Spirit & Life: The Gospel, Doctrine and Pastoral Care


The Calling of Saint Matthew (1599–1600). Cont...

The Calling of Saint Matthew (1599–1600). Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome. The beam of light, which enters the picture from the direction of a real window, expresses in the blink of an eye the conversion of St Matthew, the hinge on which his destiny will turn, with no flying angels, parting clouds or other artifacts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the last few weeks I have addressed some very sensitive topics in my weekly column, which many found challenging. I have received numerous emails questioning what some call a “harsh” and insensitive position concerning “sinners.” In particular, last week’s article about some concerning content in the program for the World Meeting of Families drew a lot of responses. People are confused, and have questions about the need for and nature of pastoral outreach. In this column I attempt to address some of these questions, placing the need for effective pastoral outreach in the context of Christ’s call to true freedom via repentance.
The Call of St. Matthew
There’s an extraordinary painting by Caravaggio at the Church of San Luigi in Rome. Several men are depicted sitting at a table, on which there are heaps of coins and pen and ink. At the opposite end of the room stands a man, obviously Christ, mostly cast in shadow, with one arm dramatically outstretched and his index finger pointing. A piercing shaft of light illuminates the dark room, falling directly on the face of a bearded, middle-aged man. This man, looking startled, is in turn pointing uncertainly at a young man sitting at the end of the table, slouched over a bunch of coins, as if to say: “Him?”
No. Not him. The painting is called The Call of St. Matthew. The bearded man is Matthew, not yet a saint, but a tax collector: a collaborator with the Romans and therefore a public sinner and traitor to the Jewish people.
The perspective of the painting is ambiguous; it is not entirely clear precisely at whom Christ is pointing. Matthew, for one, is incredulous that Christ is calling him; hence his startled expression and uncertain gesture. I suspect that this ambiguity was deliberate on Caravaggio’s part. It suggests that Christ was, in fact, calling every single man in that room, just as he calls each one of us. But we all know the end of the story. “Follow me,” Jesus said, “and Matthew got up and followed him.”
We hear a lot about “tax collectors and sinners” these days: Christ ate with tax collectors and sinners, and the hypocritical, hard-hearted Pharisees were scandalized. Christ rebuked them, saying: “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’” Sometimes it seems as if this is the only story that many people know from the Gospels…or think they know. Few recall, for instance, that immediately preceding the story is the account of the call of St. Matthew. His dramatic conversion sets the stage, quite literally: for the house in which Christ subsequently ate with those tax collectors and sinners was Matthew’s house.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Shenan J. Boquet
President, Human Life International
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Health update – Fr. Andrew Apostoli

My dear friends in Christ,

It saddens me to announce that due to a recent decline in my health, I am not longer able to keep a public schedule at this time. Unfortunately, talks and retreats that are currently scheduled must now be canceled. Please email: franciscanfriarsnyc@gmail.com with any questions. I continue to be grateful for all the prayers and support and certainly extend my prayers and blessings to you all.

May Christ and His Holy Mother Bless you!

Fr. Andrew

From New Liturgical Movement: A Note about Photography in Church

From http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/

I am sure that many of our readers have read that in his Wednesday audience this week, the Pope spoke very disapprovingly of the taking of photographs during the liturgy. “The Mass is not a show: it is to go to meet the passion and resurrection of the Lord, … The Lord is here with us, present. Many times we go there, we look at things and chat among ourselves while the priest celebrates the Eucharist… But it is the Lord! … (the priest says) lift up our hearts. He does not say, ‘We lift up our phones to take photographs!’ … And I tell you that it gives me so much sadness when I celebrate here in the piazza or basilica and I see so many raised cellphones, not just of the faithful, even of some priests and even bishops.”

This is an excellent admonition, and sadly, a rather necessary one, but I am quite sure that His Holiness was referring to things like this:

Victory is Assured

This photograph, taken in Germany after World War II, shows the Holy Mass celebrated in the bombed St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of Münster in 1946. It serves as a symbol of the triumph that awaits us following the ruins of Modernism in the not-too-distant future.

When we look at the overall picture of what’s going on in the West, there are a few observations we can make. First, what’s happening in the Western Church is directly linked to what is happening in Western culture. Some say that the virus began in the Church (with Vatican II) and then spread to the world. They say “as the Church goes, so goes the world.” While I agree there is a certain degree of truth to that, I personally think it’s the other way around in this case. The virus infected the world first, during the latter half of the 1800s in the form of Modernism, and then over the course of a century, gradually infected the world, and then the Church. Second, things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. This will be the case both in the world and the Church. Third, the victory of Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church is absolutely assured by his Blessed Mother Mary, and it will certainly come before the close of this century in the form of a new era of relative orthodoxy and evangelism. What we don’t know is exactly when this will happen. Will it come sooner or later?

Read more of this excellent article here: https://catholicozarks.blogspot.com/2017/11/victory-is-assured.html

POW/MIA Chair Dedicated in The United States Capitol for Veterans Day

83,000 Service Members are Still Missing in Action Since WWII — 1,606 from the Vietnam War
Contact: Dr. Scott Magill, Veterans in Defense of Liberty™, 417-556-8499; ViDoLAmerica.org
SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Nov. 10, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ — 8 November 2017 passed with little notice by most. However, it was a red-letter day for our POW/MIA’s and their families.
Freedom is never free, but it is the American Warrior and their families who paid the price. None paid a greater price than American prisoners of war and those missing in action. Every American Warrior who answered their country’s call deserves to walk on American soil again, or to be buried within it. Above all, they deserve never to be forgotten by a grateful nation.
For several years Rolling Thunder,® Inc. made every effort to secure a bill in Congress honoring the sacrifice of Americas POW/MIA’s, specifically by placing an Empty Chair in our nation’s Capitol Building, which belongs to “We the People.” The Empty Chair would represent our missing Warriors, and acknowledge the obligation of our elected representatives to continue working on behalf of these American citizens whose service and sacrifices for our country must be considered ongoing until finally resolved. After years of frustration, Veterans in Defense of Liberty™(ViDoL) set up a meeting in Washington, D.C. with Senator Roy Blunt (MO), a delegation veterans from ViDoL, and representation by Rolling Thunder® Inc.
Senator Blunt concluded that historic meeting by stating, “Let me see what we can do.” And do he did. Yesterday the Empty Chair was finally dedicated, “prominently located in Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center.” There it will remain on permanent display, stark testimony to the price of freedom paid by America’s military heroes.
Regarding the role of Veterans in Defense of Liberty™ to make this a reality, Senator Blunt remarked yesterday, “This wouldn’t have happened without your encouragement…”
Our Kudos to Senator Roy Blunt who assumed a leadership role in bringing this powerful national tribute to fruition, and taking a symbolic knee by assuring the dedication of this chair to honor our POW/MIA heroes.
We encourage all Americans to take a knee this Veterans Day week to thank God for our awesome military, and in remembrance of our POW/MIA heroes: You shall not be forgotten.
ViDoL is a national 501(c))4 committed to honoring our oath. We are a Brotherhood/Sisterhood of veterans committed to maintaining the integrity of our Republic upon correct moral and constitutional principles
Veterans in Defense of Liberty™ ViDoLAmerica.org

Man convicted of killing Eureka priest in 2014 files appeal – 10 November 2017

California Catholic Daily

Dear Reader,

Our lineup for today includes:

Man convicted of killing Eureka priest in 2014 files appeal: Gary Lee Bullock, who is serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole for the torture and murder of Fr. Eric Freed , claims his Miranda rights were violated
Making the case for Catholicism: Latest book from Ignatius Press provides the most comprehensive defense of the faith in the past 30 years
We have something that belongs to you: A video that models joyfully inviting others to the Traditional Latin Mass

Pro-life members of Congress have introduced legislation to protect Pro-Life nurses from being compelled to provide abortions

Pro-life members of Congress have introduced legislation to protect health care providers from being compelled to provide abortions under threat of losing their jobs.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., held a press conference on the House Triangle outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to promote the Conscience Protection Act. The bill is designed to “end discrimination against people, [insurance] plans and providers for choosing not to be involved in abortion,” according to a statement from Smith.

“Health care, my friends, is about saving lives,” Smith said. “It is about eradicating disease. It’s about mitigating disabilities, not taking the lives of unborn children. At the very least, health care providers should have the right not to be coerced into facilitating abortion.”

Read more here: http://dailysignal.com/2017/11/09/bill-would-protect-pro-life-nurses-like-these-3-women/