Thursday, 5 December 2019

Let us imitate the examples set to us by the Holy Fathers

Last night, I chanced upon these words from The Imitation of Christ:
Look upon the lively examples of the holy Fathers in whom shone real perfection and the religious life, and you will see how little it is, and almost nothing that we do. Alas, what is our life when we compare it with theirs? Saints and friends of Christ, they served our Lord in hunger and in thirst, in cold, in nakedness, in labor and in weariness in watching, in fasting, prayers and holy meditations, and in frequent persecutions and reproaches. Oh, how many grievous tribulations did the Apostles suffer and the martyrs and Confessors and Virgins, and all the rest who resolved to follow the steps of Christ! For they hated their lives in this world, that they might keep them in life everlasting. Oh, what a strict and self-renouncing life the holy Fathers of the desert led! What long and grievous temptations did they bear! How often were they harassed by the enemy, what frequent and fervent prayer did they offer up to God, what rigorous abstinence did they practice! 
What a valiant contest waged they to subdue their imperfections! What purity and straight forwardness of purpose kept them towards God! By day they labored, and much of the night they spent in prayer; though while they labored, they were far from leaving off mental prayer, They spent all their time profitably. Every hour seemed short to spend with God; and even their necessary bodily refreshment was forgotten in the great sweetness of contemplation. They renounced all riches, dignities, honor and kindred; they hardly took what was necessary for life. It grieved them to serve the body even in its necesssity. Accordingly, they were poor in earthly things, but very rich in grace and virtues.
In this holy season of Advent, let us seek perfection as the Church Fathers did - and many after them.

A good start towards this end would be to follow the request made by four exorcists in the wake of the Amazonian Synod - to offer up tomorrow, December 6th, as a day of fasting in reparation for the sins committed during that Synod.

More information can be found here.

A blessed Advent to all of our readers.


John Haggerty said...

In this season of Advent it is timely - or timeous - to remember the Church Fathers who walked among us.
The Early Fathers were only removed by a generation or two from the Apostles.

The late Dave Hunt, a good and committed Evangelical, found the Fathers *too Catholic* for his taste. Protestants sometimes do.

After the New Testament, the writings of the Fathers are an antidote to the cancer of wordliness, modernism and carnality which beset Catholicism today, especially within the toxic American hierarchy.

The Fathers encourage us to stand well clear of the snares and blandishments of this evil world.

G.K. Chesterton said the Fathers taught him how to love the world without trusting (or being fooled by) the world.

C.S. Lewis, even before his conversion, said he preferred reading the Fathers to the atheists of his day like Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells.
For Wells and Shaw, substitute Dawkins and Sam Harris in our own time.

It was through reading Cicero that Augustine took up the Scriptures, *so as to see what they are like.*

Initially Augustine preferred Cicero!
Augustine had to mortify his carnality (with the help of his mother's prayers) before he could begin to digest the New Testament.

Cassian said that too deep a love of pagan literature was a hindrance to salvation.
Substitute mass culture and the media for pagan literature, and you recognise the sad fate of many wordly Catholics and Protestants today.

In a letter to the virgin Eustochium, (Saint) Jerome confessed that he was all too enamoured of pagan writers.
Jerome was devoted to Plautus and Cicero.

Turning from classical works to the Scriptures, Jerome said that *their crude way of writing horrified me.*

Then in a dream Jerome saw himself standing before a heavenly tribunal and being told: *You are a Ciceronian, not a Christian; for where your treasure is, there also is your heart.*

Ignatius of Antioch writes of the Word of God coming to us *in silence*; the silence of the Christ child asleep in his mother's arms.

Gregory of Nyssa writes of the Trinity *as a way of holding fast to the unity of the divine nature* as revealed in the Hebrew scriptures, while retaining from the Greeks *only the distinction of hypostaseis* (i.e. the three persons of the Trinity).
This avoided the errors of both Judaism and polytheism.

The Fathers were committed to the transformation of pagan customs.

*The things that we say we have learned from Christ and the prophets who preceded him,* writes Justin Martyr; *and are the ONLY truths, and more ancient than all the writers who have ever lived.*

Ambrose said the Catholic sacraments were more ancient than the synagogue, citing Melchizedek as preceding Moses.

All these and more you'll find in the book *Beginning To Read The Fathers* by Boniface Ramsay, O.P. published 1986.

The Fathers are invaluable in these times of *soft persecution* (to borrow a term from Patrick Craine, managing editor of Life Site News) and when the Vatican under Pope Francis has reinvented itself as the Church of Aquarius.

For faithful Christians the hard persecutions are coming, and as Mr. Craine asked:
Will we be ready to face them as the martyrs did, or will we be too weak and wishy-washy in our faith to be worthy of martyrdom?

See *Chick-fil-A has emboldened the LGBT mob; if you're still defending them, watch this.*
Life Site News 29 November 2019. YouTube.

Augustine's *City of God* ends with a vision of Heaven.
Yet it was written after Alaric's sack of Rome in 410.

As the faith lies in ruins before us, it is time to walk with the Fathers.

J Haggerty said...

Irenaeus: I have just revisited a talk by Father William Jenkins of the Society of Pius V.
It's most instructive, especially in the light of what we can learn from reading the Fathers, and their devotion to Catholic truth.

See *Modernism's Legacy of Perversion.* What Catholics Believe.
4 September 2018. YouTube.

Fr. Jenkins quotes Pope John XXIII's naive remark about Vatican II *letting in the fresh air*.
Then he quotes Pope Paul VI, who said with immense sorrow that, *The smoke of Satan had entered into the church.*

The air that entered the church, and Satan's smoke, were one and the same, says Fr. Jenkins. *And you can smell it now in the abuse of children,* he adds.

Humanistic therapy was introduced into certain religious orders in the USA, including the Jesuits and the Sisters of Mercy.
It was based on the Carl Rogers' theory that *men are essentially good* in complete contradiction of Catholic teaching on original sin.
All this Fr. Jenkins outlines.

Pope Francis' statement *Who am I to judge?* is a legacy of that humanistic therapy culture.
It compels us to consult our own inner nature on moral issues, and not God's sovereign will and commandments.

Modernism's bastard offspring is an altogether new church, with a new man-centred philosophy.
It is not, and can never be, Catholic.

The lost children of Modernism are Bergoglio, Cupich, McElroy, Dolan etc. and all the other goons in our heretical hierarchy.

A member of this depraved hierarchy in Germany is calling for homosexual marriage in Catholic churches!

A house divided against itself cannot stand.
I think we are witnessing the catastrophic collapse of the post-Conciliar anti-church.

Let's all draw close to the Fathers.

J Haggerty said...

Father Boniface Ramsay author of *Beginning To Read The Fathers* warned the Vatican about McCarrick's infatuation with minors as early as 2000.

*Priest says he warned church about Cardinal McCarrick's alleged abuse.*
CBS This Morning. 18 August 2018. YouTube.

*Virtually everyone knew. Priest says he repeatedly complained about Cardinal McCarrick.* YouTube.

We need to see members of the American hierarchy being convicted of sheltering paedophiles, and then going to prison.

In the confines of a penitentiary they can read the Early and Later Fathers, and repent of their evil crimes against little children.

John Haggerty said...

Readers of Toronto Catholic Witness, who are still in doubt about the poison fruit of Modernism, and the disasters of the Novus Ordo, should watch:

*Why They Must Silence Vigano*.
What Catholics Believe. 20 October 2018. YouTube.

Father William Jenkins proves his case.
There has been a putsch, or takeover, of the Church by Modernist-Progressives, as Saint Pius X feared would happen long after his death.

But remember, Team Francis would be happy to see the traditionalists leave the church.
That way, the Modernist blueprint of total destruction can carry on unimpeded.
*A new way of being Catholic in the modern world* really means the death of Catholicism.

Fr. Jenkins, although he belongs to the Society of Pius V, does not want to see this happen.

Fight, fight and fight again, to defeat Modernism.
The Church Fathers are praying in heaven for the restoration of the true Catholic faith.