Franciszek Gajowniczek (and Miscellaneous Items)

I thought that difficult-to-pronounce name might catch your eye. He is the man Maximillian Kolbe loved enough to die for so I thought we might at least care enough about him to find out something about his life. The teaser is that he died in 1995 at age 93. You can read about his life HERE.

Armenian Church

And, you can read about the Armenian Church HERE. Here are a couple of articles about the monophysite controversy, one from the almost unreadable Catholic Encyclopedia, and a much more concise explanation from Britannica.

The Link to Nagasaki

Here is a link to the movie about Nagasaki bombing survivor, Dr. Takashi Nagia, All That Remains. Here is information about the book written by Dr. Nagai.

And, the Main Character

And, not to ignore the main character, here is more on St. Maximillian Mary Kolbe.

July 24 – Works of Mercy, Corporal and Spiritual

Works of Mercy – Motivation

Father Fryml led a discussion of Works of Mercy this morning.

Derivation of the list of seven corporal and seven spiritual works of mercy from Sacred Scripture is a bit more complicated than finding the Ten Commandments, all in one simple list in Exodus 20, but those Works of Mercy are mostly positives of the half dozen “Thou shalt not’s” in the Commandments.

Like the Works of Mercy, the negative commandments, don’t kill, commit adultery, steal, lie, or covet, all have to do with our relationships with each other. That may explain why Jesus declared love of neighbor, not specifically mentioned among the original ten, to be the second greatest commandment.

We have dealt also with Biblical lists of theological and cardinal virtues, gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, and capital sins. Maybe we can say that it is the Theological Virtue of Charity or Love which is the proper motivation for Works of Mercy. Charity is also a Fruit, though not a gift, of the Holy Spirit. It is something we must choose to exercise.


Works of Mercy in Sacred Scripture (In Context – See Bold Print)

From the Prophet Isaiah – Isaiah 58 –  Cry out full-throated and unsparingly, lift up your voice like a trumpet blast; Tell my people their wickedness, and the house of Jacob their sins.  They seek me day after day, and desire to know my ways, like a nation that has done what is just and not abandoned the law of their God; They ask me to declare what is due them, pleased to gain access to God. “Why do we fast, and you do not see it? afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?” Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers. Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked claw. Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on high!  Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: That a man bow his head like a reed, and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? 

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am! If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday;  Then the LORD will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land. He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails. The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake, and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up; “Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you, “Restorer of ruined homesteads.”  If you hold back your foot on the sabbath from following your own pursuits on my holy day; If you call the sabbath a delight, and the LORD’S holy day honorable; If you honor it by not following your ways, seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice– Then you shall delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. 

And from Jesus Christ – Matthew 25:31-46  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’

And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’

Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’  And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” 

Works of Mercy in the Catechism (In Context – See Bold Print)

The Works of Mercy are found in the Catechism in Part Three (Life in Christ), Article 7 (The Seventh Commandment), Section VI (Love for the Poor.) The Seventh Commandment is, “Thou Shalt Not Steal.” The reason Works of Mercy are found there can be seen in Paragraph 2446 below.

2443 God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from them: “Give to him who begs from you, do not refuse him who would borrow from you”; “you received without pay, give without pay.” It is by what they have done for the poor that Jesus Christ will recognize his chosen ones. When “the poor have the good news preached to them,” it is the sign of Christ’s presence.

2444 “The Church’s love for the poor . . . is a part of her constant tradition.” This love is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, of the poverty of Jesus, and of his concern for the poor. Love for the poor is even one of the motives for the duty of working so as to “be able to give to those in need.” It extends not only to material poverty but also to the many forms of cultural and religious poverty.

2445 Love for the poor is incompatible with immoderate love of riches or their selfish use:

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.

2446 St. John Chrysostom vigorously recalls this: “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. the goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.” “The demands of justice must be satisfied first of all; that which is already due in justice is not to be offered as a gift of charity”:

When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.

2447 The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. the corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:

He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none and he who has food must do likewise. But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you. If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?

2448 “In its various forms – material deprivation, unjust oppression, physical and psychological illness and death – human misery is the obvious sign of the inherited condition of frailty and need for salvation in which man finds himself as a consequence of original sin. This misery elicited the compassion of Christ the Savior, who willingly took it upon himself and identified himself with the least of his brethren. Hence, those who are oppressed by poverty are the object of a preferential love on the part of the Church which, since her origin and in spite of the failings of many of her members, has not ceased to work for their relief, defense, and liberation through numerous works of charity which remain indispensable always and everywhere.”

2449 Beginning with the Old Testament, all kinds of juridical measures (the jubilee year of forgiveness of debts, prohibition of loans at interest and the keeping of collateral, the obligation to tithe, the daily payment of the day-laborer, the right to glean vines and fields) answer the exhortation of Deuteronomy: “For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in the land.'” Jesus makes these words his own: “The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” In so doing he does not soften the vehemence of former oracles against “buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals . . .,” but invites us to recognize his own presence in the poor who are his brethren:

Works of Mercy in New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia

So, for any who are thoroughly confused now, New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia presents a very simple listing of the fourteen Works of Mercy.

Mercy as it is here contemplated is said to be a virtue influencing one’s will to have compassion for, and, if possible, to alleviate another’s misfortune. It is the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas that although mercy is as it were the spontaneous product of charity, yet it is to be reckoned a special virtue adequately distinguishable from this latter. In fact the Scholastics in cataloguing it consider it to be referable to the quality of justice mainly because, like justice, it controls relations between distinct persons. It is as they say ad alterum. Its motive is the misery which one discerns in another, particularly in so far as this condition is deemed to be, in some sense at least, involuntary. Obviously the necessity which is to be succoured can be either of body or soul. Hence it is customary to enumerate both corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

The traditional enumeration of the corporal works of mercy is as follows:

  1. To feed the hungry;
  2. To give drink to the thirsty;
  3. To clothe the naked;
  4. To harbour the harbourless;
  5. To visit the sick;
  6. To ransom the captive;
  7. To bury the dead.

The spiritual works of mercy are:

  1. To instruct the ignorant;
  2. To counsel the doubtful;
  3. To admonish sinners;
  4. To bear wrongs patiently;
  5. To forgive offences willingly;
  6. To comfort the afflicted;
  7. To pray for the living and the dead.

If you haven’t had enough, Read More explanation from New Advent.

Art below from Wikipedia.

July 17 – Listening for and to God

mary marthaFather Fryml led a discussion on silence in the presence of God and listening to God as essentials of Christian prayer. There are numerous commands and instructions in the Bible and in the Catechism about speaking to God and about staying busy with good works, but, for today, the theme is listening in silence.

Prayer in the Catechism

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines prayer as “a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God.” (Paragraph 2558) Following paragraphs state that “humility is the foundation of prayer,” and that “the life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of the thrice-holy God and in communion with him.” Following these introductory comments are about 75 pages on Christian Prayer in Part Four of the Catechism, all consistent with the principles of humility in the presence of God, in relationship and communion with Him. And that suggests we should shut up and listen as well as speak.

Advice from Jesus on Prayer

Matthew 6:5-8  “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Samuel Listening to God

1 Samuel 3:8-10  The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time. Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.” Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth. So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'” When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Other Examples of Responses to the Presence of God – “Here I am.”

Genesis 46:1-2  Israel set out with all that was his. When he arrived at Beer-sheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. There God, speaking to Israel in a vision by night, called, “Jacob! Jacob!” “Here I am,” he answered.

Exodus 3:2-4  There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush. As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed. So Moses decided, “I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned.” When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.”

1 Samuel 3:2-4  One day Eli was asleep in his usual place. His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see. The lamp of God was not yet extinguished, and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was. The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”

Psalm 40:2-9   I waited, waited for the LORD; who bent down and heard my cry, Drew me out of the pit of destruction, out of the mud of the swamp, Set my feet upon rock, steadied my steps, and put a new song in my mouth, a hymn to our God. Many shall look on in awe and they shall trust in the LORD. Happy those whose trust is the LORD, who turn not to idolatry or to those who stray after falsehood. How numerous, O LORD, my God, you have made your wondrous deeds! And in your plans for us there is none to equal you. Should I wish to declare or tell them, too many are they to recount. Sacrifice and offering you do not want; but ears open to obedience you gave me. Holocausts and sin-offerings you do not require; so I said, “Here I am; your commands for me are written in the scroll. To do your will is my delight; my God, your law is in my heart!”

Psalm 70:5-6  But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you. May those who long for your help always say, “God be glorified!” Here I am, afflicted and poor. God, come quickly! You are my help and deliverer. LORD, do not delay!

The Call and Response of Isaiah

Isaiah 6:1-8   In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple. Seraphim were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they veiled their faces, with two they veiled their feet, and with two they hovered aloft. “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!” they cried one to the other. “All the earth is filled with his glory!” At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with it. “See,” he said, “now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” “Here I am,” I said; “send me!”

God Speaking through the Prophet Isaiah Declares His Presence

Isaiah 65:1-2  I was ready to respond to those who asked me not, to be found by those who sought me not. I said: Here I am! Here I am! To a nation that did not call upon my name. I have stretched out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in evil paths and follow their own thoughts,

Isaiah 52:5-6  But now, what am I to do here? says the LORD. My people have been taken away without redress; their rulers make a boast of it, says the LORD; all the day my name is constantly reviled. Therefore on that day my people shall know my renown, that it is I who have foretold it. Here I am!

Isaiah 58:9-11  Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am! If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday;  Then the LORD will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land. He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.

And These about Silence in the Presence of God

Deuteronomy 27:9-10   Moses, with the levitical priests, then said to all Israel: “Be silent, O Israel, and listen! This day you have become the people of the LORD, your God. You shall therefore hearken to the voice of the LORD, your God, and keep his commandments and statutes which I enjoin on you today.”

Job 6:24  Teach me, and I will be silent; prove to me wherein I have erred.

Job 33:31-33   Be attentive, O Job; listen to me! Be silent and I will speak. If you have aught to say, then answer me. Speak out! I should like to see you justified. If not, then do you listen to me; be silent while I teach you wisdom.

Psalm 4:4-5  Know that the LORD works wonders for the faithful; the LORD hears when I call out. Tremble and do not sin; upon your beds ponder in silence.

Lamentations 3:25-28  Good is the LORD to one who waits for him, to the soul that seeks him; It is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the LORD.  It is good for a man to bear the yoke from his youth.  Let him sit alone and in silence, when it is laid upon him.

Habakkuk 2:20  But the LORD is in his holy temple; silence before him, all the earth!

Zechariah 2:17   Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD! for he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.

And a Reminder that God May Speak Very Quietly

1 Kings 19:11-13  Then the LORD said, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD– but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake– but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire– but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?”

Gospel of Matthew – Structure

For the last few days Mass readings have been from the Gospel of Matthew. While there is great wisdom and truth in the individual readings, it seems that richness of understanding is increased if we understand how they fit into the literary structure of the Gospel. Here is a good link to a source explaining the basics of that structure, work by Dr. Felix Just. Below is the pertinent exhibit from that source. If you click on the link, you will also find a complete outline of Matthew alongside comparisons with the other two Synoptic Gospels, Mark and Luke. Note we have been reading from the second of five discourses of Jesus in the Gospel.

Bottom line is that we don’t know if Jesus delivered these words in Matthew 10 in the order written in the Gospel or even at the time indicated, but we do know that the divinely inspired Gospel writer composed his gospel of the materials and information he had in the form in which we read it today. It is fascinating that the Gospel is organized around these five discourses, separated by narratives and ending with the Passion and Resurrection Narrative.

This discourse we have just been reading begins with Matthew 10:1 (Then he summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. ) and ends with Matthew 11:1 (When Jesus finished giving these commands to his twelve disciples, he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.) The other four discourses in Matthew are bracketed by similar beginning and ending phrases so watch for those when reading the Gospel.

In an earlier post I quoted some of Dr. Just’s work on the Psalms.


The Sins of the Father and his Sons

Who can name the twelve sons of Israel (Jacob) in order of birth and give the names of their mothers? Almost nobody I guess. I couldn’t, even now, after writing it all down. They are in the bold print below, daughter Dinah included. I hope this list will come in handy for future reference.

From dysfunctional family to forgiveness and God’s Love and Grace, this is a fascinating story. I see a Netflix series that would be spellbinding, the average person being as shocked at the ending as many fans of The Americans were at seeing daughter Paige standing on the train platform as her Russian spy parents left the station to avoid arrest and prosecution.

We hear all the stories, usually one at a time, without much context, but reading these sixteen chapters of Genesis in one sitting pulls it all together. In spite of all the sins and sinning and sinfulness, we have this statement of faith from Joseph, at the end, as he forgives his brothers: Genesis 50:20 (NABRE) Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve this present end, the survival of many people. And then there is that ominous eighth verse of the first chapter of Exodus, the beginning of the story of Moses. This story is great theological truth in an ancient literary masterpiece.

Joseph, by the way, comes through the whole story as virtuous and upright except that it does bother me that he devised and implemented a plan to confiscate all the wealth of the people and turn it over to the Pharaoh. Maybe that Pharaoh was a benevolent and loving dictator with the best interests of the citizens at heart, but there is always that next king. Maybe this story was in his mind when Samuel warned the people (1 Samuel 8) about the problems with kings.

And, the story goes on. We should not be surprised when we learn that the twelve tribes named after the twelve sons end up fighting and dividing and being conquered by Assyrians and Babylonians.


July 3, 2019 – Faith and Doubt

An internet search for “faith and doubt” brought up several links, the most interesting of which seemed to be this blog post by Thomas Savoie, about whom I know nothing except that he professes to be a serious Catholic, published on The purpose of that blog is:

To reflect on Aristotle’s great maxim: “The unexamined life isn’t worth living”  by discussing philosophy, faith and science. Dedicated to my favorite heroes of philosophy: St Augustine and Aristotle

That purpose and Mr. Savoie’s post on faith and doubt seem to me to be consistent with using our minds as commanded by Jesus and as suggested by the Catechism:

Matthew 22:37 – He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

Catechism Part 3, Section 1, Chapter 1, Article 6 – MORAL CONSCIENCE – 1776 “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment…. For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God…. His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.

You can read the blog post Faith and Doubt HERE. I found myself in general agreement with his points, so, if you find problems with his positions, let me know where I am going wrong.


Catechism on Church

Often in these posts I reference Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, two important documents I find to be well aligned. The post on New Testament references to church was so long, I decided the Catechism references had to go in a different post. So, here it is, a followup to the MPG discussion of June 26.

There is a significant section about the Church in the Catechism. It is found in the section on the Creed and is organized around the statement that we “believe in one holy, catholic, and apostolic church.” I could copy and past the whole thing here but it is best read from the Vatican document.  The section can be read at the Vatican Website. I wonder how many Catholics will find therein surprising statements, even some with which they disagree.