Sunday, October 11, 2015



Posting here will be very sporadic for the foreseeable future. If we are particularly inspired to post something, or if there are important notices regarding the Society, then you will see a new post!

In the meantime, be sure to “like” the St. Gregory the Great Face Book page for links to interesting articles and news. Even if you are not a FB user, it may be possible to view the page.

We will continue to update the “Coming Events” section with the Mass times and any changes to be noted.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Traditional Latin Mass Should be Made Available

The year was 2008, following Pope Benedict’s promulgation of his apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum in July of the previous year.   Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, was President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.
As President of said Commission, His Eminence was appointed directly by the Pope as the official spokesman for the Holy See on matters pertaining to relations with the Society of St Pius X, as well as with what the Holy Father referred to (in Summorum Pontificum and its cover letter to the bishops) as “the extraordinary form”, the “older usage”, the “classical Roman Rite”, etc. Thus His Eminence’s comments can rightly be taken as expressing the thought of the Supreme Pontiff himself, unless otherwise indicated as his own personal thoughts.

At the June 15, 2008, London press interview with the Cardinal, in conjunction with a major conference of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, His Eminence was asked by a reporter from The Telegraph, one of the country’s major newspapers:

Damian Thompson: So would the Pope like to see many ordinary parishes making provision for the Gregorian Rite?

Cardinal Castrillón: All the parishes. Not ‘many’ – all the parishes, because this is a gift of God. He offers these riches, and it is very important for new generations to know the past of the Church. This kind of worship is so noble, so beautiful – the deepest theologians’ way to express our faith. The worship, the music, the architecture, the painting, makes a whole that is a treasure. The Holy Father is willing to offer to all the people this possibility, not only for the few groups who demand it but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist in the Catholic Church.

In his introduction for an instructional video about the EF Mass, the Cardinal also said:

All this liturgical richness, all this spiritual richness, and all the prayers so well-preserved during the centuries, all of this is offered by the Rome of today for all.   As a gift for all, it is not a gift merely for the so-called traditionalists.  No, it is a gift for the whole Catholic Church.

The “sacred silence” and contemplation of the ancient rite, the cardinal said, “makes present the Lord Jesus in an expression of rich liturgical beauty, as the conqueror of death and sin… this rite brought unity to the faith and became the single expression through which the Church adores God.”

The cardinal said that parishes and priests should make available the Extraordinary Form so that “everyone may have access to this treasure of the ancient liturgy of the Church.” He also stressed that, “even if it is not specifically asked for, or requested” it should be provided. Interestingly, he added that the Pope wants this Mass to become normal in parishes, so that “young communities can also become familiar with this rite.” 

[See Fr. Z’s report of the above on his blog, here.]

Sunday, September 13, 2015

To Lose One's Life, Or Save It

A Homily by Fr. Eric M. Andersen
St. Stephen Catholic Church, Portland
September 13th, 2015
Dominica XXIV Per Annum, Anno B

“whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.”

These words might call to mind the bloody martyrdom of Christians in the early Roman Empire, or even today in the Middle East. But one need not be a martyr in order to fulfill these words. There is also the unbloody martyrdom of living a pure and holy life. This coming Thursday, Sept 17th, the Franciscan Order commemorates the imprinting of the Sacred Stigmata into the hands, feet, and side of their holy founder St. Francis of Assisi. In his biography of St. Francis, St. Bonaventure writes this account:
  "Two years before he gave his spirit back to heaven after many and varied labors, he was led apart by divine providence to a high place which is called Mount La Verna. When according to his usual custom he had begun to fast there for forty days in honor of St. Michael the Archangel, he experienced more abundantly than usual an overflow of the sweetness of heavenly contemplation, he burned with a stronger flame of heavenly desires, and he began to experience more fully the gifts of heavenly grace (Ch. 13.1).
  Through divine inspiration he had learned that if he opened the book of the Gospel, Christ would reveal to him what God considered most acceptable in him and from him. After praying with much devotion, he took the book of the Gospels from the altar and had his companion, a holy man dedicated to God, open it three times in the name of the Holy Trinity. When all three times the book was opened the Lord’s passion always met his eyes, the man filled with God understood that just as he had imitated Christ in the actions of his life, so he should be conformed to him in the affliction and sorrow of his passion, before he would pass out of this world (John 13:1). And although his body was already weakened by the great austerity of his past life and his continual carrying of the Lord’s cross, he was in no way terrified but was inspired even more vigorously to endure martyrdom (13.2).
  …On a certain morning about the feast of the Exultation of the Cross, while Francis was praying on the mountainside, he saw a Seraph with six fiery and shining wings descend from the height of heaven. And when in swift flight the Seraph had reached a spot in the air near the man of God, there appeared between the wings the figure of a man crucified, with his hands and feet extended in the form of a cross and fastened to a cross…When Francis saw this, he was overwhelmed and his heart was flooded with a mixture of joy and sorrow. He rejoiced because of the gracious way Christ looked upon him under the appearance of the Seraph, but the fact that he was fastened to a cross pierced his soul with a sword of compassionate sorrow (Luke 2:35).

  …Eventually he understood by a revelation from the Lord that divine providence had shown him this vision so that, as Christ’s lover, he might learn in advance that he was to be totally transformed into the likeness of Christ crucified, not by the martyrdom of his flesh, but by the fire of his love consuming his soul.
  As the vision disappeared, it left in his heart a marvelous ardor and imprinted on his body markings that were no less marvelous. Immediately the marks of nails began to appear in his hands and feet just as he had seen a little before in the figure of the man crucified. …Also his right side, as if pierced with a lance, was marked with a red wound from which his sacred blood often flowed, moistening his tunic and undergarments (13.3).
  When…the forty days were over that he had planned to spend in solitude, and the feast of St. Michael the Archangel had also arrived, the angelic man Francis came down from the mountain, bearing with him the image of the Crucified, which was depicted not on tablets of stone, or on panels of wood by the hands of a craftsman, but engraved in the members of his body by the finger of the living God… (13.5).

  St. Francis was not called to martyrdom, but he endured suffering for the sake of the gospel. He did so not only by a life of self-denial, or mortification of the flesh, but also by praying for and accepting the very wounds of Jesus Christ onto his own mortal flesh. He did not wish to save his life, but to lose it for the sake of Christ. I remember many years ago when I was first discerning priesthood, that I wrote to my great aunt, Sr. Dolorine of the Immaculate Conception, a Franciscan sister, in her 90s at the time. I shared with her my romantic notion of wishing to suffer for Christ for the conversion of souls. She responded by saying, 'Dear great nephew, you do not have to ask for suffering, you will get plenty of it without asking.'
  Suffering is a stumbling block for many. We should never wish suffering on another person. When we love another person, it hurts us to see him or her suffer. We wish that we could take their suffering away. We might even pray to God that we might take some of their suffering so that they might be relieved and spared. Is that not just what Our Lord is asking from us? He asks us to imitate Him, to take on some of His sufferings, for the sake of His Body, the Church.
  “‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’ If there is any one who must follow Jesus, it is he who seeks after perfection. But how can a lover of pleasure, of honors, of riches follow Jesus? How can one follow Christ, if one is unwilling to carry his cross daily––the cross that God Himself has chosen for him and sent to him?” (Tanquerey, The Spiritual Life, ¶761). St. Francis was given his own share in the cross. But each of us has his or her own special cross chosen for us by God. It is special. As Jesus embraced His Cross and loved His Cross, let us consider how we must love the Cross given to us to carry. Let us give thanks to God for it everyday. Let us praise God for the Cross He has chosen for us. In that praise and thanksgiving, we will discover consolation, healing, and salvation by embracing and loving our cross, by taking it up daily and following Him.    

Friday, September 4, 2015

About Our Masses

 The date for the next Extraordinary Form (aka Latin Mass) at St. Francis in Bend, Oregon, is this coming Sunday (September 6, 2015) at 1:30 PM.  Here after celebrations of the Latin Mass at St. Francis will occur every other week (September 20, September 29th, October 4th, etc) at 1:30.

The Latin Mass at St. Francis is sanctioned and sponsored by Bishop Cary, but is not funded by Baker Diocese or St. Francis Parish.  The Society of Saint Gregory the Great (SSGG) defrays all expenses connected with celebrating the Latin Mass at St. Francis.  The Society and its members, however, also contribute to the financial support of St. Francis Parish.

It costs the Society $160.00 to bring in a priest to offer each scheduled Mass.  Approximately 70% of this sum is used to pay the priest’s mileage expenses round-trip to and from Chiloquin (222 miles).  This expense will continue until such a time as a Priest residing in Deschutes County or the northern end of Klamath County is made available.  

Please help the SSGG continue to have the resources to sustain the Latin Mass at St. Francis.

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Apostolic Letter "Summorum Pontificum" issued Motu Proprio
Benedict XVI

On Saturday 7 July 2007 Pope Benedict XVI issued an Apostolic Letter on the celebration of the Roman Rite according to the Missal of 1962. The following text is the unofficial Vatican Information Service translation of the official Latin text.

Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, 'to the praise and glory of His name,' and 'to the benefit of all His Holy Church.'
Since time immemorial it has been necessary - as it is also for the future - to maintain the principle according to which 'each particular Church must concur with the universal Church, not only as regards the doctrine of the faith and the sacramental signs, but also as regards the usages universally accepted by uninterrupted apostolic tradition, which must be observed not only to avoid errors but also to transmit the integrity of the faith, because the Church's law of prayer corresponds to her law of faith.' (1)
Among the pontiffs who showed that requisite concern, particularly outstanding is the name of St. Gregory the Great, who made every effort to ensure that the new peoples of Europe received both the Catholic faith and the treasures of worship and culture that had been accumulated by the Romans in preceding centuries. He commanded that the form of the sacred liturgy as celebrated in Rome (concerning both the Sacrifice of Mass and the Divine Office) be conserved. He took great concern to ensure the dissemination of monks and nuns who, following the Rule of St. Benedict, together with the announcement of the Gospel illustrated with their lives the wise provision of their Rule that 'nothing should be placed before the work of God.' In this way the sacred liturgy, celebrated according to the Roman use, enriched not only the faith and piety but also the culture of many peoples. It is known, in fact, that the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated their piety.
Many other Roman pontiffs, in the course of the centuries, showed particular solicitude in ensuring that the sacred liturgy accomplished this task more effectively. Outstanding among them is St. Pius V who, sustained by great pastoral zeal and following the exhortations of the Council of Trent, renewed the entire liturgy of the Church, oversaw the publication of liturgical books amended and 'renewed in accordance with the norms of the Fathers,' and provided them for the use of the Latin Church.
One of the liturgical books of the Roman rite is the Roman Missal, which developed in the city of Rome and, with the passing of the centuries, little by little took forms very similar to that it has had in recent times.
"It was towards this same goal that succeeding Roman Pontiffs directed their energies during the subsequent centuries in order to ensure that the rites and liturgical books were brought up to date and when necessary clarified. From the beginning of this century they undertook a more general reform.' (2) Thus our predecessors Clement VIII, Urban VIII, St. Pius X (3), Benedict XV, Pius XII and Blessed John XXIII all played a part.
In more recent times, Vatican Council II expressed a desire that the respectful reverence due to divine worship should be renewed and adapted to the needs of our time. Moved by this desire our predecessor, the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI, approved, in 1970, reformed and partly renewed liturgical books for the Latin Church. These, translated into the various languages of the world, were willingly accepted by bishops, priests and faithful. John Paul II amended the third typical edition of the Roman Missal. Thus Roman pontiffs have operated to ensure that 'this kind of liturgical edifice ... should again appear resplendent for its dignity and harmony.' (4)
But in some regions, no small numbers of faithful adhered and continue to adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms. These had so deeply marked their culture and their spirit that in 1984 the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, moved by a concern for the pastoral care of these faithful, with the special indult 'Quattuor abhinc anno," issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship, granted permission to use the Roman Missal published by Blessed John XXIII in the year 1962. Later, in the year 1988, John Paul II with the Apostolic Letter given as Motu Proprio, 'Ecclesia Dei,' exhorted bishops to make generous use of this power in favor of all the faithful who so desired.
Following the insistent prayers of these faithful, long deliberated upon by our predecessor John Paul II, and after having listened to the views of the Cardinal Fathers of the Consistory of 22 March 2006, having reflected deeply upon all aspects of the question, invoked the Holy Spirit and trusting in the help of God, with these Apostolic Letters we establish the following:

Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the 'Lex orandi' (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same 'Lex orandi,' and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church's Lex orandi will in no any way lead to a division in the Church's 'Lex credendi' (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.

It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church. The conditions for the use of this Missal as laid down by earlier documents 'Quattuor abhinc annis' and 'Ecclesia Dei,' are substituted as follows:

Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary.

Art. 3. Communities of Institutes of consecrated life and of Societies of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962, for conventual or "community" celebration in their oratories, may do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken by the Superiors Major, in accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statues.

Art. 4. Celebrations of Mass as mentioned above in art.
2 may - observing all the norms of law - also be attended by faithful who, of their own free will, ask to be admitted.

Art. 5. § 1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.

§ 2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.
§ 3 For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages.
§ 4 Priests who use the Missal of Bl. John XXIII must be qualified to do so and not juridically impeded.
§ 5 In churches that are not parish or conventual churches, it is the duty of the Rector of the church to grant the above permission.

Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognised by the Apostolic See.

Art. 7. If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 õ 1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

Art. 8. A bishop who, desirous of satisfying such requests, but who for various reasons is unable to do so, may refer the problem to the Commission "Ecclesia Dei" to obtain counsel and assistance.

Art. 9. § 1 The pastor, having attentively examined all aspects, may also grant permission to use the earlier ritual for the administration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, Penance, and the Anointing of the Sick, if the good of souls would seem to require it.

§ 2 Ordinaries are given the right to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation using the earlier Roman Pontifical, if the good of souls would seem to require it.
§ 3 Clerics ordained "in sacris constitutis" may use the Roman Breviary promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962.

Art. 10. The ordinary of a particular place, if he feels it appropriate, may erect a personal parish in accordance with can. 518 for celebrations following the ancient form of the Roman rite, or appoint a chaplain, while observing all the norms of law.

Art. 11. The Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", erected by John Paul II in 1988
(5), continues to exercise its function. Said Commission will have the form, duties and norms that the Roman Pontiff wishes to assign it.

Art. 12. This Commission, apart from the powers it enjoys, will exercise the authority of the Holy See, supervising the observance and application of these dispositions.

We order that everything We have established with these Apostolic Letters issued as Motu Proprio be considered as "established and decreed", and to be observed from
14 September of this year, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, whatever there may be to the contrary.

From Rome, at St. Peter's, 7 July 2007, third year of Our Pontificate.

Pope Benedict XVI

(1) General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 3rd ed., 2002, no. 397.    [back to text]
(2) John Paul II, Apostolic Letter "Vicesimus quintus annus," 4 December 1988, 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.    [back to text]

(3) Ibid.    [
back to text]
(4) St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Motu propio data, "Abhinc duos annos," 23 October 1913: AAS 5 (1913), 449-450; cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter "Vicesimus quintus annus," no. 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.    [back to text]
(5) Cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Motu proprio data "Ecclesia Dei," 2 July 1988, 6: AAS 80 (1988), 1498.    [back to text]

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Feast of the Beheading of John the Baptist

This is a re-post of a homily by Fr. Eric Andersen, who is currently at St. Stephen's in Portland, OR. This post first appeared on this blog three years ago.

A homily by Fr. Eric M. Andersen, on The Passion of St. John the Baptist

“It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.” Death has no power over these words (cf. Gueranger. The Liturgical Year. vol. 14., p. 109). A tyrant may put to death the man who speaks these words, but he cannot put these words to death. They are truth itself. “It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.” This is not a man made law. This is God’s eternal law that cannot be broken without dire consequences.

These are the dire consequences:

“Josephus relates how [Herod Antipas] was overcome by the Arabian Aretas, whose daughter he had repudiated in order to follow his wicked passions; and the Jews attributed the defeat to the murder of St. John. He was deposed by Rome from his tetrarchate, and banished to Lyons in Gaul, where the ambitious Herodias shared his disgrace. As to her dancing daughter Salome, there is a tradition gathered from ancient authors, that, having gone out one winter day to dance upon a frozen river, she fell through into the water; the ice, immediately closing round her neck, cut off her head, which bounded upon the surface, thus continuing for some moments the dance of death" (Gueranger 112).

This feast actually celebrates four events. The first event is the beheading itself. “The second event is the burning and gathering, or collecting, of St. John’s bones” (Voragine, The Golden Legend. Vol II., p. 135). This is called the second martyrdom of St. John the Baptist. His disciples had buried his body at Sebaste, a city in Palestine…and many miracles had occurred at his tomb (cf. Voragine 135). “For this reason the pagans, by order of Julian the Apostate, scattered his bones, but the miracles did not cease, and the bones were collected, burned, and pulverized, and the ashes thrown to the winds to be blown over the fields…” (135). On the day when the bones were collected to be burned, some monks from Jerusalem secretly mingled with the pagans and carried out many of the relics, saving them from destruction. They delivered these to Philip, bishop of Jerusalem, who sent them to Anastasius, the bishop of Alexandria. During the Crusades, many of them were brought into the West and distributed among many churches.

The third event commemorated on this feast is the finding of the head of St. John the Baptist which happened on this day. It is said that when John was beheaded, Herodias had John’s head taken to Jerusalem to be buried because “she feared that the prophet would return to life if his head was buried with his body. Four hundred years later some monks took the head to venerate it in a more proper place. It was stolen and hidden in a cave. The man who stole it revealed on his deathbed where it was, but the hiding place was kept secret for a long time. Many years later, a holy monk, St. Marcellus, had taken up residence in this cave. It was revealed to him where the head was hidden. The head was then enshrined in a beautiful church in Poitiers in France.

The fourth event is the translation of one of St. John’s fingers and the dedication of a church. The finger with which he pointed to the Lord, could not be burned. The finger made its way to Normandy, France where a church was built in honor of St. John the Baptist. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Why Ad Orientem? A Short Video Explanation

Here's an instructive video, with this description on You Tube:

Published on Jul 25, 2014
One of the most obvious differences between the Old Rite of Mass and the Novus Ordo is the direction in which the priest faces.

Worship 'ad orientem', or facing East, is an ancient practice going back to the earliest centuries of the Church. Criticised by advocates of the New Mass as 'the priest turning his back to the people', it is nothing of the sort. Quite the reverse, in fact, it unites priest and people in a deep and spiritual way unheard of in most Novus Ordo celebrations.

Here Dr Joseph Shaw explains the ancient roots of Mass facing East, its theological and spiritual symbolism, and why arguments claiming that Mass facing the people was the practice in the early Church are totally spurious.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Fr. Andersen Homily: Becoming New Through Confession and the Eucharist

Homily for Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

Fr. Eric M. Andersen
August 2nd, 2015
St. Stephen Catholic Church

Dominica XVIII Per Annum, Anno B

  The philosophers and scientists of Ancient Greece and Rome had incredible intellects: Socrates, Plato, & Aristotle––to name a few. God gave them their intellect as He gives it to all of us. Man can achieve amazing things through the use of his God-given genius. It might sometimes seem like nothing is beyond what man can achieve through science. We turn to science to unlock the mysteries of creation and to reveal the truth. Science is always progressing. Truth however, does not progress. Truth was truth in the beginning, is now, and it ever shall be truth. 
  The great men of antiquity discovered and passed on to us the fruits of their inquiry by the natural use of their minds. Yet, as great as they were, these great men of science from pagan antiquity represent the old man, about which St. Paul writes. The old man has much to commend him. The natural state of man is pretty amazing, by God’s design; but it pales in comparison with the supernatural state of man––also by God’s design. Who, then, is the new man? If the old man is one in his natural state, the new man is one in a supernatural state, elevated by God with sanctifying grace. St. Paul teaches us that we are to put off the old man and put on the new man. 
  St. Thomas writes: “The substance of human nature is not to be rejected or despoiled, but only wicked actions and conduct” (Aquinas. Commentary on Ephesians. C.4 L.7 §241). First, we must be renewed in the spirit of our mind, which refers to our rational spirit. Here is a good example of how pagan antiquity got it right, but not fully. Aristotle observed that human beings are distinguished above all other creatures by their rational intellectual souls. St. Thomas Aquinas is famous for christianizing the philosophy of Aristotle. St. Thomas corrected it based upon his own intellect having been elevated by means of sanctifying grace. Aristotle represents the old man; St. Thomas represents the new man of grace.   

  The ancient Greek and Roman philosophers sought truth, and by the natural use of their reason, they came close. They discovered some truth, but not the fullness of truth. The fullness of truth cannot be discovered by unaided reason. God assists the new man by elevating his intellect by grace through faith. Faith and reason must accompany one another to arrive at a higher truth which must be revealed by God.
  Likewise, Plato and Aristotle, by the natural use of their reason arrived at the truth of monotheism (one God), but they could not arrive at the truth that there is one God in three persons. Unaided reason cannot arrive at that. It must be revealed by God and received with the help of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of knowledge and understanding. 
  Now, I must clarify something. Earlier I spoke of the old man who is natural and the new man who is supernatural. I need to clarify: The true order of nature is the state of original justice, like Adam and Eve before the fall. What we refer to as nature today is fallen nature. The true natural state is restored in us by God in the sacrament of Baptism. God gives us new life, as the new man, by placing His Holy Spirit within us by means of the sacramental life. He tells us “My Father gives you the true bread from heaven…who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (Jn. 6:34). And then the clincher: “I AM the bread of life.” 

  The Church takes this literally. I AM is the name of God given to Moses. Jesus not only identifies that He is God––the very same God revealed to Moses––but He also identifies Himself with a bread from heaven that is greater than the miraculous manna given in the desert. The Manna was miraculous. This bread, however, is not just miraculous, it is even more. This bread from heaven is the Holy Eucharist that we celebrate in this and every Mass. The old man cannot understand this by the unaided use of his reason. We must put off the old man and put on the new man in order to understand what Jesus is saying. We must receive it with the help of the Holy Spirit who elevates our intellect to understand it. 
  But what if I doubt? Am I lacking faith? Is it a sin to doubt? Is it my fault that I doubt? These are good questions. Doubt can be a temptation. What happens when we entertain thoughts that are temptations? We risk giving into the temptation. When that happens, we become like the old man again. Do not despair. Take it to Confession. Confess that you struggle with doubt. Give it over to God. He will renew and refresh each of us as new men, as new women, putting off the old man of doubt. St. Paul says, “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” In Confession, the Holy Spirit renews our minds and infuses our souls with the supernatural virtue of faith to combat doubt. God will help us, but we must cooperate with Him. 
  By our cooperation with Him––as new men, as new women––we can far exceed in faith what the most brilliant men of old acquired by unaided reason. We may not become geniuses in the eyes of the world when it comes to science, but being renewed in the Spirit, we will come to know the mind of God and to share in His knowledge. We will look upon the Sacred Host in adoration, understanding deeply in our souls that the Eucharist is not just a piece of bread, not just a symbol, but in reality, the very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ who is the Almighty and Eternal God. That’s pretty incredible! Now, imagine what the most brilliant of scientific minds could achieve in our day in a habitual state of sanctifying grace through regular confession and worthy reception of Holy Communion. Now, imagine what each of us could achieve in our day in a habitual state of sanctifying grace through regular confession and worthy reception of Holy Communion.