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March 22, 2017

Note from the Assistant Editor:

As Catholics, we have not chosen an easy life (as you Lentenly refrain from that after-dinner piece of chocolate, I need hardly remind you!).  The fire of the Faith burns — but "makes things bright and pure and free and grand."  See "Christ the Burning Fire."

Below, we reproduce the introduction and first chapter of Fr. George Rutler's "Hints of Heaven The Parables of Christ and What They Mean for You."  The introduction is a thrilling picture of the simple sublimity of the stories of Christ, and the first chapter, which discusses the parable of the sower and the seed, is an edifying example.  The Sower desires "that we reform our own hearts to better receive the seed of grace."

"If We Are Not Just Animals, What Are We?" asks Roger Scruton.  We are rational animals; we are made in the image and likeness of God; we have bodies, souls, intellects, and free will.  We are each at the centre of our own universe — and so is everybody else.  "We meet one another I to I."

Tolkien once wrote a letter to his son Michael in which he said that men are not instinctively monogamous, and are so only through constant struggle and self-denial.  "Acting well by the women in their life will always be an arduous task," writes John Cuddeback.  "To have to work hard to 'win' their way into relationships is a fitting preparation."  He tells us "How to Treat a Lady: Reclaiming Manners between Men and Women," below.

"Choices Have Consequences," writes Msgr.  Charles Pope.  This is the message Lent presents to us: "Either we choose God and His kingdom, and then reflect that choice in all of our smaller decisions, or we do not."

If you have ever wondered why the Catholic Church condemns membership in the Masons, indeed decrees excommunication for any Catholic who joins the Masons, Sandra Miesel gives a great explanation.  In short: "Their principles have always been regarded as irreconcilable with the Church's doctrine."  See "Freemasons and Their Craft: What Catholics Should Know."

Finally, please donate!  It fulfills the Lenten call to give alms and helps us continue to bring you the best of the web.  Just click here. - Meaghen Hale

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"Reason itself is a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all." - G.K. Chesterton

New Resources

Christ the Burning Fire - Pope Benedict XVI - God and the World

When Jesus talks about fire, he means in the first place his own Passion, which was a Passion of love and was therefore a fire; the new burning bush, which burns and is not consumed; a fire that is to be handed on.

Introduction and Chapter One - Father George Rutler - from Hints of Heaven The Parables of Christ and What They Mean for You

I am aware that no man can match the Man who spoke the parables, and so to reflect on them requires a more profound consideration and a deeper decibel than commentary on ordinary literature.

If We Are Not Just Animals, What Are We? - Roger Scruton - New York Times

Philosophers and theologians in the Christian tradition have regarded human beings as distinguished from the other animals by the presence within them of a divine spark.

How to Treat a Lady: Reclaiming Manners between Men and Women - John A. Cuddeback - The Catholic Gentleman

The crisis today in the relationships of men and women is multi-faceted.

The Miracle of Saint Turibius - Elizabeth Lev - Magnificat

Outside of Latin America, not many people today know of Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo, yet he played a crucial role in forming the global Church.

Choices Have Consequences - Monsignor Charles Pope - Archdiocese of Washington

The themes of early Lent are pretty basic.

Freemasons and Their Craft: What Catholics Should Know - Sandra Miesel - Catholic World Report

To see why the Catholic Church has strongly and repeatedly condemned membership in Freemasonry or any of its allied movements requires a glance at Masonic teachings and history.

Understanding the jihadi mind (I hope this column isn't Islamophobic) - Barbara Kay - National Post

M-103 is a motion before (the Canadian) Parliament that seeks to condemn (undefined) "Islamophobia" as a phenomenon distinct from hatred directed at individual members of all minorities.

Only in Wonderland - Father George W. Rutler - From the Pastor

In an age of moral confusion, there are those who would suggest that the word "not" has been interpolated in several of the Commandments.

3rd Sunday of Lent - Father John Horgan - CERC

In the old testament, any story that involves a well and a man and a woman has to do with a wedding.

Editorials of Interest:

Assessing Francis - First Things
The Amazon Indult? - Catholic World Report
The Story of Lamiya Haji Bashar - The Online Citizen
Pain: A Path Leading to Virtue - Pelican's Breast
A Lesson on Sex — from Dante - The Catholic Thing

Editorials of Interest

Pope Francis: Love begins with God - CNA

"It is important to remember that love is a grace, the fruit of our saving encounter with God's own love."

Assessing Francis - First Things

Now that Francis is engulfed in controversies that once seemed unimaginable, given the serene days of his early papacy, prayers for Francis are more needed than ever. So too are fair and accurate presentations of his pontificate.

Lectio Divina for the Third Sunday of Lent - USCCB

Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

A powerful Lenten reflection from Blessed John Henry Newman: "Behold the Man" - Aleteia

"O my God, how can I look you in the face when I think of my ingratitude, so deeply seated, so habitual, so immovable — or rather so awfully increasing!"

The Amazon Indult? - Catholic World Report

For the sake of argument, let's say that an indult were granted to the beleaguered bishops of the Amazon, can one suppose that it will end there? History teaches otherwise.

Evangelizing through the Good - Word on Fire

Moral rectitude, the concrete living out of the Christian way, especially when it is done in an heroic manner, can move even the most hardened unbeliever to faith, and the truth of this principle has been proven again and again over the centuries.

Priest's Moving Letter to Woman in Vile "Aborting Jesus" Protest Goes Viral - ChurchPOP

"That blood you represented with contempt is your hope, our hope. Because Jesus shed it for your sins and mine. For where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more."

The Story of Lamiya Haji Bashar - The Online Citizen

Brave Yazidi teenager Lamiya Haji Bashar was kidnapped by jihadis and sold into sexual slavery before being injured in an explosion as she made a daring dash for freedom.

Neil Gorsuch, Natural Law, and the Limits of Judicial Power - Public Discourse

What does natural law say about the power of judges in constitutional systems of government?

Is there psychological evidence for Original Sin? - Aleteia

A study from the behavioral science journal Motivation and Emotion recently made headlines. In it, psychologists "discovered" something every Sunday school kid knows: that original sin exists.

Let's get angry — just like Jesus! - Aleteia

Righteous anger is an expression of hope, courage, and love.

Pain: A Path Leading to Virtue - Pelican's Breast

While the process of growing in virtue — especially in the virtue of justice — may be painful or uncomfortable, I firmly believe that it should not be avoided.

Seeking God During Suffering - Catholic Stand

Suffering and difficulty are guaranteed in life, including suffering in our relationships. Even Jesus faced rejection.

A Lesson on Sex — from Dante - The Catholic Thing

Lust turns one of our prime human qualities — our spontaneous affections towards other people — into a tool for diverting us from our high calling as human persons.

Chastity, Communion, Heaven and Hell - Crisis Magazine

Chastity's redemption lies in the redemption of sexuality itself. Only with sexuality not defined by desire, will we then see that chastity fulfills its true meaning and restores every child's right to life and love.

The Pope's First Four Years - National Post

Pope Francis marked his fourth anniversary as pope on Monday. Four years is not long enough to make a definitive judgment, but it is long enough to evaluate the shape and texture of a pontificate.

How to say goodbye to someone you love when you don't want to - Aleteia

How can we prepare ourselves to lose a loved one? By living with profound detachment, knowing that everyone we love is merely lent to us, and by saying goodbye with gratitude for the time we've shared.

The Mysterious, Surprising, and Joyful Work of the Novelist - Catholic World Report

"As with all Christian art, the writer's calling is to make visible what is invisible," says novelist and iconographer Michael O'Brien, "but in such a way that the reader experiences wonder and reverence for Being itself."

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman and
St. Justin Martyr, pray for us

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