Because the Saints Give the Best Advice

I may be a new Catholic (relatively speaking, RCIA Class of 2008) but I’ve been around the block a few times. I like to think that I know the difference between noise and signal. I’ve mentioned before why I’m not a disciple of this priest, or that priest, but of Christ.

Remember the counsel of the Holy Spirit through St. Paul?

Brothers, I could not talk to you as spiritual people, but as fleshly people, as infants in Christ. I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were unable to take it. Indeed, you are still not able, even now, for you are still of the flesh. While there is jealousy and rivalry among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving in an ordinary human way? Whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human? What is Apollos, after all, and what is Paul? Ministers through whom you became believers, just as the Lord assigned each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.

“But God caused the growth.”

I’m definitely not the follower of laymen like Michael Voris. Why? You mean besides not having enough time in a day for following his rants on video? Because he quite simply has as much authority as I do regarding teaching the Faith. In other words, none. He doesn’t speak for the bishops of the Catholic Church. And even if he means well, like I do, his “Vortex” is often times just that. I try not to go that route though, though I’m not always successful.

Here is an example of what I mean. Exhibit A of “Noise.”

If you were able to make it past 15 seconds before you hit the stop button, my hat is off to you. And if you made it through the next 20 seconds of product placement, you are a better person than I am. If you made it another minute without hearing St. Ignatius of Antioch whisper, “Therefore it is fitting that you live in harmony with the will of the bishop,” then perhaps you would like to spend some time (but not money) getting acquainted with his letters.

St. Ignatius of Antioch

Because this isn’t my idea, but the instruction of St. Ignatius of Antioch,

Beware therefore of such men; and this will be possible for you, if you are not puffed up, and are inseparable from God, from Jesus Christ, and from the bishop, and the ordinances of the Apostles. He who is within the sanctuary is pure, but he who is without the sanctuary is not pure; that is to say whoever does anything apart from the bishop and the presbytery and the deacons is not pure in his conscience.

St. Philip Neri also had some great advice for all of us in regards to becoming fully human as well as on how to spend our time learning about the Faith,

It is very useful for those who minister the Word of God, or give themselves up to prayer, to read the works of authors whose names begin with S., such as Saint Augustine, Saint Bernard, etc.

You can find authors like that (free of charge) in your Bible, and on the YIMCatholic Bookshelf. Your “signal to noise” filtering ability will improve markedly after your exposure to them.

St. Philip Neri

  • Hugo

    I hope you don't get me wrong, but I like Michael Voris. Maybe I shouldn't try to explain his video, but your first two lines of criticism were weird. After all, his initial 15 seconds are his "trademark", his next 20 seconds were necessary because the talk was supposed to happen in a given place but, after some complaints, the local bishop prohibited him to give his talk there (although the same bishop authorized an "open pro-homosexual lifestyle supporting lesbian who has a Facebook page promoting abortion and birth control" was allowed to talk" in the same diocese The rest of his video just points out that the preferred manner to receive Holy Communion is on the tongue – and no one can deny a faithful his right to receive it. He can sound harsh, sometimes unpleasant, but I don't find and of his being misleading or wrong.You also tried to dismiss him by his lack of authority on matters of faith. Well, it is true, but whenever he shows Church documents, the authority belongs to the documents, not to him. It is the same authority as yours to point out the examples of the saints: the source has authority, and every laymen can and should always point out to them.

  • Frank

    No problem Hugo. In this particular case, I fear that many wonder about what is going on in the Church after seeing something like this video. They may think, "Golly, then if on the tongue is the preferred method, then why are we allowed to receive Our Lord by the hand?" And the simple answer, which Mr. Voris glosses over and skirts is: because your bishops have approved of this method in your diocese/region/country. Therefore those who receive on the tongue are not more Catholic than those who do not. Nor should they be tempted to condemn their brethren for the way they choose to receive Holy Communion.

  • Fran

    Very well done Frank – I think that you are eminently fair about this and your pointing us to the saints is wise indeed. Thank you.

  • Hugo

    About saints and criticisms about bishops, you can quote Saint Catherine of Siena as well. She herself wrote to pope Urban to warn him to control his harsh and arrogant temper…About Voris, he made a very good point about our hands not being clean. In my case, for example, I sing in the choir and there is a lot of work assembling our microphone stand, distributing books, etc. My fingers are certainly dirty, and hearing that Holy Communion on the tongue is the preferred way makes me fell comfortable receiving the Body of Christ without using my hands. And kneeling before him, wow, is such a humbling gesture! It certainly does not make of a me any more Catholic them the others, but makes me figure out the surrendering that I should have learnt a way ago.