Temptation under the appearance of goodnes.

The list of eight evil thoughts (or seven cardinal sins) is the basis of Christian morality manuals, which attempt to list all the instances that are “objectively” sin, and this applies to all. The ideas that prompt such acts are undoubtedly immoral. But all the thoughts that come to mind are not so exclusive. Authors who have experience in the spiritual life point out that the devil often takes the form of an angel of light (cf. 2 Cor 11:14).
And deceives under the appearance of goodness. Thus, for example, some whispering appears good at first, but only later it is seen by experience that it has led us to evil. It seemed to St. Ignatius, shortly after his conversion, that it was a holy intention to fast radically. But it had resulted in a severe stomach illness. Ignatius later admitted that he was deceived when he failed to recognize the hidden deceit beneath the appearance of goodness. This was because his soul, he confessed, was still unskilled in the art of spiritual warfare. It is not too late when a man realizes that he has had this sad experience?
Indeed, that is why it is advisable to confront with the advice of a spiritual father. Men experienced in the spiritual life acquire a finer feeling and can discern angelic thought from the devil’s “smell.” And so with men. One person said, “In the beginning, I don’t pay attention to what anyone does but rather listen to their voice. That’s how.. beautiful speeches rarely deceive me. “I do not like to be deceived by the deceiver’s words. I can tell if there is any deception in the voice.” It’s interesting to note that such observations can be applied to incoming thoughts. St. Ignatius speaks of rules “for the greater discernment of spirits” suitable for those who have already made some progress in the interior life. In these cases, one no longer gives such attention to what the thought suggests but focuses on how the thought presents itself to the soul. In this way, even St. Anthony Abbot distinguished spirits: he noticed that thoughts create different psychological states in the soul.

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Mount Tabor.

Anyone who has been to the mountains knows that it is an exceptional place: perhaps the beautiful views, the world seen as if from a bird’s eye view, all this makes us feel closer to Heaven, closer to God in the mountains. In such an atmosphere on the hills, the Transfiguration of the Lord, spoken of in today’s Gospel, took place. The evangelists inform us that when Jesus revealed his Divinity – confirmed by the voice of God the Father: This is my beloved Son, listen to him” – he was preparing the apostles for the great days of the Easter Triduum, that is, for the harrowing experience of the suffering and crucifixion of their Master. Christ chose three disciples: Peter, James and John. He especially wanted to strengthen these three disciples because they became the pillars of the Church and supported others in their faith. Petr, Jakub, and Jan had the opportunity to convince themselves that their teacher is not only a brilliant, exceptional, and good person – the Master, but that He is a true God. This strengthening was significant because only strong faith and complete trust in Christ helped them overcome all trials, disappointments, persecutions, and problems for Christ’s Church to last until the end of the world. And it has been going on for more than 2,000 years… despite the many difficult trials we know from history and the pitfalls of today’s times… The Church lives and gives a chance for salvation to today’s people…

Today’s second Sunday in Lent, the Church also wants to take us to the Transfiguration Mountain to look at the world, at problems, at the other person differently, to look as if from above, from the point of view of God the light of Christ’s brilliance. God wants us to notice his presence in everything that happens around us. He longs for us to hear and remember forever that Christ is the beloved Son of God, whom we are to obey… “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And what does He say? From the beginning of his teaching, Jesus pleads: “Repent and believe in the gospel.” That is, transform your life, change it, and adapt it to the Gospel and not as some do who try to adapt the Gospel to their life and choose from it only what is pleasant, comfortable, and does not require anything from them… fundamental transformation, the conversion consists in by daily focusing our eyes on God – Jesus Christ, recognizing Him as Lord and living according to His teachings and commandments. Why? Because there is no other way to Heaven. “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” says Jesus, “no one comes to the Father except through me.”

While reflecting on the mystery of the Transfiguration of the Lord, let us ask God to transform our lives. Let us ask for faith in Him, for trust, for the conviction that He knows best what is good for us, and for the hope we express by repeating the refrain of the psalm: in the landscape of life, I will see the goodness of God. Let us ask for the hope of reaching Heaven. Possible? Can we convert, change our lives, and go to Heaven? It is possible. Christ, who, through the Church, invites us to the Mount of Transfiguration, the Sunday Eucharist, gives us this possibility. In the Eucharist, during this Holy Mass, Jesus is present; we are all witnesses of the great mystery of the transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life! Like the apostles, we, therefore, witness the Lord’s transformation. By participating in this holy sacrament, we strengthen our faith, hope, and love, transform our lives, and convert. Sunday Mass is our mountain of Transfiguration. Here, we see the body of Christ; we can touch it and take it into our hearts. Let’s take advantage of this enormous chance and opportunity, and then we can repeat with complete confidence and peace in our hearts with the author of the 116th Psalm: I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. 

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Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle.

Cathedra of Peter Mt 16, 13-19
May Jesus Christ, who has given us the freedom of the children of God, be with you. Today’s feast is “the memory” of the ministry of St Peter, which he received from Christ. Jesus appointed him as his successor, the visible head of the Church. This event is described in the Gospels of St Matthew and St John. You are the Master and the model of our lives. Lord, have mercy on us. Whoever seeks you with a sincere heart will find you. Christ, have mercy on us. You have given Peter the keys to the kingdom. Lord, have mercy on us.
The evangelist Matthew writes in his Gospel: “But who do you say that I am? Simon Peter replied. You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Jesus said, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. But I say to you. You are Peter; on this rock, I will build my church and the powers of the underworld will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Mt 16, 13-19 The other text in which Jesus explicitly introduces Peter to the ministry is found in the Gospel of John. When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter. Simon, son of John, do you love me? He answered him. Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. Jesus said to him. Feed my lambs. The second time he asked him Simon, son of John… The third time he asked him, Simon… Then Peter was sad because Jesus had asked him the third time. Do you love me? He answered him. Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you. Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. John 21:15-18.
Peter first worked in Antioch, then went to the capital of Syria, where he worked for seven years. In 42, he went to Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius. From Rome, he administered the church for about 25 years. In 67, he suffered martyrdom. It happened during the reign of Emperor Nero. Peter was given the task of “guarding” the purity of the faith, which had been subjected to countless attacks and errors throughout history. Despite the difficulties, the Church has persevered in unity until now. So that we may seek and find Christ with all our heart, we dare to pray to the Father. We belong to Christ through baptism. So we may ask him for his peace. Blessed are those who help to build the kingdom of God and are counted among his children.

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Sins of human weakness.

Modern psychology comes to the aid of those indulgent in human sins. How many components operate in a single act, from heredity to climate influences? It seems a man could not even consider what he does. Even Christ in the Gospel is manifested very much from the faithful to sinners, in whom he sees only weakness and not wickedness. Some moral preachers, e.g., even St. John Chrysostom}, occasionally allow themselves to be carried away to direct judgment, which seems inhuman and Pharisaical. The fervor of eloquence partly explains this. But there is another reason. This severity stands out in places where the Fathers wish to emphasize a fundamental Christian truth: man’s free will is the only real cause of sin. It depends on
us, whether or not we want the good, or anything else.

Wrongly, of course, this principle was understood by some ancient sectarians who claimed that a perfect man needs no longer fear any environment or temptation. He is said to be strong enough to resist everything. Indeed, he didn’t want to go as far as any faithful preacher would go. Therefore, they correct their first statement about the strength of the human will, giving it the correct value and measuring it by challenges of the opposite character. They recommend avoiding all temptations as far as possible. For we are frail. For even the angel in heaven and Adam in paradise sinned, how much more have we humans on earth? Therefore, We are to know our weaknesses and not expose ourselves to danger arbitrarily or through carelessness. The point here, moreover, is something similar to the sins of ignorance. Weakness justifies sin, but the reverse is the case, with voluntary sins being the cause of our weakness. It is not possible, therefore, to be wholly excused.

The gravity of venial sins
Morality tries to distinguish well between sin in the proper and complete sense of the word, that is, grave sin and so-called light or venial sins. This distinction is, understandably, of great importance for life. For we could not otherwise live! For none of us can get away with light sins. Those who do not know how to discern rightly here will either fall into laxity and carelessness or scruples and unreasonable anxiety. Morality gives three circumstances, even one sufficient to regard sin as light: 1. Ignorance or want of attention; 2. Lack of free pressure; 3. the slightness of the object, the minor importance of the transgression of the law. Spiritual writers, understandably, do not deny this, what moral science teaches. They assume, however, for the most part, that everyone already knows these distinctions. But they are not concerned that the expression “light” or “venial” sin might lead them to regard it as a trifle, something normal, something to be we don’t have to worry about.
They show, therefore, what a severe obstacle to perfection even small mistakes are, especially if they are entirely voluntary: minor dislikes, lies, selfishness, etc. St. Basil even seems to show more remarkable disregard for God by one who disobeys in a small matter than by one who forgets a grave duty. In this connection, he also speaks of the great pains of Purgatory, which is the punishment for venial sins. It is also pointed out that a grave sin is eventually committed by someone who has not cared for minor sins for a long time.

In the biographies of the saints, we read how bitterly they reproached themselves even for minor offenses, which seem to us to be outwardly
uncommitted. For they experienced their relationship with Christ vividly and personally. We know how sorry we are for even the smallest infidelities regarding a true friend. In this sense, the words heard in the apparition of St. Margaret of Cortona can be understood: “In truth, I tell you that my true friends feel every sin as mortal. For whoever wants to to follow me and to dwell in thought on something that is darkness and h ow it h a s not reached out and against my will, offends me greatly by his abiding… ”
There is scarcely a day when we do not make a mistake through inadvertence, distraction, or a burst of bad temper, i.e., lack of control of mastery. According to the assurances of many mystics, God easily forgives us of these imperfections. He even deliberately deliberately leaves them to make us more humble. But he is said to judge and punish very severely even the little things that are fully conscious and well considered, such as revenge and unkindness towards others, which are prepared beforehand.

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God will give as much courage as we suffer.

Looking for the testimony of love for the suffering Jesus in the life of blessed Zdenka, let us entrust her to the powerful intercession of the sick, the elderly, and the abandoned. That, thanks to God’s grace, their experience of pain will be transformed into devotion to love.

God will give as much courage as we suffer

“The greatness of Jesus’ suffering makes me understand and appreciate his great love,” wrote Blessed Zdenka Scheling

From the mysteries of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection, human suffering draws meaning and fullness of light. In the apostolic letter Salvifici doloris (18), Saint John Paul II. he touches on this secret in the following words.

“Human suffering reached its peak in Christ’s suffering and at the same time reached a completely new dimension and a new order: it was connected to love… to love that creates good, extracting it from evil, precisely through suffering. The supreme good of the redemption of the world came from the cross of Christ and continues to come from it. The cross of Christ became a source from which living water springs. In it, we must once again raise the question about the meaning of suffering and read the answer to it in it, right up to the consequences.”

The cross of Christ is a fountain that never dries up. Let us draw abundantly and without fear from this source of our salvation. Especially in moments of illness, misunderstanding or suffering of any kind. “… when you no longer know where the path leads, turn back, go to the source” (Sr. Louise-Henri Kolly, SCSC).

LET’S NOT BE AFRAID TO SUFFER

Blessed Sister Zdenka Schelingová will be the spiritual guide for today’s reflection on the experience of suffering. In addition to the gift of a religious vocation, she was allowed to live years of active apostolate – in the service of her neighbors as a nurse in the Bratislava hospital and in Humenno. And then as a prisoner due to inhuman torture and also as an oncology patient in a hospital bed. Many health professionals chose her as their patron.

In her spiritual notebook we read: “The greatness of Jesus’ suffering makes me understand and appreciate his great love. That’s why even my pains must be completely lost in love.” Sister Zdenka, who belongs “entirely to the Crucified One, and therefore completely to the neighbor, as a representative of Christ’s love”, incorporated into the program of her consecrated life the desire to sacrifice herself for others in the spirit of Jesus’ words: “No one greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends…” (Jn 15, 13-14a).

As much as she could, in addition to her work with great respect for the bearers of the sacramental priesthood, she helped the imprisoned priests who were hospitalized in the hospital after cruel torture during interrogations. For this courageous help, she was arrested, dragged from the hospital and sentenced.

She willingly accepted on her shoulders the cross of prison, which was associated with great suffering and humiliation. Under severe pressure, her silence, like Jesus’ silence before Pilate, infuriated the investigators even more. Where did this simple, thin and delicate religious sister draw her strength and courage?

She noted in her prayer notebook: “A person endowed with blessed suffering becomes a gift and a grace for his loved ones. Don’t be afraid to suffer! God will always give us just as much courage as we suffer. When he adds suffering, he also adds grace.”

THE SUN IS BEHIND THE CLOUDS

Despite all the difficulties, pains and sufferings, Sister Zdenka never resigned. She valued human life, considered it the most precious jewel in suffering, and made her life a gift for others. “Nothing scares me, not even the wind that drove the thick clouds. This will only be a moment for my confidence to grow that behind the clouds is my beloved sun.’

She loved life even in prison, because she was sure that as long as she lived, she could fulfill her mission: to sacrifice her life for others. As a medic, suffering from oncological disease as a result of cruel torture in pre-trial detention, she knew that she would soon die, but she still showed a warm relationship to life.

Most noticeable in her prayers for her tormentors and her attitude of faith and devoted love, she was also a strength for other sufferers behind bars. She lovingly guided her fellow inmate, pointing up towards the sky with one hand and with the other indicating silence on her lips: “Helenka, forgiveness is the greatest thing in life.”

How precious, liberating, and crucial this attitude of forgiveness is for all of us going through the cleansing process of pain and suffering. Forgiveness is the greatest thing in life.

SUFFER IN SILENCE

Even in the suffering of imprisonment, humiliation and subsequent serious illness, Sister Zdenka loved the cross, and as a merciful sister of the Holy Cross, she quite consciously chose it as her share, which is revealed by the thoughts in her prayer notebook: “Suffering creates space for God’s thoughts. Suffering in a state of grace is the starting point of great deeds. That’s why I lie down like on a cross with all my faults in front of the gate of God’s majesty, through which God pours his graces.

In this humble posture, she wants to love him dearly and work constantly only for him. “Each of us must untie the knot of suffering and pain, because if we stay tied to each other, we cannot move. Only when we are detached from everything are there no knots. He who loves does not suffer. We suffer, of course, until death, but you will see that the further, the less and as much as our love for God grows.

According to Zdenka, everything is easy when we love Christ. “I feel myself slowly shedding blood for the one I love. To suffer in silence and in secret. Silence is an atmosphere of pain. There was also silence at Calvary. When we complain, when we seek pleasure and comfort, what is most sacred about pain is lost. Let us not waste this precious grace.”

Here, the words of Cardinal Tomášek come to mind, who spoke out as a courageous witness of faith in the times of totalitarianism: “He who works for the Kingdom of God does a lot, he who prays for the Kingdom of God does more, but he who suffers for the Kingdom of God does the most.” “

Let these words of his strengthen us in the truth of our faith, that whoever lives from the spirit of sacrifice, from a grateful love for the cross, can confess together with St. Paul: I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. I live in faith in the Son of God, who loves me and gave himself for me (cf. Gal 2, 20).

GOD KNOWS THE ENTIRE WAY

The young theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who perished in a concentration camp on White Saturday 1945, described his inner experience a few years earlier: “God will not allow us to follow any path that he did not follow and that he did not precede us. He is calling us to the path he has made for us, on which he protects us. It really is his way… God knows the whole way, we only know the next step and the final destination.”

Sister Zdenka was also helped by a similar program in serving the sick, but also in the hardships of her life: “Smile! Tear the roses of pain with a smile, give out words with a smile… Help with a smile, accept when they lie to you with a smile. Cover everything that hurts you with a smile, even if you are very sad in your soul, walk to Golgotha ​​with a smile, there you will find the one who knew all the lies, malice, falsehood, deception of people before you. He just lets you walk the well-trodden path. How ungrateful you would be if you didn’t smile at everything!”

JESUS’ MERCY

God not only arranges things according to his wise providence, not only sets out with man on a journey, but also precedes and accompanies him with his love. This relieves him of anxiety about the darkness and uncertainty of the future. God becomes more comprehensible the more a person immerses his being in the protective secret of his love. This mystery cannot be understood or proven, but it can be witnessed on the basis of experience, which can only be gained in intimate communion with the suffering Lord.

Jesus bowed down to the misery of man with the characteristics not only of human life, but also of God’s life, and he expressed it with the word, mercy and tenderness of his Heart: “I feel sorry for the crowd” (Mt 15, 32). As if he wanted to say: I feel sorry for you, man, that you do not know how to exalt love and mercy above all pain and suffering, and thereby give life a deep meaning.

Healing the sick, forgiving even the biggest sinners and outcasts of society, raising the dead, loving even in suffering on Golgotha, finally with his resurrection Jesus proved that in God mercy and love are elevated above all suffering and pain (cf. Anton Fabian, Suffering has another dimension , 1999).

Questions to think about

In sickness and abandonment, am I looking for strength in connection with Christ’s suffering? Do I know that in suffering united with Christ I can become a blessing for the Church and the world? Do I draw from Christ’s forgiving love the strength to forgive my offenders? Can I ask for forgiveness myself? Do I support priests with prayer and sacrifice and ask for new priestly and religious vocations?

Prayer

Benevolent God, you gave blessed Zdenka an extraordinary love for the crucified Christ, which she showed through joyful service to the sick and your priests. We beg you, allow us to follow her in a sincere willingness to give our lives at the service of our brothers and sisters and to be enthusiastic witnesses of your Son Jesus Christ.

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O grow in the likeness of God about man.

Through baptism, we have been given participation in the life of God. But how does God live? In what does his life consist? Jesus Christ told us something about this when he revealed that God is one but three-personal. Jesus made visible the goodness and love of the heavenly Father. He lived to do His Father’s will to the uttermost, even to the cross. He also spoke of the Spirit who proceeds from the Father, who receives all things from Christ and communicates them to us. The Spirit of God guided Jesus in fulfilling his mission, and Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit.

From these few hints, we may suspect that the life of God is the life of each person and one for the other. Their relationship is so strong and deep that it is also a living person, the Holy Spirit. From this brief hint of what constitutes the life of God, we can suspect that we, too, as baptized persons, are called to cooperate in the growth and development of the life of God within us. Practically, this means that we are to develop our relationship with the triune God and our relationships with people and human persons.

It is on the theme of these relationships with people, and in quite concrete, practical situations that we heard in today’s reading from the Old Testament. These are challenging demands. They require overcoming our selfishness, striving to respect the other, and doing good to him. As a motive for such efforts, God challenges us, “Be holy, as I, your God, am holy.” Holiness is God’s perfection. Practically, it means the challenge to grow in the likeness of God. We are to express this likeness in our relationships with people.

In the Gospel, Jesus gives us yet another motive for such an endeavor: the other person, the person in need and suffering in various ways, the person who requires our service and the overcoming of our egoism, is the person with whom Jesus Christ himself identifies: “What you did – or did not do – to one of the least of these, you did – or did not do – to me.” There could not be a stronger motive for doing good to one’s neighbors, for showing love to people. And in His caring love for us, Jesus reveals that we will be judged from these very acts. For acts of serving love in our neighbors, Jesus will reward us by welcoming us into direct and full participation in the life of the triune God – or, God forbid, exclude us from that participation if we have been oblivious to the misery and suffering of people and have closed ourselves off to our selfishness. When we reflect a little on these words of the Gospel of the Last Judgment, we realize how little we cooperate with the development of God’s life within us and how, in our daily circumstances, we must increase our efforts to show concrete and practical love for our neighbors – following the example of Christ himself, who loved us to the uttermost, even to the point of total self-sacrifice. But it was precisely this total self-giving for our salvation out of love for the Father that brought Jesus, even as a man, to participate fully in the life of God at the moment of his resurrection.

Practical Instruction: acts of serving, attentive love toward our neighbors, motivated by the belief that we are serving Christ himself in them.

Prayer: Merciful God and our Savior, turn our hearts to you and instruct our minds with heavenly doctrine so that we may be perfected by Lenten repentance in the Christian life, through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who is God and lives and reigns with you in union with the Holy Spirit throughout all ages of ages.

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False approaches to suffering.

Hyperflex
This term means .excessive suffering with suffering”. It is the overly prolonged and unpromising constant thinking about what is troubling us. Often, it’s about overestimating unimportant details, such as illness, or psychological stress, such as depression. One is too concerned with these details intensely and for too long in mind, negatively affecting his general attitude and state of health. Such a person is focused entirely on himself. He observes himself too much and imagines himself as the worst. It makes him fearful and frightened. It’s a folk saying about “painting the devil on the wall.” Hyperreflection is typically aroused by a tactlessly or carelessly spoken word, remark, or non-verbal communication (e.g., a doctor’s facial expression communicating the result of an examination). Other times – as was the case in the story of the biblical Job – “fuel to the fire” is added by ..wannabes.” friends.
Self-pity
It is only a step from hyper-reflection to a more profound insight into
my suffering and self-pity. The truth is. That is a suffering person for whom people feel sorry. No wonder, then. …that he then transfers that pity to… to self-pity. He laments “his fate” and what has happened to him and what has befallen him. This self-pity also hurts the patient’s attitude. It can even become. the patient eventually begins, “What a poor man I am,” and gets angry at the people who encourage and help him out of his hopeless attitude.
Masochism.
This term describes people who enjoy the suffering of their own volition – they make themselves miserable. They don’t do it for that reason because they want something good and something wrong. These are people who, of their own volition – or rather “will” – inflict pain or tear a wound so it won’t heal as quickly. The masochist falsely regards misfortune as happiness.
The drowning out of suffering.
In many sick people, we observe an attempt to banish thoughts of
suffering with sleeping pills, painkillers, and pills “for well.”… Basically, this is an attempt to escape reality. The “happiness” is, in a negative sense, an escape to the so-called Schopenhauer nirvana.
There are times when pain exceeds all limits, and its pharmacological and surgical relief is in order. In many other cases, “crying through the night” is the remedy for the grieving person’s medicine. It allows him not only to “vent” his inner tensions and negative emotions but also to come to a new perspective on the situation. However, he will not succeed in doing so by such “narcotizing.” This problem is only temporarily removed from direct consciousness. Such a patient may treat the problem troubling him as “invisible” for some time. And does not hear”, but he will not escape the matter and will be no closer to a solution.
Panic.
There are situations when suffering exceeds a tolerable limit, or the uncertainty lasts too long, and the person gets desperate. Panic sets in. This sometimes takes the form of. “Nothing can be done,” “all is lost” or “There is nothing to do but lay down our arms.” It awakens fatalism – the idea that everything is governed by blind “fate” and, therefore, has no to try anything. The truth is that there are situations
where nothing can be done, where the term “nothing” means, in medical terminology, “causal therapy” (treating the cause of the disease and thus eliminating the disease). But this brings us to the issue of accepting the unacceptable.

For reflection:
“Whoever does not accept in life what people fear will only go through life on its edge. Once the final word is spoken, he will not be considered neither alive nor dead. He will never be the empowerment promised to man.” R. M. Rilke
“The meaningfulness of life can also be seen in the fact that man inwardly overcoming the misfortune into which he has fallen and that by coping with the difficult situation, he grows and matures internally, even in places where many denied, which others can enjoy in fullness.” V. E. Frankl

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New rejection of the Pope.

It is necessary to distinguish whether an ordinary person or a priest rejects it, claims the church lawyer

“I do not recognize this pope. Francis is not the real pope,” echoes from Catholics on the Slovak Internet as well. What is the problem?

The rejection of Pope Francis by some Catholics is no longer unusual. However, a report from Italy at the turn of the year shows how far the fierce opposition to the Argentine pontiff can go. 

It was Sunday, December 31, 2023, when pastor Ramon Guidetti celebrated mass in his church on the anniversary of the death of Benedict XVI.

Roughly in the middle of the sermon, he recalled: “the lightning that struck the dome of the Basilica of St. Peter on the night when Benedict XVI. announced his resignation.” Subsequently, the 48-year-old priest narrated the incident with another lightning, which allegedly took place last December 17 in a sanctuary near Buenos Aires. 

Father Guidetti added that he “will not name” who the archbishop of that city was, and then went on to say that lightning struck the statue of St. Peter there and burned two things – the halo and the keys. 

“Peter is not a saint, and he no longer has the keys. Indeed, Peter is not a saint because there is a Freemason, a Jesuit Freemason connected to the powerful globalists, a usurping antipope. He doesn’t have the keys, because good Benedict holds them,” Catholic priest Guidetti said at the mass.

The video of the sermon is available on the Internet, not only that. The decree on the excommunication of this priest was also published. 

The Diocese of Livorno in Tuscany issued a decree on January 1, in which it announced to the faithful that the priest Ramon Guidetti “publicly committed a schismatic act” during Mass and ipso facto earned “latae sententiae excommunication, “i.e., automatic excommunication.

Bishop Simone Giusti informed that Catholics should not participate in any Mass celebrated by an excommunicated priest; otherwise, they also “expose themselves to the severe penalty of ex-communication.”

The bishop referred to Canon 751 of the Code of Canon Law, which defines schism as “the refusal to submit to the Supreme High Priest or the refusal to unite with the members of the Church who are subject to him.”

According to local newspapers, the bishop met with the priest Guidetti before Christmas to discuss his controversial views. It proceeded to issue an official decree of ex-communication after what happened on December

Former priest Alessandro Minutella comes from Sicily and has been excommunicated since 2018. He calls the current pope invalid and, like Guidetti, claims that Freemasons control the Catholic Church.

According to Minutell, whose videos are watched by tens of thousands of people in Italy, attending Mass in unity with Pope Francis is a grave sin.

Minutella gathered around him several excommunicated or suspended priests from different countries. His followers are also in Slovakia; they meet in Šaštín. Former Slovak Salesian Róbert Benko leads them.

He was expelled from the religious order in December 2021, and, according to the Salesians, he is currently administering the sacraments illegally, without spiritual effect, since “a priest who was expelled from the religious order and who was subsequently not accepted (incarnated) by any bishop into his diocese may not perform acts of sacred status, i.e., nor administer the sacraments.”

A former Salesian leads a group of believers that does not recognize Pope Francis.

Slovak believers do not avoid stiff resistance, even outright rejection of Pope Francis. 

On one traditionalist blog, the author of which identifies himself as a Catholic, one can read the following statements from him: 

“Currently, Rome is occupied by a non-Catholic group of heretics, the anti-Church of the Last Days (Fornication of Babylon), which is not the Catholic Church. Francis is not Pope because he is not Catholic: and as traditional Catholic teaching and the teaching of all the Fathers explains, a non-Catholic cannot be elected Pope or hold any other office in the Church.”

And in another place on the same website: “He is an apostate antipope.” The Church teaches that heretics cannot hold offices in the Church.”

Social networks on the Slovak Internet are also examples of anti-papal statements and attitudes. The following statements (which took a few minutes to find) come from discussions on the Facebook social network under the texts of the World of Christianity: 

“Bergoglio will destroy the church from within!”

“That can’t be a real p are wars, disasters, and earthquake aches everywhere.”

“For me, the only pope in this world was John Paul, I don’t recognize the others…”

“This installed Francis is anything but a holy father.”

Ecclesiastical lawyer: It makes a difference whether an ordinary person or a priest rejects the pope

As the example of Reverend Ramon Guidetti showed, the question of rejecting the Pope is directly related to canon law. 

Ecclesiastical lawyer and priest of the Bratislava Archdiocese, Radoslav Šaškovič, points out that excommunication is perhaps the most severe punishment in canon law. 

“Although a person under such censorship does not go to prison or pay a fine, he is forbidden to have any active participation in the celebration and reception of sacraments, shrines and other ceremonies of the liturgical cult, to perform church offices, tasks, services, and functions,” Šašković explains for the World of Christianity. 

However, the excommunication does not have to be definitive; after fulfilling the prescribed penance, the person’s excommunication can be lifted.

In the case of the priest from Italy, the bishop mentioned “latae sentence ex-communication.” What does it mean? 

Ecclesiastical lawyer Šaškovič clarifies that canon law distinguishes between the punishments that the relevant church authority imposes at its discretion after executing the criminal procedure and the punishments that the guilty person falls into by committing the crime itself.

In the first case, the relevant ecclesiastical authority, within the limits of the law, will issue its judgment, lat. ferendae sententiae, while in the second case, he establishes the previously given judgment, lat. latae sententiae.

“Each judgment is issued in written form. The publication of the decree on the excommunication of the priest also has an informative and pastoral character,” adds Šaškovič.

In other words, the mentioned priest himself was excommunicated for his act, while after a proper investigation of the case, the bishop only stated this fact.

Since we also see similar expressions in the Slovak environment, when some – Catholics – express themselves about Pope Francis as someone who is not the Pope, the question is whether they are committing an act that would lead to ex-communication.

“If any Catholic lives in the error that the duly elected Holy Father is not the true pope, it is useful to patiently try to lead him out of this error,” responds the church lawyer.

At the same time, he emphasizes that when assessing whether someone falls into excommunication, one must always keep in mind a specific person and ask why they think or acts in a way that appears to be close to schism. 

“It also makes a difference whether a person who brings us mail or drafts beer thinks and acts this way, or a person who serves us the sacraments and thus bears a greater degree of responsibility. In addition, canon law recognizes many mitigating circumstances and emphasizes moderation in the application of punishments,” says Šašković.

According to him, being a member of the Catholic Church means actively living in unity with its earthly head, i.e., the incumbent Pope. 

“If someone has difficulty with that, they have the right to freely decide to join another church. It would be more honest than having to worry about the internal rejection of the Pope for a long time,” Sašković thinks, adding that even freely leaving the membership in the Catholic Church automatically results in falling into pre-declared excommunication based on one’s own choice. 

In this context, it is also essential to perceive the difference between the rejection of the Pope and a critical view of him. 

“Criticism of the Pope, which does not turn into his rejection, is not the fulfillment of the factual essence of the schism,” states the church lawyer who was contacted. 

However, according to him, if someone believes that the Pope is wrong about something and does not have the opportunity to ask him for an explanation, which is probably the majority of cases, he has the chance to put his doubts into prayer, asking for the grace to understand and know the truth about what and why the Pope speaks and acts.

“Not everyone has a doctorate in theology, so a certain humility is in order here,” he concluded.

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Why do we and the Pharisees often fast, and your disciples do not fast?”

 Jesus answered: “Can the wedding guests mourn?… But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast.”

Verily, we are not in a position of marital joy. One of the reasons is that our homeland is also close to war, and we have war refugees here. That is also why Pope Francis called for prayers and fasting for Ukraine. If we pray well, we cannot stop at prayer because worship should lead to action. Actions, that’s fasting. In the prayer after the offering (preface) during Lent, we pray to imitate God’s goodness by sharing the bread. We also help materially war refugees, especially women and children. Many Ukrainian men remained to defend those who could not escape. Many have run out of gas; trains are not running… Terrible situation.

The question is, should we also help them in defense, for example, with weapons? We can think from this point of view: Imagine that someone attacked your children and family. You would defend them. Let’s move it: Someone attacks the neighbor’s family. You should probably help. Let’s expand it: There is a big family of Slavic brotherly nations: Greater Russia and weaker Ukraine. Russia invaded Ukraine. Children, women, and civilians are also dying. Should we watch or help?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church can help us with the answer, which is text number 2265: “Justified defense can be not only a right but also a serious duty for those responsible for the lives of others. Defending the common good requires neutralizing the unjust invader. For this reason, the rightful representatives of power have the right to use weapons to repel the invaders of the civil society entrusted to their responsibility.”

In text number 2308, we read: “Every citizen and every government official is obliged to contribute to the avoidance of wars. As long as there is a danger of war and there is a lack of a competent international authority equipped with adequate military power, governments cannot be denied the right to legitimate defense if all means of peaceful settlement have been exhausted.” I will also remind you that Ukraine is not a member of “a competent international authority equipped by adequate military power.” Does she have to defend herself?

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First Sunday of Lent,Year B Mark 1,12-15

Every year, we read and listen to the story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert on the first Sunday of Lent. After 40 days of fasting and prayer in the desert, the devil approached the incarnate son of God and tempted him. Today, we read Mark’s version of this event, which is the most concise. The Evangelists Luke and Matthew describe this event in more detail and discuss the temptations to which the Tempter exposed Christ. Mark summarizes everything in one sentence: “The Spirit drove Jesus into the desert.” He was in the desert for forty days, and satan tempted him. He was among the wild animals, and the angels ministered to him.” (Mk 1:12)

Jesus’ temptation and its meaning

Jesus reflects on these attacks, which are a repetition of Adam’s temptation in paradise and Israel in the desert, and the devil “left him for a while” (Lk 4,13). The evangelists point out the significance of this mysterious event. Jesus is the new Adam who remains faithful, whereas the first Adam succumbed to temptation. Jesus perfectly fulfills the calling of Israel. Unlike those who once tempted God in the desert for forty years, Jesus Christ appears as God’s Servant, utterly obedient to God’s will. That’s how he wins over the devil. Jesus’ victory over the Tempter in the desert foreshadows the triumph of his passion, the ultimate obedience of his filial love for the Father. The resurrection is then the definitive victory of Christ over the devil. The temptation of Jesus shows how the Son of God is to fulfill the mission of the Messiah, as opposed to the way that Satan proposes to him and that people want to attribute to him. Christ won over the Tempter for us: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses; for he was similarly tested in everything except sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Every year, during the forty days of Lent, the Church connects with the mystery of Jesus in the desert.

Our temptations

Brothers and sisters! If Christ was tempted, we are also tempted. Temptation is a reality that a Christian cannot avoid. In the dictionary of the Slovak language, the word temptation has a simple explanation of the meaning of this word: urge, incitement to do something terrible. Even the God-man Jesus Christ knew that this would practically be our daily struggle; that’s why when he taught his disciples to pray, the request also had a firm place: do not lead us into temptation. We also pray to her several times a day. This request goes back to the roots of the previous one (forgive us our guilt – sins) because our sins are the fruit of consenting to temptation. We ask our Father not to “lead” us into it. Here, it seems the Lord God is tempting us and wants to lead us into temptation. This is a complete misunderstanding of this plea. A Greek expression that means “let us not enter into temptation” or “do not let us give in to temptation.” Scripture clearly says: “For God cannot be tempted to do evil, and he tempts no one” (James 1:13); on the contrary, he wants to free us from temptation. We ask him not to let us enter the path that leads to sin. We are involved in a spiritual battle.

The struggle between the body and the Spirit. This petition pleads for the Spirit of discernment and power. The Holy Spirit distinguishes between the test necessary for the inner man’s growth, which aims at “proven virtue,” and between the temptation that leads to sin and death. We should also distinguish between “temptation” and “agreeing” to temptation. Discernment finally reveals the lie of temptation: its object is suitable, “beautiful to the sight and enticing to the knowledge” (Gn 3:6), while its fruit is death. “Not being led into temptation” includes a decision of the heart: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also… No one can serve two masters” (Mt 6:21,24). “If we live in the Spirit, let us act according to the Spirit” (Gal 5:25).

The Father gives us strength in this “agreement” with the Holy Spirit. “The test that weighs on you is only human. And God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tested beyond your strength, but with the test, he will also give the ability so that you can endure” (1 Cor 10:13). However, such a fight and such a victory are possible only in prayer. With his prayer, Jesus wins over the Tempter at the beginning and in the last struggle of his mortal anguish. In this prayer to our Father, Christ unites us with his fight and mortal struggle. It insistently recalls the vigilance of the heart in conjunction with its vigilance. Watch that you do not enter into temptation. Vigilance is the “vigilance of the heart.” The Holy Spirit strives to awaken this vigilance in us constantly. This plea takes on its full dramatic significance about the last temptation of our earthly struggle; it begs for perseverance until the end. “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he who watches” (Revelation 16:15).

Temptations in prayer

A special kind of temptations are temptations in prayer. I want to devote a little more space to that today. Because Jesus prayed in the desert, he teaches us that only through prayer can we ask for the strength not to fall into temptation. But even in prayer itself, we experience temptations. That is why it is necessary to make them aware of what temptations lie in waiting for us in prayer so that we can also withstand them. The most common and hidden temptation is our lack of faith. It manifests less in apparent disbelief than in preference for something else. When we begin to pray, thousands of urgent tasks or worries come to mind. It is again a moment of truth for the heart and its preferential love. Sometimes, we turn to the Lord as a last refuge. But do we believe it? Sometimes, we consider the Lord an ally, but the heart remains presumptuous. In any case, our lack of faith reveals that we do not yet have the disposition of a humble heart: “Without me, you can do nothing”((Jn 15:5).

Another temptation to which presumption opens the door is spiritual disgust. By this expression, the Fathers of the spiritual life understand a particular form of depression caused by laxity in asceticism, a decrease in vigilance and carelessness of the heart: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mt 26:41). The greater a person falls from a height, the more he hurts himself. He who is humble is not surprised by his wretchedness; it gives him greater confidence to persevere. In the struggle of prayer, we must face misconceptions, different currents of thought, and experiences of our failures. These temptations, which question the usefulness or possibility of prayer, must be answered with humility, trust, and perseverance. The main difficulties in prayer are absent-mindedness and dryness. The cure for them is faith, conversion, and vigilance of the heart.

How to overcome temptation?

The prayer of the disciples in union with their Master is a battle; when we are vigilant, we will not fall into temptation. Those who want to remain faithful to their baptismal vows and resist temptations should use self-knowledge, practice asceticism adapted to the situations in which they find themselves, obedience to God’s commandments, practice moral virtues, and faithfulness to prayer. “Temperance concentrates us and brings us to the unity from which we have been distracted by many things.” A Christian begins his day, his prayers, and every activity with the sign of the cross “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”. The baptized consecrates his day to the glory of God and asks the Savior for grace, which enables him, as a child of the heavenly Father, to act in the Holy Spirit. The sign of the cross strengthens us in temptations and difficulties. 

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