"Truth Be Told"
What is Truth. Christ and Pilate
Nikolai Ge (1890)
One might think that only news articles, reports, and commentary which faithfully present an accurate and true account of a specific event or topic are helpful for gaining further knowledge. Such articles are of course best for acquiring understanding. However, lately I have found that I learn just as much by reading or listening to reports or commentary which stray from the truth. Similarly, there is a knack to learning from those in the media who oppose your positions or who even display a blatant contempt for your beliefs. The trick is to scrutinize these writers or commentators by catching them in the very act of misrepresentation or contempt for those beliefs. The contrast between what they report you believe and what you actually believe is quite informative.
For an earnest Catholic there is nothing so beneficial to helping him see the light than an erring opinion column presented by a local newspaper offering a hostile perspective toward the Church. For example, our local (regional) newspaper, The Standard Times (S-T), recently penned an editorial (“Our View”) entitled “Pope Francis Promotes Mercy.” Its value to the Catholic reader was not in its effective argumentation or its enlightening conclusions - most of its conclusions were taken from quotations by the president of Catholics for Choice, a group resembling more the National Organization for Woman and Planned Parenthood than anything even remotely Catholic. The contribution of the S-T article existed only in this - that its language and expression were highly illuminating of an increasing trend in today’s media: that it has not even a clue of what it is speaking when it speaks about the Catholic Church and its teaching.
To begin with, the editorial states that the Jubilee Year of Mercy pronounced by Pope Francis extends “gestures of inclusion” to wayward Catholics. Now while you will find “mercy” in the Catholic repertoire, “inclusion” is unfamiliar to catechetical diction. Therefore, it offers no clarification concerning Catholic teaching about mercy. In point of fact, in its dissimilarity to mercy, inclusion has no need to be kind and forgiving. It only need be compelling by insistently lumping all things together, often very different things. Also, unlike mercy inclusion does not require peace and reconciliation. These can be put aside at least for a time, because it is believed that in time they will come about by the mere might of the inclusive act. Mercy on the other hand is voluntary and free and while it never leads to inclusion it does lead to unity, which is far superior.
As an example of how mercy does not require inclusion let us use a brief example from the storytelling of J.R.R. Tolkien that may be applied to the Catholic spiritual life. At the conclusion of The Lord of the Rings trilogy (the book, not the movie) after Saruman (the-wizard-gone-bad) had corrupted the peace of the Shire, but then is finally defeated and captured, some who stood in judgment would have had him killed. Frodo however intervenes and extends mercy to Saruman permitting him to depart. That is to say, he excludes him even in his act of being merciful. To have accepted Saruman in his unrepentant state would have certainly been an act of inclusion, but it would have fallen short in mercy which always has the utmost regard for justice, truth, and peace. In fact, to have included Saruman without proof of his sincere conversion would have been to act unjustly, unfaithfully, and unmercifully toward all the Shire folk.
The S-T opinion piece continues by claiming that Pope Francis “makes accommodations.” Let us respond by stating that we can only hope that this is not the case. The spiritual life is not like the material life where one simply reforms a structure (e.g. marriage) so that all will be accommodated. It is also not like the political life where an agreement emerges that is at least somewhat acceptable to all parties. God does not make accommodations, but God certainly exercises mercy. God listens to our pleas for mercy and dispenses it tenderly as loving Father while exercising his final judgment firmly for knowing the heart of each and every man, as we see so famously in God’s intimate exchange with Abraham over Sodom and Gomorrah (Gn 18:16-33). And we should also be clear that the term “indulgence” (meaning tenderness in Latin) does not imply any accommodation owed to those who set themselves deliberately to indulging in actions which go against the Father’s will.
There are no “reasonable accommodations” in the spiritual life. The only accommodations in the spiritual life are unreasonable as when a man spurns the hot and the cold (the true and the false) to bathe himself in the “lukewarm” (Rev 3:16). This, man does, when he decides for himself that there is no sin and ultimately no need for mercy. This is also the decision, or rather the conclusion, of the opinion piece under examination.
Once again the S-T takes as its own opinion, that of the truant Catholics for Choice whose spokesperson proposes that Catholicism must begin to adjust itself to “the reality of [our] lives” including ecclesial acceptance of abortion. This proposal has at its implication the suggestion that even God must now begin to accommodate, nay, even embrace, his children’s immoral indulgences in contraception and abortion. In response to this idolatrous suggestion we consult with St. Paul who makes it clear that mercy is always a challenge to the human person to change himself, not to change God.
St. Paul declares regarding his own intimate experience: “… I am the foremost of sinners; but I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” (1Tim 1:15-17). What Paul is teaching us is that the mercy of God is the activity of his divine patience for the purpose of the removal of sin and the conversion of sinners, not so that the reality of our lives may be accommodated, but so the reality of God’s life will be manifested.
Ultimately, the title of the S-T article was misleading as its true intent was to promote the idea that the Church plays no vital role in the life of mercy. The essay concludes: "The forgiveness they need comes from themselves." So, once again we end up at the beloved notion of the secular mind: that man is the measure of all things and that in his human condition he needs no Redeemer, because he is quite capable of redeeming himself.
Be in the Presence of Jesus: On Easter Day some of Jesus' disciples who knew of his suffering and death on the cross just two days prior, were walking and talking and probably lamenting over the horrific crucifixion of the person they thought was the Messiah, the Savior of the world. They were on their way to Emmaus, a town some seven miles distant from Jerusalem. The resurrected Jesus caught up with them, "but their eyes were kept from recognizing him." (Lk 24:16) They told Jesus of the great prophet who had been delivered up to death, and that even now his body was not in the tomb where his disciples had laid him. They did not undrstand.
Jesus therefore explained to them all the prophecies concerning the Messiah and how he was to suffer and all the mysteries that related to him and their hearts were "burning" inside them at his words and presence. Then Jesus, "took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight." (Lk 24:30-31).
The Eucharist is an eye-opener! It is in the Eucharist that Catholics most recognize Jesus here on earth. It is important to note that St. Luke in his gospel states that the disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread and not in the "bread" itself. This is because the bread was no longer mere bread but the same Body of Christ that the Lord fed his Apostles at The Last Supper. This post-Easter encounter on the way to Emmaus was a training session in the Real Presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus the physical person vanished, however Jesus the Holy Eucharist remained! It is in the blessing and breaking - the consecration of the bread into the Body of Christ - that the Church was expected to recognize Jesus until his Second Coming.
It takes grace and faith to recognize Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. In the Eucharist, one's eyes are kept from recognizing him, however one's mind and heart and soul burns in recognition. Catholics must pray fervently for this grace and the grace of Adoration, and the best place to do this is before the Lord in the Holy Eucharist.
Come to the parish church of St. Francis Xavier of Acushnet and pray before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It is only in doing so that you will come to greater understanding by being in the Real Presence of Jesus, just as the men on their way to Emmaus recognized Jesus, only after he vanished from their sight, in the Most Holy Eucharist.
Parish Rosary CD is available for $5.00.
Copies are available at the parish office.
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You can click on image and play the Rosary from this site.
Got Evening Prayer? We do! Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening in the parish church beginning at 6:30pm & concluding before 7:00pm. Please look for more information about Evening Prayer under the above home page heading: Parish Life & Liturgy
The church is open for prayer every day. Please call the office at 508 - 995 - 7600 if you require use of our wheel-chair lift.
Parish Blood Drive: We are ready to resume our parish blood drives as of Sunday, October 4th. On that day we will have a large blood donation van on-site in our parking lot to take donations from 7:30am to 1:15pm. Parishioners are asked to sign up as donors at the entrance to the church. Giving blood is a true corporeal work of mercy! Thanks for giving of your very self - FOR LIFE!
Adult Ed is Back! Starting in October. Please see the new schedule listed under the Faith Formation tab on the main menu for a quick listing of dates or click here for a full explanation of all 10 sessions.
October 31st : is the next date of our parish vigil for the 40Days For Life. On this day from 6am to 4pm we will be praying in solidarity for unborn children and their mothers across the street from the last abortion mill in diocesan territory in Attleboro, MA. All parishioners are invited to join us and to take an hour to witness to the sancity of life and to all those who enter or drive by the clinic on that day.
Recent Photo's & Events
May 04, 2014
St. Francis Xavier of Acushnet is a lively parish with many activities and opportunities for worship, prayer, and community. We extend to you an invitation to our parish family in hopes that you may join in our devotions and our reverent celebration of Holy Mass. Please contact us with any questions you have regarding our parish and living a life in the Catholic faith.
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