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Nov 122017
 

Today’s Gospel is the famous story of the wise and foolish virgins. It comes to us at a time in the liturgical year in which we focus on the second coming of Christ and the question given to us in the readings at this time is: Are you ready to meet Christ when He comes?

What  we will read over the next several weeks is all about being ready to encounter Christ. The “being ready” refers to His second coming but it also can refer to our own judgement at the end of our own lives. Are we ready to meet Christ if we were to stand in front of Him tomorrow? Putting it another way, it does not matter whether He comes here or we go there, what matters is whether or not we are ready to meet Him.

This particular reading has an interesting focus in it because unlike others, the crux is that the groom’s arrival is delayed. This is a common theme in much Biblical and other Catholic literature: the delayed coming of the Lord.

But we have to remember some things about Christ and His coming The first thing is that Christ reminds us that the Kingdom of God is within. It is not about just believing in the existence of God, after all the devil believes in God better than you do and he can quote scripture and church teaching better than the greatest theologian.  it is about our relationship with God transforming us from within and that transformation then is reflected in how live as an external sign of that internal transformation.

However, if there is no internal transformation there will be no external sign. Again, the devil believes, but he rejects any relationship with Christ and therefore his belief is mute.

This brings us to the Gospel reading. We have two groups of virgins, the wise and the foolish. Remember, the key to living our faith is being immersed in the wisdom of God, as we see in the first reading. So the fruit of our relationship is the wisdom of God and if there is no such fruit then we have at best a superficial relationship.

A study of many of the saints who commented on this reading such as St. John Chrysostom, St. Jerome and St. Augustine all indicated that the meaning of the oil for the lamps was good works that we do in response to our relationship with Christ. In other words, as I say above it is the relationship that is key that transforms us.

But notice the key element in this is light and light is always the wisdom of God. It is when darkness abounds that light shines more brightly. Darkness is always representative of those who do not have God’s wisdom. So what we see here is two groups those represented by having oil in the their lamps and their lamps were burning brightly and those represented by not having oil for their lamps and had no light when darkness came.

This is the question pointed to you. Do you believe in God? That really does not mean anything. I can show you scientifically how lack of belief makes no logical sense. But, does your relationship with God transform you and conform you to do his will? Are you a different person because you embrace Christ, or are you just like you would be except that you believe in Christ as you may believe in Thomas Paine. Don’t laugh, there are churches built on that exact idea.

Notice the defining point at the end, the wise virgins go to the wedding feast, the foolish do not. They are locked out and the words that the groom says to them is that I never knew you.

Those who obey the commandments who do not also do the will of God are the ones that Jesus condemns. They do not kill, they do not steal but they treat others as inferior beings and dismiss them from their lives. They do nothing that leads others to know the power of the wisdom of God, the light of Christ in their lives. That is because their superficial understanding of God prevents them from understanding God’s wisdom. This is what the saints explain is the defining point.

You do not have to believe in God to consider murder wrong. But are you able to treat the homeless, the criminal, the mentally ill in a way that is different than the atheist does because you believe in God. Do you see an unborn child as just as human as anyone sitting next to you? How about the severely mentally handicapped. What about the neighbor who has no one to clear his or her snow covered driveway. This includes that grouchy neighbor who no one likes and all ignore.

The people to whom Jesus speaks  believe, they follow the commandments and they attend synagogue, but, then they go home and act like everyone else. These are represented by the foolish virgins.

A line that is commonly used and attributed to legions of leaders: “There is never a traffic jam on the extra mile,” We must treat others as we would want to be treated. This, Jesus reminds us, sums up the law and prophets. Allow ourselves to see Christ in others and to treat them as Christ would want them to be treated. In order to do that, you need to go beyond the extra mile.

Let me give you an example. People often are expressing some real concern about the way our world and our country is going. It seems to be going down an ominous path. What leads us down this path? Rejecting the ways of Christ. How do we fight the effects this path? We fight evil by doing the good that Christ calls us to do. We do not fight evil by doing a counter form of evil but by doing good as servants of Christ. So what is it that we as Catholics must do if we are to be the lights of wisdom that Christ calls us to be?

We need to be in daily prayer, minimum weekly mass attendance, to know our scriptures well and to live the faith in treating others as Christ wants them to be treated.  We need to be lights to others. Then when we encounter Christ face to face, He will welcome us as good and faithful servants.

 Posted by at 01:01
Nov 062017
 

Photo: Daniel Mafra / cancaonova.com

It takes discipline to revise and organize the inner life
It is important to return to discipline and organization, from the minimums to the great things that surround our life.

The Canção Nova, in its path of permanent formation, follows this theme: “Discipline breeds saints, but without discipline there is no holiness” (Dom Gambino). To celebrate this grace is to celebrate life, to make each hour meaningful, to fill the months and minutes with senses that go beyond routine and sameness.

We want to make a way back to our origins, to regain the ardor, to rekindle the encounter with Jesus, Lord of our history. To return to life with God, principle of our whole life; to return to community life and return to the origins of the path of discipline.

 

Organization and discipline

For discipline to take place, there must be organization. Thus, we begin by defining what comes to be discipline: “Regime of order imposed or even consented. Order that is appropriate for the proper functioning of an organization. Subordination relationships of the student to the teacher. Submission to a regulation “(Aurélio Dictionary).

We need to review our life, organize it in every way: in God, in our work, our interior and our home. In short, it is necessary to begin with this resumption of organization, from the minimums to the great things that surround our life.

Monsignor Jonas Abib teaches us that in our life nothing should be stuck. We can not end our day without being reconciled to God, to ourselves and our brothers. He also tells us that the week has a special day, which helps us to review ourselves, the Lord’s Day, the Sunday.

We can not carry rubble from week to week. God gives us the grace to revise our lives, to review that which, in our walk, was not good during the week. Let us review our difficulties, our growth and relationship with God and with others. Review where we are in our spiritual life.

 

Review of life, intimacy with the Lord

The review of life leads us to a greater intimacy with the Lord and calms our agitated interior. It makes us realize the action of Divine Providence in our lives and constitutes orientation for our apostolate. The Second Vatican Council points out that the Church is in the world, neither outside nor separated from it, she urges Christians not to withdraw from the struggle of everyday life, but to discern the signs of the times, to collaborate with all in the construction of a world more human and to look at the world with the eyes of God.

Finally, the revision of life is the Christian reflection carried out with the purpose of acquiring the daily vision in tune with the look that the Father contemplates the world, with a view to the realization of His project of salvation. It is a look of living faith that reaffirms the value of our lives in the eyes of God and reveals the divine call within everyday events. God is in everything and has control of all things in His hands.

Do you want to do your life review?

Canção Nova

 Posted by at 01:01
Nov 032017
 

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Vatican Council I in 1870 formally defined the infallibility of the Pope, although the Church has firmly trusted in that fact since the beginning:

“‘Faithful to the tradition passed on since the beginning of Christian faith, We declare and define as dogma of faith of Divine Revelation that, when speaking “ex-cathedra”, i.e. when performing His munus of Shepherd and Doctor of all Christians, the Roman Pontiff defines, with his supreme Apostolic authority, the doctrine on faith and morals in which the Universal Church must believe, because due to Divine Assistance promised to Him in the person of the blessed Peter, the Pope has received the infallibility that the Divine Redeemer granted to His Church, that enables the Roman Pontiff to define articles of faith and morals concerning the doctrine; and that therefore the definitions of the Supreme Roman Pontiff are irrevocable in themselves and not due to the consensus of the Church” (De Ecclesia Christi, Chapter IV).

Vatican Council II, almost a hundred years later. Re-affirmed that same dogma, by declaring that:

“And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith, by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals. And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment. For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charisma of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith” (Lumen Gentium # 25).

It is important to have in mind that no Papal definition is made on a hasty decision: it takes many years of study, analysis and prayer. Papal definitions are the outcome of a very slow process, during which a piece of truth inside the depositary of Revelation becomes gradually “visible” to the hierarchy of the Church and to God’s people. Papal definitions are just explicit proclamations of a truth that had not yet been clearly realized or defined before but that have belonged to the Depositary of Faith since the beginning of times.

Sometimes the Ministry of the Church proclaims an article of faith due to new heresies that contradict some piece of truth generally accepted by the Church since the beginning, which that had not been explicitly worded before. Therefore, definitions “ex-cathedra” proclaimed by the Pope are rare. The common Ministry of the Church is responsibility of the Bishops, when they teach the people in communion with the Pope: that is the normal way the Church uses to teach God’s people. In order to belong to the Depositary of Faith, a piece of truth does not necessarily have to be formally defined by Peter’s Successor: an article of truth is something that has always been generally accepted and followed by Christians since the beginning of the Church. It is a millennial piece of wisdom that belongs to the Tradition of the Church and it is not always formally expressed in documents, but generally adopted by God’s People. Saint Vincent of Lerins (died on 450 A.D.), affirmed that:

“Articles of faith believed by everybody everywhere are truly Catholic per se” (Communitorium).

Papal definitions must meet three pre-requisites to be considered a dogma, i.e. “an infallible decision”:

  1. The Pope must speak “ex-cathedra”, i.e. “in a decisive final way”, in the quality of Shepherd and Doctor of all Christians, and not only in private individual character. The Supreme Pontiff is not obliged to listen to any Council or anyone, though he can do it and actually does it most of the times.
  2. The Pope must define exclusively articles of faith and morals, i.e. it must be a matter of Christian behavior or faith.
  3. The Supreme Pontiff must be willing to proclaim a definite irrevocable immutable sentence about the matter.

Professor Felipe Aquino

 

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
Oct 172017
 

A malefice (aka curse) will always be a mode of contact with the Devil.

“Someone made a curse against me what should I do? First, we need to define what a malefice or a curse is 
Regardless of the name applied here, the meaning does not change, and I will cite what Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori says in his Theologia Moralis:
“Malefiction is the power to do evil to others, thanks to a covenant and with the help of the demons.”
Father Gabriele Amorth says that the word Malefice itself is a generic word, but it is always the term that one uses when one person seeks the devil to harm another.

In general, malicious effects are performed using certain types of objects, rituals and animal sacrifices.There are many reasons why people seek out a sorcerer, etc to do evil and cast the devil on a particular person or situation. The reasons are the most diverse: To cause some kind of division and separation in marriage or affective relationship; to help in a loving relationship, to cause some people to become ill or to be healed, curses of death, Ill-effects for someone for something to go wrong in their business; curses that affect one psychologically or bring spiritual disturbances to a person … And then I could describe several more things … In fact the name of malefice is directly linked to the intention of the person to ask for that evil.

The materials used depend a lot on the intention for which the person is doing that Malice, but in general they are: Hair, nails, person’s clothes, photographs, some personal object of the person, alcoholic beverages, animal viscera, dead animals, blood, candles , dolls representing the person, blood, cigars, cigarettes and many other things …

The first important thing to know is that a Malefiction will only work against a person if God allows it.
Yet it is possible that a curse has an effect on the life of a person, or on the situations for which the Malefice was commissioned.
This is really a mystery … But in the vast majority of times the virus only has its effect for those who are living a life outside the grace of God …

The second thing is that: He who uses the devil, or sorcerer, and also the one who commissioned the devil, will always be the first to be harmed by the devil. In general, these are directly harmed by some sort of diabolical influence, obsessive and compulsive temptations, vices in general, and physical ailments.

The third thing that I think it is fundamental to know: There is no way to prove that someone did or did not do a curse for someone else. Even if you think it was your neighbor, your mother-in-law, someone from your job who does not like you and things like that … That would be a mistake and a terrible mistake to pursue that line of thinking or to assume that to be true. 

The Devil likes to cause divisions in this sense, making people think that others have done some kind of evil for a certain reason.
And in that moment this does not really matter!

So what if you suspect you’ve been so bullied?

Use exactly the logic contrary to the malefice. If the curse is using the devil to do evil; you must draw close to God so that He, the SUPREME GOOD, can act in your life, breaking and overcoming all the Devil’s action.

You need to cultivate and create a life of more intimacy with God, be more faithful in prayer, being more with Him. Not because you want to get rid of the evil that one did, but because He is God and thus you need to experience Him in your daily life. 
Therefore, I always advise people who write to me symptoms of spiritual problems, and who actually appear to be suffering something spiritual, to begin a path in God and to God.

Firstly, seek repentance of your sins and seek a Priest to make a good confession … Then the most important thing is the Holy Mass on Sundays and whenever possible on weekdays. Pray the Holy Rosary, fast and do penance.  Every day read and meditate on the Word of God for a few minutes. It is important to look for small moments of worship in a church or a chapel if possible, this is very important when it comes to a process of liberation.

Find a Prayer Group in which you can participate weekly, this will help you grow in your spirituality.

If you or someone you know is being affected directly by this curse. . . you can do all that I have recommended above, seek a Priest or a good Ministry of Deliverance through a priest, so you can be followed more closely.

But there are no magic formulas in Christianity, that by fulfilling certain “rituals” and certain things you will be forever free from Evil. In Christianity there is a love relationship of a Father to us his children, and this love needs to be cultivated and empowered by us …

The more we are of God, the more are consistent in our prayer and devotions, the more we exercise works of charity; the harder will it be for any evil action to come upon us.

All of us will always be tempted, sometimes stronger temptations, sometimes less strong … But this is the “routine” action of the Devil and not even Jesus was preserved from this …

But of any kind of other actions coming from malefices and curses and such; surely these are dealt  enough with a life in God!

God bless you!
Danilo Gestaldo

 Posted by at 01:01
Sep 202017
 

God seeks true worshipers

Being a worshiper is something that requires so much fidelity, so much dedication, so much consecration that, sadly, there are few worshipers and even less true worshipers. “The spirit of the Lord rests upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me; he sent me to carry the glad tidings to the humble, to heal the sorrowful hearts, to proclaim redemption to the captives , and to the prisoners to liberty “(Isaiah 61: 1). The Spirit of the Lord rests upon us to do the same thing as the Holy Spirit did there at the beginning of creation, where everything was chaos; and as he landed there, He broughtpeace, and beauty. Where death was, life reigned. Creation emerged from there.

Photo: Daniel Mafra / cancaonova.com
Often, we are in chaos and we live in this chaos, because we are human creatures made of clay. We are not yet the image and likeness of God. We are all being made still in the image and likeness of God, we are coming out of chaos to become God’s image and likeness. Our life is a time of transformation, and this brings suffering. Each of us has a part, and even in God’s design, each one of us is part of it.

You are unique and God is acting just for this, to make you unique, because only He knows how you are. We are so foolish, we want to be what we think we are, and worse, we want to be equal to everyone. God wants to make us the part he needs, it is no use to want to be like the others, we have to be the one that God wants us to be. For this piece to be formed, much suffering is needed.

The great truth is that as the Spirit hovered over that chaos, in the beginning, now also He hovers over us, for our work is not finished. We ask God to walk with us, but we are so ignorant that we do not even know which is the way. God is so merciful that He invites us to walk with Him, because He is the way. Faced with what the Word is telling us, the Lord requires, within us, an unconditional surrender. His will is not like our will, God’s will is the best for us. It was he who created us, it was not us who created us. It was He who loved us, and because He loved us, He chose us, He made us come to life and He made us unique. The Lord knows who we are and where we should go, where we will be placed. So, the smartest thing is to surrender unconditionally to Him. As Mary said, let’s also say, “Let Me be made according to Your word.” So that the Word may become flesh in us and from there, the Word may dwell among us.

God bless you!

Your brother,

Monsignor Jonas Abib
Founder of the Canção Nova Community

Sep 152017
 

Saint Peter's Square from the dome v2.jpg
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=166810

Saint Irenaeus (dead 202 A.D.) has been teaching us where to find God’s Truth since the Second Century of existence of the Church:

 

“Being our trials of such big proportions, it is vain to look for the Truth elsewhere if you can easily find it in the Church, for the Apostles deposited the plenitude of the Truth in the Church, like in a rich big barn, so that everyone who yearns for the Truth can drink from the Source of Life in the Church. In Her you shall find the open door to Life; all other pathways are full of thieves and way layers. That is the reason why it is necessary to avoid these dangerous paths and to love dearly everything that belongs to the Church, thus keeping the sound heritage of the Truth (Against the heresies, book III, 1, 1-2, 1-3; 4-1).

 

Saint Irenaeus fiercely combated the Gnostic heretics. He often talked about the misfortune of those who forsake the Church:

“The preaching of the Church is firm and solid from all standpoints; it never changes and has the benefit of the testimony of Prophets, Apostles and Disciples. Their testimony comprehends beginning, middle and end, in other words, the totality of God’s economy and action, the foundation of our faith, which infallibly targets human salvation. That is the reason why we keep with zeal and care the faith we received from the Church, like a most precious treasure deposited in a most exquisite vessel. Under the influx of the Holy Spirit of God, this faith is incessantly renewed and incessantly renews its containing vessel.  For as the Divine breath was entrusted to the moulded clay, the same way “God’s Gift” (John 4, 10) was entrusted to the Church so that all Her members could share it and be revivified by this Gift. God put the communion with the Christ in the hands of the Church, in other words, God gave the Holy Spirit to the Church, a guarantee of incorruptibility, confirmation of our faith and the stairway of our ascension towards God:  ‘Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then, gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues’ (The First Letter to the Corinthians 12, 28). The Church received from God everything She needs to co-operate with the action of the Holy Spirit. Those who refuse to join the Church are excluding themselves from the Holy Spirit and thus blocking real Life to nourish them through their false doctrines and depraved actions. For where the Church is, the Spirit of God is there as well and where the Spirit of God is, the Church and all the grace are there as well. Indeed, the Spirit is also the Truth. Consequently, those who do not participate in it are not being nourished and vivified by the breast of the Mother; those who cannot drink from the pure Source that springs from the Body of Christ ‘have dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that hold no water’ (Jeremiah 2, 13); they dig holes on the ground and they drink polluted water from the swamps.  They run away from the Church because they fear being unmasked and they reject the Spirit because they do not want to be instructed. They have become strangers to the Truth and therefore they are doomed to thrust themselves into all kinds of mistake: their mistakes will cause their downfall. They make the fatal mistake of having a different idea at each new moment about major issues and they lack a solid unchangeable doctrine. Rather than Disciples of the truth, they are sophists of words. They did not build their foundations on the Rock, but on sand, and sand full of brittle” (Against the Heresies, Book III, 24, 1).

 

Saint Epiphany (dead on 403 A.D.), great combatant against the heresies, follows the same line of Saint Irinaeus:

 

“There is One Real Pathway, the Catholic Church and only one pathway to the Truth. On the other hand, heresies have left the real pathways because they took wrong turns to the left or to the right: therefore they are abandoned to themselves and they gradually drown in their mistakes.

Alas, then, o servants of God and children of God’s Holy Church, who know the safe rules of faith! Do not allow the voices of strangers to lead you astray from the Church and do not allow them to mislead you with  false assumptions of the so-called sciences (Haer. 59, c. 12s).

Also Saint Vincent of Lerins (dead on 450 A.D.) also combated the Pelagian heresy and he affirms that:

“Asking diligently and attentively to numerous eminent authorities on sanctity and doctrine which safe norm I could use, as regular and generic as possible, to tell the truth of Catholic faith from the falsehood of heresy, that is the uniform answer they all gave me: those who want to find out the emerging fraud of the heretic, avoid their traps and stay safe and sound in faith, should shelter their own faith under double Divine protection: first under the authority of the Divine Law and second under the Tradition of the Church” (Commonitorium).

Professor Felipe Aquino

 

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
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