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The Guardian Angel: The Eucharist and the Supernatural Life

This may be to much for one setting but we will try to take time because of the importance of these teachings. Let us immerse ourselves into this walk with God and some of his Apostles. As stated, it may take two weeks to cover if done properly, and if that happens we will continue if necessary.

If you get this ahead of the Monday evening show, please pray and ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us, no game, please pray about this. And then if you understand every word of this teaching, God bless you and seek to become a Spiritual Director for those less fortunate, like myself. This must not be taken lightly, and it must be shared if you love God and others, as we are asked by a Holy God to do. Love each of you more than myself, please help me die to myself so that can be said by Jesus and Mary at some point before we die.

To Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.,GregioryMary

The Eucharist and the Supernatural Life — Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

The Founder of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers, Saint Peter Julian Eymard, states:

How is it that Our Lord is so little loved in the Eucharist? One reason is that we do not speak enough of It and that we insist only on faith in the presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament, instead of speaking about His life and His love therein, instead of calling attention to the sacrifices which His love imposes upon Him—in a word, instead of showing Jesus Christ in the Eucharist with the personal and special love He has for each one of us. How many among the best Catholics never pay a visit of devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament to speak with Him from their heart, to tell Him of their love. They do not love Our Lord in the Eucharist, because they do not know Him well enough.

Yes, more Catholics, including priest and religious, are not more devoted to the Eucharist because they do not understand the life and love of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. How important it is not only to believe in what the Church tells us God has revealed, but to understand what we believe. It is because of this lack of understanding of what the Eucharist is that people who are otherwise good Catholics are so pathetically wanting in devotion to the Eucharist.

As a backdrop for this meditation, we may use two passages from the Gospel of Saint John. To grasp the meaning of these passages is to come closer to a realization of not only that the Eucharist exists but also what the Eucharist really is. In the first, John tells us that “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that those who believe in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.”(John 3:16). Behind the Incarnation, and therefore behind the Eucharist, is the breathtaking, inevitable love of God.

The second passage is when Christ made the promise of the Eucharist. “I am”, He said, “the bread of life. He who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”(John 6:35). The Eucharist and life are related as cause and effect.

We will look at this panoramic subject on three levels.

First, to refresh our faith on the fact that the Eucharist is Jesus Christ. This, then, is an article of our undivided and immutable Catholic faith: the Holy Eucharist is Christ. He is present in the fullness of His divine nature and in the fullness of everything that makes Him a human being. As Catholics, we believe that there is absolutely no difference—none whatever—between Jesus in the Eucharist and Jesus, as we profess in the Creed, at the right hand of His heavenly Father.

The Act of Faith from the Coptic Liturgy on this article of faith explains in simple language the belief of the Church that her Founder and Savior is in the Blessed Sacrament and that although He surely ascended into heaven, He never left this earth. The prayer is addressed to God the Father.

I believe and will confess to my last breath that this is the living Body which your only-begotten Son, Our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, took from Our Lady and the Queen of Mankind—the holy, sinless Virgin Mary, Mother of God. He made it one with His Godhead, without confusion or change. He witnessed before Pontius Pilate and was of His own free will condemned in our place to the holy tree. Truly I believe that His Godhead was not separated from His manhood for a moment, for the twinkle of an eye. He gave His Body for the remission of our sins and for eternal life for them that partake of It. I believe, I believe, I believe that this is, in very truth, that Body.

Once we assume this faith in the Holy Eucharist, that Jesus Christ is here and now and near, two wonderful corollaries follow. This means that Jesus is alive on earth and practicing the virtues that He wants us to admire and imitate. And He is in the Blessed Sacrament as the most dramatic manifestation of His love, in order that we might love Him in some corresponding measure in return.

Jesus is Living on Earth Today in the Eucharist

Jesus living in the Eucharist. We can never meditate too much on the historical life of Jesus as He lived that life in first century Palestine. And it is now called “first century” because He lived in that age; He made it the first century. It began with His Incarnation in the womb of Mary; then through the long, hidden years at Nazareth, followed by His preaching and His miracles in Judea and Galilee; and then His Passion, that all four Evangelists concentrate so much upon as though everything else before it was only a prelude, which it was. Finally, His death and Resurrection and Ascension to His heavenly Father. As we read these pages, we are filled with the evidence of how the divine attributes were lived out by a human being and, therefore, what all ages have told men—they would be as holy as they became Godlike. This became a real, even simple possibility because, since that man was God, whatever virtues as man He practiced were the attributes of God, revealing themselves to us and inviting our imitation. Most of the books on the spiritual life understandably concentrate on that life of Jesus. It is real and important and indispensable in the pursuit of holiness.

But—and with this adversative we enter what will be in the years and the generations to come a discovery, especially for those chosen souls who want to know how to become holy by becoming like Jesus and will see His virtues practiced not only in the pages of the Gospel but in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. I could not better recommend anyone than Saint Julian Eymard. There are nine books in English by him, all on this profound subject:

Volume I, The Real Presence

  • Volume II, Holy Communion

  • Volume III, Eucharistic Retreats

  • Volume IV, The Eucharist and Christian Perfection (Vol.1)

  • Volume V, The Eucharist and Christian Perfection (Vol.2)

  • Volume VI, A Eucharistic Handbook

  • Volume VII, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament

  • Volume VIII, Month of Saint Joseph

  • Volume IX, In the Light of the Monstrance

I strongly recommend reading works of this man, who profoundly changed my life when I first read him. What are we saying? Jesus not only lived on earth nineteen-hundred years ago; He is living on earth today. And behind that present tense is all the implication for the following of Christ and the becoming Christlike that those who not only believe in the Eucharist, but understand what the Eucharist is, have at their constant, daily disposal. This present tense is what our faith reveals to us and, by God’s grace, we are enabled to make it our own. God never just tells us anything; He never wastes His revelation. He always makes sure there is corresponding grace to put that revelation into practice. Jesus Teaches Us the Virtues He Is Practicing in the Eucharist – Humility, Patience, Obedience and Self-Surrender What does it mean that Jesus is living on earth today in the Eucharist? It means many things. He is here because He wants to be here to teach us the virtues He is practicing—note the present tense—the virtues He is practicing in the Eucharist and that He wants us to duplicate in our lives. He is practicing humility of the highest degree. While on earth in visible form, He veiled His divinity but manifested for everyone to see His humanity. So true was this that many saw only Jesus-the-man and could not, because they would not, see Christ who is God. But in the Eucharist, Jesus also hides His humanity. This is the glorious humanity that was transfigured on Tabor and is now resplendent in heaven and is the object of awesome adoration by the angels and saints.

How we need this lesson: to be willing to be hidden; to be willing not to be recognized; to be willing not to be acknowledged, not to be praised, not to be honored. How our proud human hearts seek recognition and, mystery of human iniquity, we not only seek recognition for what we are and have, but sometimes we even stupidly make-believe that we are and have what we are not and don’t have.

If humility is the willingness not to be recognized, surely Jesus in the Eucharist is humble in the most extreme way that even God could devise. It looks like bread, like wine, but is neither. It is the Son of God in human form. What a rebuke to our masked civilization!

Jesus in the Eucharist is practicing sacrifice. He surrenders Himself to the conditions of place and space. Wherever the Eucharistic elements are present, there are only there is Jesus in the Eucharist. And in the sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus time and again offers Himself to His heavenly Father for our salvation. As Pope Pius XII explains in his encyclical “Mediator Dei” (which I recommend for your reading and meditation): In every Mass, Christ would again die for our sins. He is there with the self-same flesh and blood that He had on Calvary, and the only reason He does not die is because He is now glorified and immortal.

Jesus in the Eucharist is practicing obedience. The moment the priest pronounces the words of consecration, Jesus obediently comes down on the altar. As Augustine says, whether it is a John or a Peter or a Paul who consecrates, Jesus becomes present; or whether it is a Judas who consecrates, Jesus becomes present. He allows Himself to be placed where the priest wills and nowadays Christ in the Eucharist is put in places that are not, to say the least, respectful—even in tabernacles that are hidden out of sight. So many of the faithful are asking, “What has happened to the Eucharist?”

Jesus allows Himself to be received by people who are worthy, but also by those who are not worthy to receive. How many have asked me, “How can it be?” And there is no answer. Almost no one in some parishes ever goes to confession, and yet it seems everyone is going to Communion, even men and women known to be living lives of sin, in open adultery. Jesus allows Himself to be received by them too. And, judging by some of the histrionic celebrations that are supposed to be the Mass, He also allows Himself to come into the midst of a gathering in which the people are sometimes totally preoccupied with themselves, with the noise and movement they are making, as though the Savior of the world was not right there. Jesus allows Himself to remain in the tabernacle unvisited, unappreciated, unrevered, and for many Catholics, unknown.

How we need this lesson of Christ’s patient obedience in the Eucharist. And how we need, according to the grace given to us, to make up for the indifference and neglect that Christ experiences in the Blessed Sacrament. As He told Saint Margaret Mary, “What most pains me is that I am so coldly treated by my consecrated souls, the priests and religious who above all should show me their affection.”

Jesus is Living on Earth Today in the Eucharist

Our third and final level of reflection is on Jesus loving in the Eucharist. Not only, then, is Jesus Christ alive and on earth in our midst, teaching us by His humility and patience, obedience and self-surrender to be humble, patient, obedient and selfless in our lives—but He is in the Blessed Sacrament par excellence as the One who loves.

Consider the following. It was out of sheer love, through no compulsion or necessity, that God made the world and made up part of the world; and needless to say, we are grateful—He did not have to. It was out of pure love that God became man to redeem us from sin; Love became man, which is a definition of the Incarnation—again, He did not have to. It was out of sheer love that the God-man allowed Himself to be crucified so that He might shed His blood for our sins—surely, He did not have to. It was out of love alone that the night before He died, God-made-man decided to transform bread and wine into His living flesh and blood by instituting the Eucharist—He did not have to. It was out of love and nothing else that He instituted the priesthood to perpetuate the miracle of transubstantiation so that He could remain among us in this valley of tears—again, He didn’t have to. It is, therefore, love that moved God to be where we are, to be available to us at our will, to be close as close can be, to be a human being who is also God and, as this man-God, to invite us to come to Him.

What does all of this mean to us? It means that even as He is with us in mind and affections, so we should be with Him. That is why He is here! His love should evoke our love, His willingness to sacrifice should prompt our desire to surrender. But how loathe we are to give up. His readiness to give Himself to us entirely should move us to give ourselves to Him—entirely.

I would like to close with a long prayer of our late, beloved Pope John XXIII, a prayer addressed to Jesus in the Eucharist. And the title is, appropriately, “Jesus, King of Nations”. This is a man of faith praying.


Jesus, King of nations and ages, receive the acts of adoration and praise that we, your brothers by adoption, humbly offer to you. You are the “living bread come down from heaven, which gives life to the world” (John 6:33). High Priest as well as victim, you offered yourself on the cross in a bloody sacrifice of expiation to the Eternal Father for the redemption of the human race, and now, each day, you offer yourself on our altars by the hands of your ministers, so that there might be restored in each heart “your kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace”. (Preface of Mass of Christ the King)

King of glory, may your kingdom come! Rule from your “throne of glory” (Heb. 4:16) in the hearts of children, so that they may keep immaculate the shining purity of their baptismal innocence. Rule in the hearts of youth, so that they may grow in wholesomeness and purity and docility to the voice of those who represent you in the family, school, and Church. Rule in the heart of the home, so that parents and children may live united in the observance of your holy law. Rule in our country, so that in the harmonious ordering of the social classes, all its citizens may regard themselves as children of the same heavenly Father, called to work together for the common temporal good and happy to belong to that one Mystical Body of which you Sacrament is both the symbol and the everlasting source.

Rule, finally, king of kings, and “Lord of Lords” (Deut. 10:17) over all the nations of the earth, and enlighten the rulers of each nation, that inspired by your example they may nourish “thoughts of peace and not of affliction.” (Jer. 29:11) Eucharistic Jesus, grant that all people may serve you freely in the knowledge that “to serve God is to reign”.

May your Sacrament, O Jesus, be a light to the mind, strength to the will, and attraction to the heart; may It be a support to the weak, comfort to the suffering, viaticum of salvation to the dying, and for all may It be a pledge of future glory. Amen.

The Gift of Discernment — Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. Although by now the terminology has become commonplace in Catholic spirituality, its historical popularization on a broad level began with Saint Ignatius: he has long and elaborate rules for what he calls discernment of spirits. In his own life it was through his discernment of spirits that he discovered his vocation and the work that God wanted him to do. Wounded in the battle of Pamplona, bedridden for months, he had nothing to do but read lives of the saints. That made him reflect on his past, of which he was ashamed. Although he had, at times, one kind of feelings; when he thought other kind of thoughts, he had other kinds of feelings.

So he had a third kind of thought, namely, there is a difference between the kind of spirit which prompts one kind of thinking and the spirit that prompts another kind of thinking. This was the beginning, at least in most modern "spiritual theology" of the discernment of spirits.

It is not my purpose to elaborate on the Ignatian theology of discernment. It is rather to look at the vast subject in biblical perspective; to first ask three questions and then close with some practical observations. What are the biblical presuppositions on which discernment of spirits is based? What is the theology of the discernment of spirits? What is the psychology of this discernment?

Biblical Presuppositions

As regarding biblical presuppositions, we know there are many things in the Bible which form the premises or the pre-condition of things which by now the Church has developed and on which so much of our spiritual lives is built. So here, regarding discernment. While the whole New Testament is filled with implicit presuppositions implying that there were certain premises underlying that discernment; the moment you even talk about discerning anything you've got to talk about norms and principles, otherwise how can you discern, which means distinguish? While there are many implicit premises in the New Testament, there are three classical places in the writings of three of the Apostles where we have the preamble for the foundation in faith for the elaborate spirituality of discernment on which the Church has since built. The first is Saint Paul in his letter to the Galatians, Chapter 5, 16-25. The second is Saint Peter's second letter, Chapter 2, 1-10. The third is Saint John in his first letter, Chapter 4, 1-6.Without saying more about these biblical presuppositions, let me recommend that you read them and use them as meditation. They are the foundation of our biblical faith for all, that over the centuries, the Church and the Church's writers have said about discernment.

Taking each in sequence, I shall point out the different focus of Paul, Peter and John. Each is a whole panorama of deep insight as to how to discern the good from the evil spirit; but each is also different. Based, then, on each of three passages, which we technically call exegeses of what Peter, Paul and John are saying; this will give us a better understanding of what discernment of spirits means on the grounds of our faith - because, remember, between the faith we profess and the life that we live there must be reflection, understanding, analysis, and application. The bare faith alone is not sufficient; we must appropriate the faith, make it our own, study it, ask God to enlighten us as to what He means.

Saint Paul First, Saint Paul. Paul speaks of two kinds of spirits active in the world: the Holy Spirit and the evil spirit. In writing to the Galatians, after having told them in plain Greek, "Who has bewitched you, you stupid Galatians?", he comes to contrapose two ways in which the two different spirits operate: the Holy Spirit in one way, the evil spirit in another. There is logic behind his long description of how the Holy Spirit produces one kind of fruit (that's where we get the fruits, by the way, in this passage in Galatians - the fruits of the Holy Spirit and the fruits of the evil spirit). Each manifests itself in different conduct in the different people. In one case, they have allowed themselves to be inspired by the good Spirit, and in the other, instigated by the evil one. What's the essential difference?After you go through the fruits of the Holy Spirit and the fruits of the evil spirit - both are there - and you compare them and you boil them down to their ultimate essence, the fruits of the Holy Spirit can be reduced to love of God and love of neighbor, and the fruits of all evil spirits can be reduced to love of self and indulgence. How does the good Spirit show Himself? In the person loving God and his neighbor. He may not know he has the fruits of the Spirit, or know how many fruits there are; no less, he is the object of the good Spirit working in him. And wherever you find self-love and self-indulgence this is the infallible revealed sign of the evil spirit. We can tell where the one or the other spirit has been active depending on the kind of conduct that we see.

This, however, is more subtle than we have so far implied. Why? Because you might think that a person can be good and their conduct morally praiseworthy without necessarily saying that the good Spirit is active. Not so. It is impossible - and this is the key - it is impossible to practice moral good, as Christ expects His followers to do, without something more than mere human moral power. It requires grace; it requires assistance in the form of light and strength from a power beyond the human - namely, the Divine. Whenever we see genuine goodness on Christian principles, whether we realize it or not, whether we admit it or not, that goodness is not the mere product of that human being. It cannot be. Christ's teachings, the Christian ethic, cannot be lived out without the Holy Spirit enlightening the mind and continuously inspiring the will.

Consequently, if a person gives himself to the Holy Spirit, then his conduct will be revealed, and while we may generously praise the person, we should first praise God; because, while it is true that except for the person's free cooperation he would not be practicing the virtue which he does - it is before, during and all through whatever good we do, mainly the Holy Spirit Who is the responsible agent.

What we're after in using Paul's principles is to find out where is the good Spirit in this world. Paul tells us He is in all good people; and not in some vague poetic sense, but in the most fundamental sense possible: that it is the good Spirit who makes this goodness really possible.

When a person is doing good by Christian standards, we say he could not do this except with the light and assistance of the Spirit of God, when a person is doing evil he is not precisely giving in to a power beyond himself; he is really giving in to himself. This means that except for the instigation of the evil spirit, we don't need superhuman power to do evil. All we have to do is allow the evil spirit to tempt us to do our own wills. We then can recognize whenever we see evil (and the greater the evil the more sure we are) that the evil spirit has tempted, not precisely inspired. Giving the devil his due, however, we shouldn't give him more than his due. People don't need the devil to give in to themselves. They don't really need the devil to sin, because what is the essence of sin? The essence of sin is self-will contrary to the will of God.

The masters of the spiritual life building on Saint Paul, therefore, said that we can discern the good from the evil spirit if we study the direction which the thought or the inspiration takes. If it is towards pride - which means self-satisfaction, self-complacency, self-adulation, in a word, self-will - suspect the spirit of evil. You see, that's all he had to do at the beginning of the history of the human race. We have within us, provided we allow ourselves to give in to the demonic temptation, the capacity for all evil. That's the power we have. But as to do good, that's different. We don't have in our power either the light or the strength, - I don't say to do any good, because we do have that - we can listen to classical music, for example, - but in order to carry out what Christ expects His followers to do, we need more than ourselves to do it. So much for Paul.

Saint Peter

Saint Peter presumes the activity of both the good and evil spirits. His stress is on the operations of the evil spirit. Otherwise than Saint Paul, however, Peter's emphasis, besides being on the evil spirit, is also on the contest, the conflict between, not so much good and evil, as between truth and falsehood. Peter concentrates on the spirit of falsehood. Then in ten verses he speaks at great length about true and falsehood. Peter concentrates on the spirit of falsehood. Then in his ten verses (2 Peter 1-10) he speaks at great length about true and false prophets. Peter identifies the false prophets as persons who have listened to the spirit of error. Peter's words in the Greek which he used made it clear that he was speaking about listening to the spirit of error. We hear a lot of things; we shouldn't listen to everything we hear. Listening is hearing with attention. So, behind these prophets of error Peter points to the spirit of error. He further isolates the character of these prophets of error. They are also prophets of deceit. And, indeed, he spells out various levels of falsehood or of decadence; and since it is the spirit of error behind these spokesmen of error, there are levels of malice. Levels of Malice

What are the levels of malice relative to the truth? Firstly,On the most shallow level is mere ignorance of the truth. It's bad, but the persons who don't know the truth may not even themselves be responsible. They simply don't know. So that decadence, relative to truth, has depths. The least serious is just ignorance of the truth. Second, and a deeper level, is exclusion of the truth. That's more than ignorance, that's error. In other words, you not only don't know, but you accept and you prefer the opposite to the truth, which is error. Third level, where a person embraces the error; he not only is in error, but embraces it, and then seeks to promote it. That's false teaching. But there is one deeper level - the dungeon - where the one, who having embraced error and is teaching falsehood, conceals his designs by stealth and cunning, in order to seduce others into error. All of this is implied when Peter warns the faithful against the prophets of falsehood. Implications

What are the implications? There are manifold implications. First, the evil spirit uses human beings to propagate error - just as the good Spirit uses human beings to propagate the truth. Second, that these human beings, inspired by error, become teachers who are absolutely convinced that error is truth. And it may take the evil spirit years - and some fail the course - to convince certain people that what is error is the truth. If you've met them, as I have, they're thoroughly convinced, for example, that God is not infinitely perfect; that He is a changeable Being; indeed, that He is part of the universe. And the man who believes this can be a Catholic priest teaching theology. They speak, they write, they have misled millions. They have such conviction as you sometimes would wish to see in believers believing the truth. Let's make sure that the propagators of error are convinced that what they are doing is good because what they believe is thought to be the truth. - They really do! Of course, the evil spirit has helped in creating the certitude; have no doubt, it's there.Now how do people who are properly trained in the school of the evil spirit hide their designs? How do they falsify the truth? In two ways: in what they teach, namely, content; and in how they teach, methodology. Generally speaking it is far easier to recognize false content. It is much more difficult to recognize a methodology which will be consciously deceptive, because then the false content will be camouflaged. It is critically important, therefore, to know that error always conceals its designs: error is always deceitful. Error is falsehood, deceit is hiding the falsehood. People look for evil as evil, or error as error. They have been beguiled into embracing evil as good and error as the truth; so they have truths, partial truths, aspects that are true; but by the time you've swallowed the sweet pill you realize it is cyanide. Falsehood, then, is always cunning. The evil spirit is always the erroneous spirit. He tries, if he can, to deceive good people under specious designs. Note, therefore, that falsehood cannot succeed except through cunning. From the first fall of the human race to the last fall of the human race, from the first sin to the last sin that will ever be committed, it is committed because people have allowed themselves to embrace falsehood through being deceived by cunning. Falsehood would never take people away from God unless they were deceived into thinking that what is false is really true.

The spirit of error always seeks to hide. What I'm sharing with you is things to look for in people, people who are the agents of the evil spirit. They always seek to hide; they are never fully open. The spirit of error fears to be identified. So they will have commissions or committees or organizations or this group or that group. Who's behind it? Nobody knows. It tries to conceal, it avoids openness and frankness. It always makes evil look like good, or, as I prefer, it masks evil under the guise of good, always. That adverb is part of our faith. To be on one's guard is to have won half the victory.

St. John

We still have John. No single New Testament writer speaks more often or more clearly about the need for discernment of spirits than Saint John. It is in John that we have the familiar dichotomy, which means conflict, between light and darkness. He begins his Gospel on that theme and he ends the Apocalypse on that theme. In Heaven we shall have no more need of the sun or the moon or stars. Christ will be the light of the elect. So, light and darkness, Christ and the world, that's John; peace and turmoil, that's John; the kingdom of God and the kingdom of satan, that's John; till the last verse of the Book of Revelation.Now in the passage to which I referred in his first letter John isolates the target of the conflict between these two forces by identifying how the Spirit of God can be distinguished from the spirit that is not of God. He is very practical. According to John it all depends on if a person accepts Jesus Christ. Those who do, are His followers; those who don't, are followers of the Antichrist. (It's John who coined the term "Antichrist".)

But he means something more definite than just that in one case Christ is accepted and in the other He is rejected. He means more than just the semantic acceptance or rejection. He means first of all that the acceptance of Christ is the acceptance of Christ as the natural Son of God. A lot of people say they accept Christ. What do you mean? - this is John's question. Who is Christ? Is He the Word of God that was with God because He is God from the beginning? That's what acceptance of Christ means, that that man, Jesus, is God. Whereas, the rejection of Christ is the denial of Christ's divinity.

Words couldn't be clearer. Who is the Antichrist?: the spirit at large in the world, that has by now convinced many people that Jesus is not God. Thus, for John, you can distinguish the evil spirit from the good spirit by their respective attitudes towards Christ. The spirit of evil denies that God took on human flesh, dwelt among us, and taught the human race the way to salvation, and is now teaching mankind through the Church He founded. The Holy Spirit, operating in Christ's followers, professes Christ's divinity; and His followers thereby submit themselves to the hard requirements of His teaching, communicated by His Church - not, of course, because the teachings are hard. Monogamy, celibacy, self-sacrifice, charity towards the uncharitable, mercy towards the unmerciful, patience with the impatient, and the endurance of the cross is hard. That's not why the followers of Christ embrace these, but because, though hard and unpalatable to our natural desires, these mysteries of the faith should be lived out because the One Who told us - and through His Church tells us - they should be lived out is our God.

Never perhaps in the Church's history was it more necessary to make the right discernment of spirits, that is, distinguish truth from error and virtue from malice. Why is it so important? Because so much error has insinuated itself into nominally Christian and Catholic circles, and is being propagated by so many who still consider themselves Christians and Catholics and, maybe, even leaders in the Church of God.

Practical Observations

How to discriminate? All that I have just said is the answer to "how". But let me add three suggestions at the end. First, watch the conduct of people. Ideas are often hard to identify; people can be recognized. Are they humble and patient? Are they respectful of the Holy See? Are they docile to the teachings of the Church? If they're not, no matter what else you may like about them, protect yourselves - they are dangerous. Second, by expecting false teachers to disguise their intentions. They are attractive; they are disarmingly nice people; they are, generally, pious people. Expect error to be in disguise. And finally, by recognizing with Saint John that the surest mark of Christ's spirit in what we hear, in what we read, in what we see or observe is the humble submission to Christ's teaching. And conversely, the plainest mark of the Antichrist is the proud unwillingness to follow this teaching as interpreted by the Church. The first is to be followed because it is true; and truth is identified by humility. The second is to be avoided because it is false; and falsehood is always identified by its pride.


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