Please do not give me stories about how your rosary was silver and then turned to gold or even how so many miracles have happened by going and visiting there. Sure, God can write straight with a crooked line. Miracles happened at Auschwitz during World War II, but we don’t promote Auschwitz to be proliferated around the world.

Again, all of this is based on the fact that, as your Pastor…and I am only speaking to you, my parishioners, as your pastor I have to promote True Devotion to Mary and these false apparitions for my parishioners can lead you astray like that man, who was getting ready for death. I didn’t want him turning to a false apparition and being led astray.

To listen to the above sermon see below:



Feast of Mary, Mother of God and an Announcement

PLEASE LISTEN TO THE ANNOUNCEMENT AFTER THE PRAYER TO SAINT MICHAEL...The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, #495 Called in the Gospels "the Mother of Jesus," Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the mother of my Lord." In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God".




LISTEN

For those who have never read True Devotion to Mary by Saint Louis de Montfort, you can access it online free.

http://www.semperficatholic.com/





Editing Medjugorje Messages

Spirit Daily, Michael Brown’s Medjugorje web site posted a message board conversation where Medjugorje followers were arguing over the different English translations of the messages. It came to light that some alterations were made by the Medjugorje parish priests. Folks were upset.

http://www.medjugorje-online.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6293

By the time I had a chance to read the above, Michael Brown removed it and the message board. One follower claimed to be in contact with a Medjugorje insider, someone very close to the visionaries. This Insider told him or her that the last Medjugorje message really contained a phrase that said "Time is running out," while the official message said something totally different. Also, it claimed that Our Lady said "Thank you for responding to my call," three times, instead of once. There was also something about Our Lady being with us "a little longer," to comfort us through the holidays? None of these were in the published message. The poster said the Parish edited it. People got a little upset. Some attributed the huge difference to the difficulty in translating the message to English. Others remarked that, though translation is difficult, it was shocking that the original message and the published one were so "starkly" different, as one poster put it.

Then there was some back and forth discussion about contacting the visionaries and asking them to post on the board. One poster said that they would not be allowed to do so. The "time is running out" phrase spurred some discussion of the coming "great sign." One poster said she was planning to use the Sign as proof of God's existence to convert her Atheist friends. (It's sad that people are doing this. God will not prove His existence. If he did, there would be no faith).

The topic is back online, closed to responses this time. It's linked here:

http://www.medjugorje-online.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6293

Editing is not new. See: http://www.unitypublishing.com/newswire/compose.html

Emails:

Happy new year to you and to your loved ones!

Hi Rick, I have read your latest newsletter and believe is very good. On the last paragraph where you mentioned about the editing of the Medjugorje messages I can tell you that it is true. I have browse around through that site and you are right, they had a mess by having posted a different translation of the message you’ve mentioned.

Not only but if you go on that very site you will find that the administrator has deleted the version of the message given to him by his friend and changed it with the version from the parish. He explains that in the web site as well. But before changing the versions he had stated that his own version was the original one from the seer and that the parish had edited theirs but later he decided to keep the one from the parish rather than his version. (?) I wonder how many versions of those thousands of messages have had been edited to suit the Catholic eye of theologians?

They go to the extremes that one has posted a thread trying to fix the mess that this had created by giving a vague explanation of it in that site.

As I have been browsing these issue, another issue caught my eye in the same Medjugorje online forum site. A thread was made with a question regarding Vicka the seer having an interview on the internet which is said that she was told by the supposed apparition of Mary that unborn babies who are killed by abortion become angels in heaven. The issue got heated and a few intercepted this heresy and wrote against it. This made the administrator come into the thread and leave a disturbing argument. He agreed with what the seer was saying and he also noted that he did not know about the issue. Rather than confirming the teachings of the Church he let this one pass. But, there were more threads after his, and one of them really confronted this heresy by stating that it was absurd to accept the idea that the aborted babies became angels in heaven. A person also mentioned that issues like this are the issues that give ammunition to anti-Medjugorjeans to attack followers.

All of the sudden, the entire thread got deleted from the forum. (?) The administrator made a choice to delete it ,and I don’t really know why, but I think that it was the last comment in the above paragraph that made him/her do it, otherwise he would had done it before that comment because if it were to defend the Church from heresies such as that one, he would had deleted it or correct the heresy after the first post and he did not. In fact, he agreed with it.

It is amazing how many innocent people who go to that site are being indoctrinated the wrong way just to keep Medjugorje alive. This particular site hates Unity Publishing. They attack the authority of the bishops and especially Bishop Peric’s. It is filled with people who don’t like to question the truth ,so that they don’t find the real truth about Medjugorje. The site does not welcome people who speak the truth.

Best regards,

http://www.medjugorje.ws/en/articles/video/vicka-her-story/?page=11



Since believers so often claim the miracles and the conversions because of Medjugorje, I think the following answer is an EXCELLENT one! :>)

A Parish priest gives a sermon on the false devotion to Mary, so, talking about Medjugorje, he says:

"Please do not give me stories about how your rosary was silver and then turned to gold or even how so many miracles have happened by going and visiting there. Sure, God can write straight with a crooked line. Miracles happened at Auschwitz during World War II, but we don’t promote Auschwitz to be proliferated around the world."

We have to remember that one:>)

Hi, Rick,

Great article. You've inspired me to read True Devotion after I get done with St. Louis' The Secret of the Rosary.

In regards to the whole Medjuorje thing about aborted babies becoming angels.......I agree, its complete nonsense. Our Lady, I don't think, would EVER say something as ridiculous as that.



Wow - great stuff! I wish our Pastor would set the record straight like that. There is so much bad information floating around down here about Medjugorje (and Garabandal). Some of the most devout, holy people I know are caught up in it all.

And I just recently talked to a woman who told me about Luisa P. and the Divine Will. She is very convinced that it is all real and she has read many of the "volumes". I had never heard of it before, but it sounded strange to me, so I looked it up on your site and got the facts. Thank you. This poor woman is now suffering from severe depression.

Off the subject, I have a question for you. I have a rosary which I really treasure that my friend brought me from Fatima when she went there on pilgrimage. I have been saying the rosary just about every day for almost a year (?) now, and a few months ago through the grace of God, I got a very good understanding of how powerful a weapon the rosary is.

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