Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

"Faith Seeking Understanding" for August 28, 2005

Apart from being the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, today is also the Memorial of St. Augustine of Hippo, the great Father and Doctor of the Church. St. Augustine (354-430 AD), perhaps the greatest theologian the Catholic Church has ever known, is most famous for his book The Confessions, which details his own conversion from a wild and carefree youth to a saintly, faith-filled Bishop. During this tumultuous time in the Roman Empire, Augustine wrote The City of God, describing how two “cities” – the City of God and the City of Man – dwell side by side, intermingled throughout history. In reality, the two cities are opposed; we are either for God or against him. No middle ground exists. He is also known for expounding on the Blessed Trinity; for analyzing the theology of Grace and Justification; and particularly for arguing against the Manichaeans, a Gnostic sect that denied the goodness of creation. St. Augustine is a marvelous example of how even the most “committed” sinner can be embraced by God’s mercy and forgiveness. His books are still printed, even today, and are classics of Western literature. I strongly recommend The Confessions as rich and fruitful for spiritual reading.

Tomorrow, we remember the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. You can find the story detailed in Mark 6:17-29. We read that the Baptist was beheaded by King Herod at the request of Herodias’ daughter, because St. John would not approve of Herod’s illegitimate marriage to his brother’s wife. Such a forceful defense of marriage, in direct opposition to the King, earned him the martyr’s crown. Happy and healthy marriages – and families – are the foundation of a virtuous society.

This week, my own parents are celebrating their 31st Wedding Anniversary. I am tremendously grateful for the guidance and example they have given my siblings and me as they taught us the Faith and passed on their love for our Lord and His Church. In some way, they and all married couples stand with St. John the Baptist, proclaiming the truth about marriage in the face of a hostile culture.

Sadly, even among Catholics, it is common to find engaged couples “living together” before marriage. The divorce rate among Catholics is reportedly the same as the rest of society. We have not read or understood the teaching on contraception found in the encyclicals Humanæ Vitæ and Veritatis Splendor. And now we even hear of same-sex “marriage.” Are we prepared to defend the sanctity of marriage, the importance of family life, and marital fidelity against our culture today? Much in our culture stands in the way of successful marriages. Self-sacrifice, self-denial, and penance are thought of as outmoded. Widespread pornography feeds on the “me-first” culture, and tears families apart. What can we do?

Begin by praying at home, especially prayers before and after meals; eat family meals together, and talk about the Faith; come to the Sacrament of Penance regularly; make Sunday Mass the first priority of the week, and discuss the readings and the Homily as a family; finally, practice penance and works of mercy together as a family. Fasting from television, the internet, computer games, or desserts isn’t just for Lent: by practicing penance on Fridays throughout the year, we begin to die to ourselves and our desires, allowing a spirit of generosity and charity to reign in our hearts. Also, participation in Whole Community Catechesis this coming Fall will help us build a culture of life and healthy and holy families. Please pray for priests and for families! God bless you all!