Blessed are the Peacemakers

I write this as I watch the Holy Father’s vigil of prayer for peace and after making a long and rather hot pilgrimage around the city of Siena fasting and praying in union with the intentions of His Holiness, Francis, Vicar of Christ, father of princes and kings.

Certainly this was a great thing requested by Pope Francis and it seems to have moved many around the world. We will see what fruit is born according to the grace of God and the will of the kings of this world. Perhaps all out war and the mindless death and destruction that comes with it will be avoided.

However, I think the Holy Father has something more than simply avoiding the bombing of Syria. His words seem to point to that, the six-point plan for peace released by the Holy See seems to point to that and our Lord Jesus seems to point to that.

For Jesus said, “blessed are the peacemakers” not “blessed are the peace talkers.”

Perhaps the death that is all-out war will be avoided. Bloodshed will not. In Syria, in Egypt, in Iraq, in Lebanon and multiple other places in the world, blood will still be shed. Christians in those lands have been, and will continue to be, marginalized, intimidated, beaten, tortured, raped and killed. Oddly enough, this has only increased since the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ and the rise of purported democracy in those lands.

So, if there is no air-strike on Syria, will there be peace? Hardly.

His Holiness Pope Paul VI famously said at the United Nations, ‘no more war, never again war.’ Pope Francis repeated it tonight in his feverino at the Vigil. It is a moving phrase, it has become a famous phrase. It is also a false hope.

“There will be wars and rumors of wars, but that will not be the end.” These of words of the God-man Jesus Christ, recorded in the Gospel according to St. Matthew. ‘There will be wars’ says Our Lord. No Christian can believe that there will never again be war. I know that Pope Paul VI was speaking to a crowd of many people who were non-belivers and it was the right message to deliver to the kings of the earth who will always be ready to kill for power and wealth.

But it is not a phrase for Christians. For Christians is: blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, those who mourn, the pure of heart, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, those who are rejoice in being persecuted because of the name of Jesus.

The West is falling. All the haughty and decadent princes of the U.N., the G-20 or whatever other incarnation they take, are lesser sons of greater fathers who inherited the greatest civilization ever to exist and turned into a plaything for greed, lust and envy. Neither they nor their subjects rally to be meek or to mourn. Oh, they love, ‘no more war’ but will never attain it because they do not, they cannot understand true peace as they sit on piles of so much gold like a million Smaug’s, thinking the wasteland around them is peace and and ignorant that their greed has led no a fatal weakness

And what about us? What about me? When was the last time I rejoiced in persecution? When did I last make peace? And with whom? Perhaps we too have been fools, believing in the fools gold of no more war and thus missing the pathway to making peace because we simply want to ask for peace. Thus, the selfish decadence of the black West grows apace even as it consumes itself in financial ruin and demographic suicide. “You say, ‘peace, peace’ but there is no peace.”

Why is it so hard not find a way to help persecuted Christians? St. Paul writes, ‘do good to all, especially those in the household of faith.’ The Christians in Syria, Egypt, Palestine, etc. they are other ones who can bring peace to those places not the vain masters of the West. They can thirst for justice, they can mourn, they can forgive, they can serve, they can rejoice in persecution in those places. They can celebrate the Mass and bring Jesus Christ into that place.

What is the way to peace? Jesus.

What did He ask us to do? “Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” How shall we go and teach? “Do this in memory of me.” “Seek you first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” “The Son of man came to serve not to be served.” “I was hungry and you gave me to eat, thirsty and you gave me to drink, naked and you clothed me, lonely and imprisoned and you visited me.”

“I am the way, the truth and the life.” The most moving thing of the night was seeing the Pope kneeling before the Jesus. There are many things to do but here is where it starts. Starts, not finished, there is much to do. But if it doesn’t start here is will always fail.

‘But what if people don’t want to start here, what if they do not, cannot, believe in Jesus?’ Then there will be no peace of any sort whatever. Indeed, the same Jesus said, “you will be hated by all on account of my Name.” And, “Do you think I have come to bring peace? No I tell you, not peace but the sword. From now on a house will be set, two against three and three agains two.”

Do you want world peace? You will never have it and worse, you are serving a false god.

Do you want every soul to serve Jesus Christ? That can happen, at the end of all things, that will happen. This, and this alone, will give the human heart peace.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be called the children of God.”

Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner.

Rome Experience – Day XVIII

Well, we saw a ton today! I have pictures from my morning adventure but not from the afternoon, for those you can visit the Rome Experience blog.

The Morning – Casa Santa Maria

Once Dr. Liz Lev was off and running with her class I departed for the Casa Santa Maria, the house in Rome for priests in graduate studies. A happy religious sister greeted me at the door and took me to see Elizabetta who coordinates the doings of the house. Now, by house I mean old palazzo of one of the minor noble families. It had four levels, with the chapel, refectory, library, offices on the first floor and rooms for the men on the other floors. I was taken to Elizsabetta’s office and, after some Italian shuffling of papers and looking very confused, the proper paper is found and the key to room #320 was found.

She summoned one of the cleaning ladies, who was entirely pleasant, and took me up to my new room

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It was small to be sure and I will have to rearrange the furniture, but it is home. I have only one window and it looks out to the Biblicum, but it faces north and does not get direct sun (which is nice because of the heat) but always has some light. I was grateful for the smallness of the room and while a bit distraught at first but think I have found a way to arrange things in a decent way.

I went up to the storage area to get some of the things Fr. Tait Schroeder left for me. Chief among those was the air-conditioning unit which will make life much more pleasant. I clearly got one of the smallest and least desirable rooms, but I hope that I will have a large enough heart to set good example and remain in this small room.

However, I was shocked at the poor quality of things. Much of the furniture was broken. The sink was dirty and did not work well. The hallways are poorly painted, cracked and crumbling. The bathrooms were terribly kept – they clearly do not have enough staff. The first floor (where all the public offices are) were very nice but I was surprised at the poor quality of the places where the Bishops of the United States ask their priests, who are to give years away from family and friends, to live and give themselves to study. I don’t care about large or fancy, I don’t want the big room or best location, but dirty and falling apart was surprising.

Sorry to complain, because there are some very nice places. There two rooms ones the first floor that have been turned into Latin-rite chapels and one Byzantine chapel. Neither are fancy but both are are clean and very nice. Then one comes to the library.

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It is nicely decorated and seems to have a large collection. I was rather spoiled by the library at Mundelein Seminary so it is not quite what I am used to, but looks nice. There was also a terribly decorated but very roomy study room next door.

Then I walked down the hall and found the refectory (an ecclesiastical word for dining room.)

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As you can see it is wonderful. The room is well laid-out, nicely painted and was very clean and ordered with a great picture of Pope Pius IX at the back of the room.

The best is the chapel:

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As you can see, it is a baroque gem, absolutely beautiful with a great tabernacle, lovely side chapels, an image of Our Lady of Humility above the altar and statues of some of the virgin martyrs above the doors. Speaking of, look who I found:

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What happiness to know that every time I walk out of the chapel I can take a little strength from St. Agnes!

By this time the need was to get back to CIAM, so I thanked Elisabetta for her work and had a pleasant ride back to CIAM. It was surprisingly nice since the heat was up, namely the humidity was way up!

The Afternoon – Baroque beauty

So, as mentioned above, I don’t have pictures so a brief run-through:

First was the beauty of the fountains in the Piazza Navona by Bernini which are an homage to the ancient world, a return to the glories of the baroque and a clear symbol of the triumph of the Cross of Jesus Christ.

This probably blog heresy, but I just finished with a couple of Skype calls and am off to bed because I am tired. Perhaps more tomorrow.

Biblical Foundations of the Church

Here are the scripture citations I was going to give at the Alpha/Omega event on May 9th.  (Thanks for a great night everyone!)

I.  John 21:24-25

– Many things Jesus said and did were not written down

 II.  Acts 1:1-3

– Speaks about the kingdom of God which is not written down but kept by the Apostles, shows that the Church teaches the full truth.

 III.  Matthew 16:17-20

– Confession of Simon’s faith is the foundation of the Church, Simon is renamed Peter (because that faith is not from him but from God) and he (Peter) is given the power to bind and loose.

IV.  John 16:12-13

– There is more teaching to come (after the Passion) which will be taught to the Apostles (foundations of the Church) and will be ‘all truth.’

V.  Luke 22:31-34

– During the Last Supper, Jesus grants protection to Peter’s FAITH – the guarantee of the power given in Matthew 16.  Note, Jesus does not guarantee that Peter will remain morally upright, thus the Pope will always be protected to teach the right faith even if there is failure in his moral life.

VI.  John 21:15-19

– Jesus confirms the love of Peter and His love for Peter and prophecies the future of Peter and of the Popes.

VII.  Acts 2:42-43

– The teaching of the Apostles is a key part of the worship of Christian because they, 1) have the power of the Holy Spirit to teach and 2) were with Jesus after the Resurrection.

VIII.  1 Corinthian 15:9

– Saul (Paul) persecuted the Church of God, meaning that the Church was alive, up and running before the Bible came into existence.

IX.  1 Timothy 3:14-15

– The church is the pillar and foundation of the truth.

X.  Acts 15:1-29

– Representatives of the Apostles are sent to teach the truth from ‘the Holy Spirit and us.’

XI.   Revelation 21:10-23

– The heavenly Jerusalem has the Apostles as its foundation.