"Blessed are the pure of
heart, for they shall see God." +Mt. 5:8
Part of the allure of beauty,
St. Thomas Aquinas and medieval theologians tell us, is
its shining quality-claritas: its pristine brightness.
Beautiful objects and people (saints) radiate the love
of God and His beauty without the negative
"weightiness" of sin and strangulation of
darkness. Sin is ugliness and defilement: its nature is
to pull objects and souls down and defile them. Jesus
encourages disciples constantly to choose light and
beauty (holiness) even though, due to original sin, we
have concupiscence-a tendency to sin (St. Paul said,
"The good I want to do I don't do, the evil I don't
want to do I d.," (+Rm 7: 19). The ultimate
fulfillment of the Beatitudes, and following Jesus in
radical, and sometimes unpopular discipleship, is the
Beatific Vision-seeing God, the Uncreated Trinity, in
Heaven: there is no better news.
Along the way, through our
choices in life, we are either choosing light and
holiness (and thus building a relationship to ultimate
Light and Holiness-God in Heaven) or we are choosing
darkness and defilement unrepentantly (an eternal
separation from God, called Hell). God knows we all make
mistakes, and are sometimes more allured by evil and
darkness, and become lukewarm and tired in our
But because God is infinite
(unbounded in His love for us) and all merciful (always
ready to re-embrace us no matter what) He calls us all
to ongoing conversion. When we think we have totally
lost or destroyed our relationship with Him, He is ever
present (especially in Mass and Confession) to heal
us-to bring us back into His Beauty and Divine
After all, think: St. Paul
persecuted and killed Christians and later found-was
found by-Life, Jesus Himself! St. Augustine prodigally
abused people and creation but eventually found His
ultimate Lover and Creator-the Trinity. The Venerable.
Matt Talbot (the twentieth century Irishman) almost
drank himself to death but finally discovered the divine
Elixir in the Holy Eucharist…All of them were far away
from God-ensnared in darkness--but were eventually
pulled back to beauty and light, to God Himself…How
about you?…See the following…
Great beauty and horrifying
ugliness-that is what we saw the other night, and this
is what life-in its most intense drama-- is about. Mount
St. Mary's seminarians and faculty gathered for a talk
last Monday by Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the
founders of the National Abortion Action Rights League,
which promotes the killing of innocent children. Dr.
Nathanson professed to overseeing the abortions of some
60,000 children. Somehow (like our saints mentioned
above) he changed his ways and came to tell his-or,
rather God's story-that light and beauty are more
enrapturing than darkness and death.
This extraordinary man showed
two videos: one on a "late-term abortion"
(done in the sixth to ninth months of a woman's
pregnancy-some 120,000 are done in the U.S. alone each
year) and another on the healing surgery of a preborn,
handicapped baby. The first video showed killing and
violence, the second healing and love. They were
opposites of each other and depicted graphically the
horrors and beauty of modern medicine-- the differences
were visceral and immediate-we can promote great healing
and beauty in life OR we can mutilate and destroy-the
choice is ours.
"I have set before you life
and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life,
then, that you and your descendents may live..."
In an introduction to one video,
the actor, Charlton Heston, said how much
"dialogue," "conversation" and media
investigation there is on important, life or death,
contemporary, ethical issues-except on abortion. He said
acquiescing silence helps the oppressor.
Dr. Nathanson, who ran the
largest abortion clinic in the U.S. for years, spoke
about his conversion from death to life: "I did
clinical research for four years on fetal issues. After
that I decided that this-the fetus-was a member of the
human community-one of us." Read that sentence
Regarding the miraculousness of
pre-born fetal operations, the doctor said, "Fetal
operation is the clinching argument on life-this clearly
shows it is a person."
Somehow people eventually
decided that slaves in the Civil War (and those
currently in the world) are "one of us"; we've
understood that Jews murdered in the Holocaust are
"one of us"; we're convinced that AIDS victims
are "one of us". Some have even decided that
chimpanzees and dolphins are "one of us"; all
these "classifications" and
"discoveries" are ignoring the largest class
of destroyed victims- unborn babies.
One woman on the video who had
an abortion said: "I think the women's movement has
been terribly deceived by abortion." She described,
painfully, her own mental physical horrors, which plague
Did you know: +That about every
ten seconds an abortion is performed each day in the
U.S.?…+There are about 1,5000 serious complications to
abortions each year in the U.S?…+That there are always
two victims to abortions-the child and the adult woman
who has to live with this scar the rest of her life…
+All abortions can be forgiven.
Dr. Nathanson was, it seems, a
"medicine man" without "divine
medicine" (Jesus) but was converted from death and
killing to life and healing---and later became a Roman
Catholic. He kept pursuing truth and beauty and light
and eventually found these, and God found and rescued
him. Here he was talking to a hundred Catholic
seminarians and priests about his past horrors and
present peace, showing us that the worst sinner, the
most lost sheep can come back to God, be forgiven and
make a new life-with and by His grace.
God can change darkness and
despair to divine illumination and decisive
discipleship-if we seek Him, pursue Him, and really want
to know and embrace His Divine Will… Jesus tells us:
"I came that you might have life, and life
abundantly." (+Jn 10:10)…. PROJECT RACHEL is a
Catholic outreach, run by a priest-friend of ours, Fr.
Blair Raum, and is an excellent, spiritual and pastoral
balm to the forgivable action of abortion. Phone:
PRAYER, HOLINESS AND ST. TERESA
Ralph Martin, of EWTN Network will speak on these themes
at St. John, Westminster, Fri., Feb. 15, following 7:30
PM Stations of the Cross and: Sat. Feb. 16, 8 AM Mass/9
AM & 11 AM talks: "The Call to Holiness: Teresa
of Avila as a Guide," "Teresa: Advice on
prayer," "Obstacles to Growth." -call St.
"There is a thief, he is in my house. But this
burglar does not steal without leaving something behind.
He takes from me my humility and leaves behind his
pride. He robs me of my patience and gives to me anxiety
and intemperance. He pilfers my charity bestowing upon
me greed and hatred. He takes all that is virtuous and
leaves only vice. I know his name, it is ego. I have
seen his face and it is mine." +Anonymous.
St. Paul counsels: "You
should put away the old self of your former way of life,
corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed …"
Call it "ego," or
"old self", but this so-called
"reality" we seem to identify with the
most-and perpetuate through deceitful desires-is what we
have to die to the most (see Rm 6:6)…
Are you willing to die to
"self" and "ego" so as to live for
God and Heaven? …+How attached are you to your
so-called "self" and possible deceitful
desires of the world?…+Do you really want Jesus to
live in your heart and life?
SPIRITUAL QUOTE: "That
Bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified
by the Word of God, is the Body of Christ; that chalice,
or rather, what is in that chalice, having been
sanctified by the Word of God, is the blood of Christ.
Through that bread and wine the Lord Christ willed to
commend His Body and Blood, which He poured out for us
unto the forgiveness of sins. If you have received
worthily, you are what you have received." + St.
Augustine in his Sermon #272.
other Sermons by Father John J. Lombardi