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Headline-Making Homily after Young Man’s Suicide

by Steve Ray on December 17, 2018

Must-read: the headline-making homily delivered after a young man’s suicide

Ed Peters has the scoop: 

If the text recently sent to me really was the homily that Fr. Don LaCuesta preached at the funeral Mass of a young man who suddenly killed himself a few days ago, for which homily LaCuesta has been savaged in the print and electronic media and even (temporarily, I assume, while the facts are sorted) deprived of faculties for preaching, all I can say is, God bless Fr. LaCuesta.

An excerpt:

Is there any hope to offer in this moment? Must we only speak of our profound grief, our indescribable sorrow, even our anger and confusion at how such a thing could have happened? Is there any word from God that might break into our darkness like a ray of light?

Yes, yes, a thousand times. If we Christians are right in believing that salvation belongs to Jesus Christ, that it does not come from us–and that our hand cannot stop what God allows for us, then yes, there is hope in eternity even for those who take their own lives.

Having said that, I think that we must not call what is bad good, what is wrong right. Because we are Christians, we must say what we know is the truth – that taking your own life is against God who made us and against everyone who loves us. Our lives are not our own. They are not ours to do with as we please. God gave us life, and we are to be good stewards of that gift for as long as God permits.

The finality of suicide makes this all the worse. You cannot make things right again. Neither can [REDACTED]. And this is much of the pain of it all. Things are left unresolved, even if it felt to [REDACTED] like this was the only way to resolve things. You want to turn the clock back and say, “Please don’t give up. We can work through this pain together. ” But now you will have to work through this pain by yourselves, or with those close to you now who will need to lean on you even as you lean on them.

On most people’s mind, however, especially of us who call ourselves Christians, on our minds as we sit in this place is: Can God forgive and heal this? Yes, God CAN forgive even the taking of one’s own life. In fact, God awaits us with his mercy, with ever open arms. Sacred Scripture says clearly: God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). God’s abiding mercy is what sets us to ask for it. Although God doesn’t dangle his mercy like a carrot, waiting for us to ask for it in order to receive it, we do have to believe in our hearts, express with our words, and show in our actions – that it is always there. God wants nothing but our salvation but he will never force himself on us, he will not save us without us. That’s how much he loves us. Because of the all embracing sacrifice of Christ on the cross God can have mercy on any sin. Yes, because of his mercy, God can forgive suicide and heal what has been broken.

Read it all, with additional commentary, at Ed’s blog. 

Needless to say, if this text is accurate, this reads as something far different from what was described to the media a few days ago. This comes across as compassionate, catechetical, thoughtful — and uplifted by cautious, prayerful hope.

Which is what a good funeral homily should be.

While this isn’t exactly the feel-good homily some might have wished for, neither is it a fire-and-brimstone judgmental screed.  I’d be curious to know where the text came from and if the family can confirm these are the words spoken at the funeral. What, exactly, do they take issue with?

We’re left to wonder just what the family actually heard — and why an otherwise solid piece of preaching has become a lightning rod for anger and criticism.

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We Voted Today!

by Steve Ray on October 5, 2018

0CAF68D5-DE37-463D-AEB3-D79B1D75C8C1Janet and I voted today – absentee ballots – we’re over 60 years old and away on election day.

We visited Right to Life Voter Guide at election.rtl.org/ballot. Consult them for educated voting.

We proudly voted Pro-life, Conservative, pro-Kavanaugh, pro-business, pro-2nd Amendment, Religious liberty…

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“It is very important to look at the doctrine,” he added. “The Eucharistic celebration of the Mass is not an ecumenical service. It is not a gathering of those who believe in Christ and who invent a prayer for the occasion. It is a celebration of the mysteries of Christ who died for us on the Cross, who made bread into His body and wine into His blood and told the Apostles ‘do this in memory of me’.

D4D50991-3E30-4744-A0CD-F4E15287C9A6“So the Eucharistic celebration of the Mass is the celebration of the faith community, those who believe in Christ. They are communicating in the faith, and in the sacraments, and in ecclesiastical communion, not now Holy Communion but ecclesiastical unity with their pastor, their bishop and the Pope. It is the community that celebrates the Holy Eucharist. Anybody who is not a member of that community does not fit in at all.

“It isn’t just that we wish one another well. After Mass, you can have a cup of tea and even a glass of beer and a bit of cake. That’s OK. But the Mass is not like that.

“But we wish other Christians well. The Holy Eucharist is not our private possession which we can share with our friends. Our tea is such and also our bottle of beer. We can share those with our friends.”

He said that if Protestants wished to receive Communion in Catholic churches they should become Catholics. “Come, be received into the Church and then you can receive Holy Communion seven times a week. Otherwise, no.”

Furthermore, Catholics who have committed mortal sins must receive absolution before they can receive the Eucharist, he said.”

For the whole excellent interview, click HERE.

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I Just Broke the Law and the Pharisees May Come After Me

July 7, 2018

Today I broke the law… I picked kernels of  wheat and ate them as I walked through the field. It was Saturday. Had the Pharisees caught me I’d have been reprimanded, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” The amber waves of grain were blowing in the wind over the hundred-acre […]

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Videos of 100’s of Protestants, Many Pastors, who have converted

May 26, 2018

Videos of 189 Protestants and other religions who converted to the Catholic Church. Many of them are pastors. You will find Baptists, Pentecostals, Mormans, Jehovahs Witnesses, Atheists, and more. Enjoy! Click here to get started :-)

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Mary and the “Other Body of Christ” — A Reflection on Pentecost

May 18, 2018

Mary and the Other Body of Christ The room was pretty full. It was warm but a gentle breeze was blowing—that would change. There was fear in the room. The Roman army was a thing to be feared, they had just crucified Jesus and it was a dangerous thing to associates of an executed criminal. […]

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I’m excited to share Daily Catholic Wisdom with you!

May 17, 2018

I think you’ll love this new, simple way to explore our rich Catholic tradition. I was honored to see that Daily Catholic Wisdom recently featured my talk The Birth of the Catholic Church! Sign up to receive a snippet of Catholic thought every morning from literary giants, beloved saints, and relevant voices from today. Read it in 60 […]

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Are You Born Again? Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live

March 23, 2018

You can click here to listen to the show or click here for other listening options. Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live Topic: “Are You Born Again?” 1.   What do you say if someone asks “Are you born again”?  What is the Catholic understanding of being Born Again? 2.   A former Catholic, now Evangelical […]

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Why the USCCB (US Bishops) is Wrong about Islam

February 21, 2018

This in an excellent article in Catholic Workd Report about the wrong-headed ideas and disservice being propagated by the US Council of Bishops. Here is an excerpt: “Deadly anti-Christian attacks have become commonplace in the Muslim world. Catholics need to know about them, and they also need to know the “why” of these attacks. There […]

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The Rebel in Me LOVES Quotes Like This

February 19, 2018

“Enemy occupied territory — that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.” C. S. Lewis For the larger context from Lewis’ Mere Christianity click HERE.

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An Excellent Summary of Christianity in China, and What in the World Is the Pope Doing?

January 29, 2018

Janet and I have been to China. We attended Mass there and talked to people about the situation for believers. It is a sad situation and the real believers and the priests loyal to Rome are underground. There is also a political “church” which is loyal to and controlled by the Communists in Beijing. This […]

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First-hand Report on Safety in Jerusalem

December 30, 2017

Steve Ray here. I know a lot of people are watching the mainstream media and seeing protests, fighting and devastation in Israel. Hey folks, it ain’t happening. It’s the media hyping things like they always do. They have to be sensationalists. (See my post from a week or two ago.) I just took a nice […]

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The State and the Alteration of the Fundamental Laws of Marriage

December 15, 2017

From a brilliant, even prophetic, 1933 essay/chapter by Christopher Dawson titled “Christianity and Sex”, published in “Enquiries into Religion and Culture”: Leo XIII writes: ‘No human law can abolish the natural and original right of marriage, ordained by God’s authority from the beginning. . . . Hence we have the Family, the society of a […]

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Picture of Morning Walk as Sun Arises

December 1, 2017

Out for our morning walk with my girlfriend of 41 years as the sun rises.

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A Father-Son Story

November 16, 2017

By Fr. Joseph Fessio 2018 will be the 40th anniversary of Ignatius Press. There are many stories I could tell about all the blessings God has showered upon us during that time. But one story is especially pertinent because it’s also about the next forty years of Ignatius Press—and it’s one we hope you’ll consider being […]

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Day 4: Lourdes to Loyola to Burgos Spain

October 31, 2017

Early departure from Lourdes and a beautiful drive through the countryside of France and Spain. Four hours at Loyola Spain as we toured the house of St. Ignatius of Loyola and had Mass in the beautiful church there. For Bishop Archbishop Lucas’ homily click here. Enjoy today’s video.

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