Thursday, October 2nd, 2008
Great art can tell more than one story at a time. For example, take the image above. While pondering it, we are taught a whole lesson on the solicitude of the guardian angels. Given the expression on the angel’s face, we are to conclude only one thing–it loves the soul it embraces. At the same time, we are reminded of St. Francis’ humble and gentle surrender to grace. The expression on his face tells us of his complete trust in the one embracing him. And there is a third story told here. On both faces, God is glorified.
Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Guardian Angels. Click here for a short essay summarizing the Church’s doctrine regarding these invisible friends of ours. Study also the Gospel for today’s Mass. It is key in defining our doctrine and shaping our devotion.
On Saturday, we turn our attention, like the angel above, to Holy Father Francis.
For a great article on St. Thomas Aquinas’ doctrine of the guardian angels, click here. Written by Marguerite Kussmaul, this brief essay appeared in the October 1, 1999, edition of Catholic Insight.
For something high on rhetoric but low on substance, click below and watch a brief clip of Biography‘s treatment of Aquinas and the angels. (FWIW – Yes, I do believe that Aquinas’ was the greatest mind of the thirteenth century, but the clip barrels downhill from there. It’s odd that while trying to honor St. Thomas one would run roughshod over the precision of his thought.)
God our Father, in your loving providence you send your angels to watch over us. Hear our prayers, defend us always by their protection and let us share your life with them forever.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Yesterday the Catholic Bishops of New York issued a statement entitled “Our Cherished Right, Our Solemn Duty.” In it the bishops reflect on the duties and responsibilities Catholics have in democratic societies.
Discipleship should shape our public life, the bishops argue, for faith in Jesus Christ adds clarity to our moral reasoning. As believers in the one who shows us perfect humanity, we Christians enjoy a privileged vantage point from which to promote and defend the common good. Faith aids reason to establish the right “hierarchy of values” according to which prudential political decisions should be made.
Every four years, 12 months prior to the presidential election, the Bishops of the United States issue a statement calling Catholics to faithful citizenship. Simply put, faithful citizenship refers to our duty as Catholics to be full participants in the public square in order to make our nation and the world a better and more just place. With this duty comes the responsibility to exercise our right to vote and to be engaged in the political process. This right did not come easily, having been bought with the blood of our forebears and protected through the centuries by our Constitution and the men and women in uniform who defend it.
We Catholics are called to look at politics as we are called to look at everything – through the lens of our faith. While we are free to join any political party that we choose or none at all, we must be cautious when we vote not to be guided solely by party loyalty nor by self interest. Rather, we should be guided in evaluating the important issues facing our state and nation by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of His Church.
[. . .]
It is the rare candidate who will agree with the Church on every issue. But as the U.S. Bishops’ recent document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship makes clear, not every issue is of equal moral gravity. The inalienable right to life of every innocent human person outweighs other concerns where Catholics may use prudential judgment, such as how best to meet the needs of the poor or to increase access to health care for all.
The right to life is the right through which all others flow. To the extent candidates reject this fundamental right by supporting an objective evil, such as legal abortion, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research, Catholics should consider them less acceptable for public office. As Faithful Citizenship teaches, “Those who knowingly, willingly, and directly support public policies or legislation that undermine fundamental moral principles cooperate with evil.”
The statement concludes with a list of questions useful for evaluating candidates’ platforms.
To read the entire statement, click here.