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Kolbe Report 4/1/23

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Dear Friends of the Kolbe Center,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I would like to thank everyone who prayed for my wife and me on our recent trip to the Republic of Georgia.  By the grace of God, I was able to make two presentations in St. Peter and St. Paul Catholic Church in Tbilisi, the ancient capital of Georgia.  The first presentation was attended by eleven representatives of the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, as well as by the Polish pastor of the church and a number of his parishioners.  The Patriarch clearly believes in the importance of showing young people that sound theology and sound natural science confirm the traditional patristic reading of the sacred history of Genesis.  Most of the parishioners who attended from the parish were university students, including quite a few medical students from India.  Several of the medical students were so excited by the presentation that they are going to try to obtain an invitation for the Kolbe Center to participate in the decennial exposition of the Sacred Relics of St Francis Xavier, popularly known as “Gõycho Saib” which will be held between November 21, 2024 and January 5, 2025.

 

Relics of St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552)

During the lifetime of St. Francis Xavier, the Catholic Church faced one of the greatest challenges to her authority in the history of Christianity.  Protestant revolutionaries sought to overturn the teachings of the Church handed down from the Apostles on the sacraments and on many doctrines of faith and morals.  To combat these errors, the Pope convened an ecumenical council of Bishops from all over the world to define the true doctrines of the faith against protestant errors, and in this undertaking he relied heavily on the newly-founded Society of Jesus, of which St. Francis Xavier was one of the first members.  With Jesuit theologians taking a leading role, the Council of Trent defined the dogma of creation that had been handed down from the Apostles clearly and forcefully.

The Council Fathers taught that God created ALL things by His Fiat, instantaneously, without any natural process: [T]he Divinity ­­ created all things in the beginning. He spoke and they were made: he commanded and they were created (Catechism of the Council of Trent). The Council Fathers also went to great lengths to make sure that all the faithful understood that the work of creation was finished with the creation of Adam (body and soul) and Eve from Adam’s side on the sixth day, and that God then stopped creating new kinds of creatures.  They wrote:

the seventh day was called the Sabbath, because God, having finished the creation of the world, rested on that day from all the work which He had done. Thus it is called by the Lord in Exodus (Catechism of the Council of Trent).

With this teaching, the Fathers of Trent drew a clear distinction between the supernatural work of creation and the natural order of providence which only began when the work of creation was finished.  This distinction established clear limits for the natural sciences, since it would be impossible for human beings to extrapolate from the material processes presently observed in nature to explain the origins of things in nature, as Darwin and his disciples would later attempt to do.  The Council Fathers also made clear that Genesis was a “sacred history” and that the days of Genesis One were 24-hour days, based on God’s commandment, written by the “finger of God” on the tablets of stone for Moses, as recorded in Exodus 20:

“Six days you may labor and do all your work.  But the seventh day is the Sabbath of YHWH your God.  You shall not do any work…In six days YHWH made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 20:8-11).

Resurrection Miracles in the Life of St. Francis Xavier

While St. Francis Xavier did not participate in the Council of Trent, in his life and missionary work he exemplified and bore witness to the truths of the faith that the Council of Trent defined.  By his many amazing miracles, for example, St. Francis Xavier demonstrated that the supernatural power of God—by which He created the universe and all the different kinds of creatures for man in the beginning—was fully present in the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. St. Francis demonstrated this most dramatically by raising many souls from the dead before numerous witnesses.

Many resurrection miracles have been recorded in the canonization processes of the saints during the last eight hundred years, but few saints have been credited with raising as many souls from the dead as the Apostle of India and Japan, St. Francis Xavier, as described in this account:

The following miracle of St. Francis Xavier is recorded in the Relatio documented in the time of Pope Paul V. In the streets of Mutan, Francis met a funeral procession bearing the body of a youth who had died of a malignant fever. According to the custom of that area, the body had been kept for 24 hours wrapped in a shroud. Like Jesus with the widow of Naim, Francis pitied the bereaved parents; they pleaded with him.

The saint knelt down, raised his eyes to Heaven, and prayed to God for the lad's life. Then he sprinkled the covered corpse with holy water and ordered the funeral shroud cut open. When the body was visible, Francis made the Sign of the Cross over it, took the youth by the hand, and bade him in the Name of Jesus to live.

The youth rose up alive, and Francis gave him to his parents in good health. The crowd marveled and praised the holiness of Francis. The youth's parents and friends, in gratitude and memory of the deed, erected a great cross on the spot and held a festival there.

At another time, St. Francis was preaching at Coulon, near Cape Comorin in Travancore at the southern tip of India opposite Ceylon (Sri Lanka). This was a seaport, a rough town where many Christians dishonored their name. Francis, while preaching in the Portuguese church there, felt baffled and stymied by the wall of obstinacy he met in his hardhearted listeners.

Now it happened that a man had been buried in the church the day before. St. Francis stopped preaching; he prayed to God to honor the Blood and the Name of His Son and to soften the hearts of the congregation. Then he directed a few men to open the nearby grave of the man who had been buried the day before. He had prayed in tears, and now he accompanied his directions with the burning words of holy eloquence. He told the congregation how God was pleased even to raise the dead in order to convert them.

When they opened the tomb and brought out the body, it was already giving off a stench. On Francis' orders they tore apart the shroud-to find the body already beginning to putrefy. Francis expressed his desire that they should all take note of these facts. (They could hardly escape them!) Then the saint fell on his knees, made a short prayer, and commanded the dead man, in the Name of the Living God, to arise.

The man arose-alive, vigorous and in perfect health! The onlookers were filled with awe. Those who needed it fell at the saint's feet to be baptized, and a large number of people were converted because of this miracle.

The two miracles above were accepted by the auditors of the Rota as resting on incontrovertible evidence from two witnesses, Emanuel Gaga and Joam Audicondam, as well as from one "dead" person himself. These great miracles led almost the entire kingdom--except for the king and a few of his courtiers--to become Christians within a few months.

“Dead and Buried for Several Days”

These miracles certainly give great glory to God, but perhaps even more remarkable is the account of the raising of a girl who had been dead and buried for several days:

At Malacca St. Francis Xavier worked a miracle for someone who had been buried for several days. When Francis was away from the town, the daughter of a recently baptized woman died. The mother had sought Francis everywhere while the girl was still ill. When this earnest parent learned that Francis had returned, she was full of the simple faith that Francis, whom she was convinced could have healed her daughter--as he had cured people en masse¬could just as easily raise the girl from the dead. As Martha said to Jesus, "But now also I know that whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee." (John 11 :22).

When the mother found St. Francis she threw herself at his feet, and like Martha and Mary, exclaimed that if he had been there her daughter would not have died; nonetheless, nothing was difficult for God, and she knew that Francis, with his prayers, could return her to life. As Jesus had marveled at the faith of the Roman centurion and the Syrophoenician woman, St. Francis Xavier marveled at the faith and confidence of this recent convert.

Since the mother seemed so worthy of such a favor, Francis prayed for God to grant her this consolation. Then he turned to the mother and told her to go to the grave; her daughter was alive. Hopeful, fearful, not disbelieving, but because Francis had not offered to come himself to the tomb, she answered simply that the girl had been three days buried. But St. Francis had measured her testing tolerance.

She questioned St. Francis no further; with shining faith she ran rejoicing to the church where her daughter had been buried. At the burial place the mother, together with many other witnesses who had hurried there with her, had the stone raised from the grave. The dead daughter, buried three days, came out alive! As with the raising of Lazarus, no one could doubt the verity of such a miracle.

One must admire the tenacious faith of this newly converted woman. Such strong faith is seldom found. The great faith and wisdom of the apostle met and matched the faith of the mother, when he asked her to go to the tomb alone.

Please stop and reflect on these miracles for a moment.   In every case, sufficient time had elapsed from the death of the resurrected person so that decomposition had progressed to varying degrees, in one case so that witnesses testified that “a stench” had already begun to emanate from the corpse.  The Church asks all Catholics to believe that the miracles accepted as evidence in a canonization process actually happened—and these miracles testify that the disorganized matter of rotting corpses was instantly transformed by God into living breathing human bodies in answer to the prayers of the saints in the Name of Jesus!  Yet most Catholic students in the West today are taught that they are not to believe Moses—as did all of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church—when he tells us that God created Adam from the slime of the Earth by simply willing him into existence.

Could anything be more incoherent?

Young Catholics of India: Called to Lead the Renewal of the Faith

Please join me in praying that if it is God’s Will, the Indian medical students from Goa who attended my presentation in Tbilisi will be able to obtain an invitation for the Kolbe Center to participate in the Exposition of the Sacred Relics of St. Francis Xavier.  As spiritual sons and daughters of St. Francis Xavier, it would be especially fitting for the young Catholics of Goa to defend the Catholic Faith as it was handed down from the Apostles, and to demonstrate a whole-hearted trust in God that will allow them even to work miracles, if necessary, to lead unbelievers to repentance and to saving faith in God in His Church.  In this way, they will become a sign of hope for Catholics throughout the world, and especially in the so-called “developed world,” where their shining example will help to inspire young Catholics to “keep the Faith” that was handed down from the Apostles.

Yours in Christ through the Immaculata in union with St. Joseph,

Hugh Owen

P.S.  Our annual leadership retreat has been scheduled to take place from August 27-September 2, 2023, at the Apostolate for Family Consecration retreat center in Bloomingdale, Ohio.  For more information or to register, please contact me at howen@shentel.net.

P.P.S. Today is a First Saturday. Please be sure to answer Our Lady’s appeal for the First Saturday devotions as described by the Fatima Center at this link.

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