Friday, August 31, 2007


~Thunk! Bibliomaniacs swooning over this (via Fr. Finigan at Hermeneutic of Continuity): St. Philip's Oxford
Inside, the shop is graced with a splendid Jacobean fireplace and plaster work ceiling

Specialist in Theology and Church History, especially Roman Catholic books, Biblical Studies, Patristics, John Henry Newman and the Oxford Movement, J.R.R.Tolkien and Inklings, Classic Liturgy and Spirituality


Russian Orthodox prelate welcomes return of Latin Mass

~from CWN

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II has said that the revival of the traditional Mass will have a positive effect on relations between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

"We strongly adhere to tradition," Patriarch Alexei said in an August interview with the Italian newspaper Il Giornale "The recovery and honoring of an ancient liturgical tradition is a development that we can welcome."

The Classical Rite in a modern space

~via Daniel at The Lion and the Cardinal. This is St. John Vianney Church in the Chicago archdiocese. These pictures are from the Feast of the Assumption. Read Daniel's account of St. John Vianney Church.

Friday Devotion

Listen to Heinrich Schütz' O misericordissime Jesu

O misericordissime Jesu, o dulcissime Jesu,
o gratiosissime Jesu,
o Jesu, salus in te sperantium,
o Jesu, salus in te credentium,
o Jesu, salus ad te confugientium,
o Jesu, dulcis remissio omnium peccatorum,
o Jesu, propter nomen sanctum tuum
salve me, ne peream.
O Jesu, miserere, dum tempus est miserendi,
neque me damnes in tempore judicandi.
Si enim admisi, unde me damnare potes,
tu non amisisti, unde me salvare potes.
Sis ergo mihi Jesus, propter hoc nomen tuum,
et miserere mei, fac mihi secundum hoc nomen tuum
respice me miserum invocantem hoc
nomen amabile tuum: Jesus.

+ + +

O most merciful Jesu, O sweetest Jesu, O most gracious Jesu, O Jesu, salvation of those that put their trust in thee, o Jesu, salvation of those that believe in thee, O Jesu, salvation of those that seek refuge in thee, O Jesu, sweet remission of all sins, v Jesu, for thy blessed name’s sake. O, O Jesu, have mercy, while mercy may be given, that I might not be condemned at the day of judgment. It is my own fault that thou canst condemn me, yet thou ceasest not to save me. Therefore be to me Jesus, for thy name’s sake, and have mercy on me, for thy name’s sake behold me, poor wretch, as I call upon thy dear name: JESUS.

(Prayer after St. Augustine, Meditationes 39:6-8; 18:2)

This is My Body

~from Fr. Finigan of Hermeneutic of Continuity reports on the Oxford conference. Picture is from Schola Sainte Cécile

Holy Smoke

~by Damian Thompson in The Telegraph (hat tip to Fr. Z)
My spirits are soaring after attending yesterday’s solemn traditional Mass at Merton College, Oxford, during the training course for priests organised by the Latin Mass Society.

It was glorious to see the sunlight piercing the pillar of incense as priest, deacon and sub-deacon performed the ancient liturgy for which Merton Chapel was built.

I’m going to write about this in more detail elsewhere, but the conference (which ends today) has been a triumph. What delighted me most was the enthusiasm and patent holiness of the priests attending – most of them ordinary parish clergy, not dyed-in-the-wool “traditionalists”.

Everyone was buoyed up by the Archbishop of Birmingham’s sermon on Tuesday, which underlined the fact that the old barrier between older and newer forms of worship has been abolished by Pope Benedict.

Let’s hope that that the social barrier between Catholics attached to the newer and older forms of the Mass also disappears. The Pope understands that liturgical renewal will reinvigorate the whole Church; what Catholics need now are diocesan bishops who are willing implement his reform.
That looks like Br. Lawrence Lew, OP on the left end.

Return to me

~by St. Jerome

Return to me with all your heart and show a spirit of repentance with fasting, weeping and mourning; so that while you fast now, later you may be satisfied, while you weep now, later you may laugh, while you mourn now, you may some day enjoy consolation. It is customary for those in sorrow or adversity to tear their garments. The gospel records that the high priest did this to exaggerate the charge against our Lord and Saviour; and we read that Paul and Barnabas did so when they heard words of blasphemy. I bid you not to tear your garments but rather to rend your hearts which are laden with sin. Like wine skins, unless they have been cut open, they will burst of their own accord. After you have done this, return to the Lord your God, from whom you had been alienated by your sins. Do not despair of his mercy, no matter how great your sins, for great mercy will take away great sins.

For the Lord is gracious and merciful and prefers the conversion of a sinner rather than his death. Patient and generous in his mercy, he does not give in to human impatience but is willing to wait a long time for our repentance. So extraordinary is the Lord’s mercy in the face of evil, that if we do penance for our sins, he regrets his own threat and does not carry out against us the sanctions he had threatened. So by the changing of our attitude, he himself is changed. But in this passage we should interpret “evil” to mean, not the opposite of virtue, but affliction, as we read in another place: Sufficient for the day are its own evils. And, again: If there is evil in the city, God did not create it.

In like manner, given all that we have said above – that God is kind and merciful, patient, generous with his forgiveness, and extraordinary in his mercy toward evil – lest the magnitude of his clemency make us lax and negligent, he adds this word through his prophet: Who knows whether he will not turn and repent and leave behind him a blessing? In other words, he says: “I exhort you to repentance, because it is my duty, and I know that God is inexhaustibly merciful, as David says: Have mercy on me, God, according to your great mercy, and in the depths of your compassion, blot out all my iniquities. But since we cannot know the depth of the riches and of the wisdom and knowledge of God, I will temper my statement, expressing a wish rather than taking anything for granted, and I will say: Who knows whether he will not turn and repent? “ Since he says, Who, it must be understood that it is impossible or difficult to know for sure.

To these words the prophet adds: Offerings and tribulations for the Lord our God. What he is saying to us in other words is that, God having blessed us and forgiven us our sins, we will then be able to offer sacrifice to God.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Clowns to take over Canterbury Cathedral

~oh, it's real clowns...not the ones involved in the current unpleasantness in the whole Anglican Communion. From Independent Catholic:
For the first time in the history of Canterbury Cathedral, the Holy Fools UK will be holding a special service to cerebrate their 25th Silver Anniversary. The Service will take place on Saturday, 15 September at 6pm and will have up to 30 Christian clowns (Holy Fools) in the service, all colourfully made up and in costume ready to present this special service with all the energy and fun that clowns give. The public is warmly invited to the service to join them in this special celebration

The Holy Fools is a national Christian organization with members throughout the UK. The aim of the Holy Fools is to use clowning, miming puppetry, dance, storytelling and allied arts in ministry and worship. We make services special, memorable and fun!!.

The National events co-ordinator Richard James said: "We are really looking forward to this special event which is a celebration and an opportunity to entertain the public and show how we use our ministry. Members, some professional clowns, have taken part and performed in hundreds of churches throughout the UK we are always well received and the congregation leaves with a smile on their face. We are an interdenominational organization and we welcome new members who would like to train to become a Holy Fool we help release the clown in you!!
I hate clowns.

Do you know what time it is?

It's this much until the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Summorum, anyone? I've a date with Mozart's Missa Brevis.

That horrid NAB translation

~Fr. Stephanos points out something interesting in today's gospel:
Did you know that King Herod got married to his own brother?

Yes, that's what the U.S. translators did with the first sentence of today's Gospel reading, Mark 6:17-29.
Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
It would have been better to have used the following word order.
Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of the wife of his brother Philip, Herodias, whom he had married.
Ah, beware those ambiguous antecedents.

Rosary for Truth

~an invitation from Peter C. for all those in the Minneapolis area
We invite you to pray the Rosary with us for a return to the Orthodox Tradition of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and for the conversion of our brothers and sisters who are involved, whether by intent, deceit or ignorance, in disordered movements contrary to the
teachings of the Magisterium of the Church and Holy Scripture.

St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesian Church commanded, Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. . . .when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible. (Ephesians 5:11,13) Our struggle is not against our brothers and sisters, but for their conversion in love, For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12) Together we can expose the works of darkness by bringing, through this mighty prayer, the light of truth and love in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our intent is to gather over a period of time at various churches in our Archdiocese approximately 25 minutes before Mass, quietly kneel and silently pray the most holy Rosary of the blessed Mother of God.

If you sense the Spirit of God prodding you then please join with us. Please carry your Rosary exposed so we can identify one another and sit together if you wish.

Arrive 30 minutes before Mass is scheduled to begin.

Schedule of Dates, Churches and Mass Times
Date Mass Time Church

Sept. 8 (Saturday) 4:30 p.m.

St. Thomas the Apostle
Rosary at 4:05 p.m.
2914 West 44 th Street, Mpls, 55410

Sept. 22 (Saturday) 5:00 p.m.

Church of Christ the King
Rosary at 4:35 p.m.
5029 Zenith Ave. S, Mpls, 55410

Sept. 29 (Saturday) 5:00 p.m .

St. Frances Cabrini
Rosary at 4:35 a.m
1500 Franklin Ave SE, Mpls

The Latin Mass Network

~About The Latin Mass Network...not to be confused with the Summorum Pontificum Contact Database (hat tip to Fr. Gonzales)
The Purpose of The Latin Mass Network is to promote the Traditional Mass - the Mass of All Ages. With the promulgation of the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, a new wave of enthusiasm for the restoration of Tradition is sweeping the Church. At last, every priest has the opportunity to offer the Mass in its most pure form. Every pastor may initiate a Traditional Mass in his parish and soon, with a little work and prayer, every Catholic will be able to find a Traditional Mass conveniently located. We want help this vision by encouraging both the clergy and the laity to work together, to share resources, and to unite in a common goal.
Please visit.

Latin Mass Society Conference

~from the Archdiocese of Birmingham website (hat tip to Chris Gillibrand)
Archbishop Vincent Nichols was the principal concelebrant and preacher at the Opening Mass of the Latin Mass Society (LMS) Training Conference at Merton College, Oxford, for priests wishing to learn about the extraordinary form of the Mass, on Tuesday 28 August, the Feast of St Augustine, writes Peter Jennings.
Read Archbishop Nichols' homily here. One brief excerpt:
The mystery we celebrate is the mystery of our salvation. And this is not something hidden or to be shrouded, but declared and made manifest.

The emphasis in our celebration is not so much on the transcendent mystery of God himself, not so much a glimpsing of the mystery of God as was given to Abraham, Moses, Isaiah or the three disciples at the Transfiguration. Rather it is action of our Redemption, the mystery ‘he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight, the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ…to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.’ (Eph 1.10). This mystery is disclosed in the Incarnation, in earthly realities, which all the disciples, like St John, are invited to see, to touch and to receive in their liturgical and sacramental presence. The words and actions of Christ, summed up in his sacrifice and in his Body and Blood given for our nourishment, are the heart of every celebration of the Mass.

On Beauty

~from Hans Urs von Balthasar:
"Beauty is the word that shall be our first. Beauty is the last thing which the thinking intellect dares to approach, since only it dances as an uncontained splendour around the double constellation of the true and the good and their inseparable relation to one another. Beauty is the disinterested one, without which the ancient world refused to understand itself, a word which both imperceptibly and yet unmistakably has bid farewell to our new world, a world of interests, leaving it to its own avarice and sadness. No longer loved or fostered by religion, beauty is lifted from its face as a mask, and its absence exposes features on that face which threaten to become incomprehensible to man. […] We can be sure that whoever sneers at her name as if she were the ornament of a bourgeois past—whether he admits it or not—can no longer pray and soon will no longer be able to love. […] In a world without beauty—even if people cannot dispense with the word and constantly have it on the tip of their tongues in order to abuse it—in a world which is perhaps not wholly without beauty, but which can no longer see it or reckon with it: in such a world the good also loses its attractiveness, the self-evidence of why it must be carried out. […] In a world that no longer has enough confidence in itself to affirm the beautiful, the proofs of the truth have lost their cogency."

English translation taken from The Glory of the Lord, A Theological Aesthetics, I. Seeing the Form, Edinburgh 1982, pp. 18-19.

You, God, are everything to us

~by St. Columban

Brethren, let us follow that vocation by which we are called from life to the fountain of life. He is the fountain, not only of living water, but of eternal life. He is the fountain of light and spiritual illumination; for from him come all these things: wisdom, life and eternal light. The author of life is the fountain of life; the creator of light is the fountain of spiritual illumination. Therefore, let us seek the fountain of light and life and the living water by despising what we see, by leaving the world and by dwelling in the highest heavens. Let us seek these things, and like rational and shrewd fish may we drink the living water which wells up to eternal life.

Merciful God, good Lord, I wish that you would unite me to that fountain, that there I may drink of the living spring of the water of life with those others who thirst after you. There in that heavenly region may I ever dwell, delighted with abundant sweetness, and say: "How sweet is the fountain of living water which never fails, the water welling up to eternal life."

O God, you are yourself that fountain ever and again to be desired, ever and again to be consumed. Lord Christ, always give us this water to be for us the source of the living water which wells up to eternal life. I ask you for your great benefits. Who does not know it? You, King of glory, know how to give great gifts, and you have promised them; there is nothing greater than you, and you bestowed yourself upon us, you gave yourself for us.

Therefore, we ask that we may know what we love, since we ask nothing other than that you give us yourself. For you are our all: our life, our light, our salvation, our food and our drink, our God. Inspire our hearts, I ask you, Jesus, with that breath of your Spirit; wound our souls with your love, so that the soul of each and every one of us may say in truth: Show me my soul's desire, for I am wounded by your love.

These are the wounds I wish for, Lord. Blessed is the soul so wounded by love. Such a soul seeks the fountain of eternal life and drinks from it, although it continues to thirst and its thirst grows ever greater even as it drinks. Therefore, the more the soul loves, the more it desires to love, and the greater its suffering, the greater its healing. In this same way may our God and Lord Jesus Christ, the good and saving physician, wound the depths of our souls with a healing wound--the same Jesus Christ who reigns in unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Os Justi

...feeding the choral addiction, here's Os Justi by Anton Bruckner.
Os justi meditabitur sapientiam,
et lingua ejus loquetur judicium.
Lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius:
et non supplantabuntur gressus ejus. Alleluia.

The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks what is just.
The law of his God is in his heart;
and his feet do not falter. Alleluia

What city do you belong in?

~With Tiber in my name...

You Belong in Rome

You're a big city soul with a small town heart
Which is why you're attracted to the romance of Rome
Strolling down picture perfect streets, cappuccino in hand
And gorgeous Italian people - could life get any better?

Mother Teresa: Believing through the silence

~a beautiful essay by Anthony Esolen in Mere Commentary. Here's a brief excerpt:
The same people who rejoice that Mother Teresa experienced the pain of doubt used to say that she served the poor in Calcutta only because it did her good -- because she selfishly derived joy from it. Now, if that is what it means to be "selfish," to identify yourself with the filthy and pustulent outcasts of the world, without self-aggrandizement, without promoting some great social or political program, but merely because you are commanded to love, then so be it, let us all be selfish, let us all heap up treasures of love for ourselves, the love we give and the love of God we will enjoy. But that stretches the word "selfish" beyond all recognition.
Please read the whole thing.

Divo Barsotti, a prophet for today's Church

~If you're not familiar with Divo Barsotti, here's a previous post on priestly celibacy. Sandro Magister has written about Divo Barsotti in the latest issue of Chiesa.
He was decades ahead in anticipating the main features of the current pontificate. And now his greatness is being discovered, thanks in part to an exhibit dedicated to him. He lived in Florence, right in the thick of the turmoil of the Council and the period following it.

At this year's international meeting held in Rimini, as it is each August, Communion and Liberation dedicated an exhibit to a Christian personality of great significance who is far too little known: "Divo Barsotti, the last mystic of the twentieth century."

Divo Barsotti – who died at the age of 92 on February 15, 2006, at his hermitage of Saint Sergius in Settignano, north of Florence – was a priest, a theologian, the founder of the Community of the Children of God, and an extraordinary mystic and spiritual master.

One year before his death, the founder of Communion and Liberation, Fr. Luigi Giussani, died in Milan. The two never met in person, but they had great respect for each other.

This year, Communion and Liberation chose this theme for the Rimini Meeting: "The truth is the destiny for which we were made."

And it was precisely on the primacy of the truth that Fr. Barsotti founded all of his life and teaching, in prophetic harmony with the major outlines of the current pontificate. One more reason to rediscover and accentuate his legacy.

* * *

In life, Divo Barsotti often found himself alone and misunderstood. When he was a young priest, isolated in his diocese of San Miniato. When he arrived in Florence, understood and supported by few. He again remained alone, for years, in his hermitage in Settignano, abandoned by his first followers. And so also later, ignored and undervalued until the end of his life by much of the Catholic media and intelligentsia.

He was self-taught, with no theology degree. He wrote a great deal: 160 books and countless articles and scattered papers, but no systematic work. And yet his written and oral production bears witness to a depth, a consistency, a foresightedness, a critical acumen, a freedom of spirit that stand out today as absolutely out of the ordinary.


There is a very strong resemblance between the diagnosis of the Council and the period following it formulated by Barsotti and the one made by Ratzinger both before and after his election as pope, most recently in the conversation he held last July 24 with the priests of Cadore.

There is a noteworthy affinity between the two in their seeking out nourishment in the Church's great tradition and breaking this bread among the great numbers of ordinary Christians. In the case of Benedict XVI, it should be enough to think of his two cycles of Wednesday catecheses: the first, dedicated to the apostolic Church, with individual profiles of the apostles and the other main characters of the New Testament; the second, dedicated to the Greek and Latin fathers of the first centuries of the Church, which has now arrived at the depiction of the great bishops and theologians of Cappadocia – Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, Gregory of Nissa.

There is perfect agreement between Barsotti and pope Ratzinger on the manner of reading the Sacred Scriptures and penetrating their profound meaning: not solely with the tools of the historical and philological sciences, but also in the light of their ultimate Author, the Holy Spirit, recognizable in the Church's tradition.

The two also share similar views on politics and history. Both are extremely opposed to the idea that in earthly history there is the progressive construction, almost by natural evolution, of a kingdom of peace and justice. Both are absolutely certain that the "eschaton," the ultimate and definitive act of salvation for man and for the world, is already present here and now, and is nothing other than the crucified and risen Jesus.

The "Christian mystery" is him, Jesus crucified and risen, who is seated at the right hand of the Father but at the same time becomes bread for man in the Eucharist. The events of the mystery are made real in the Mass. Here, too, there is extraordinary agreement between Barsotti's book "The Christian Mystery in the Liturgical Year" and the later reflections and homilies of Benedict XVI in the pontifical Masses.

From the book "Jesus of Nazareth," the chief work of this pontificate, to the centrality of the Eucharist, to the encyclical "Deus Caritas Est," the magisterium of Benedict XVI presents a dazzling cohesion. It is the same cohesion that appeared in the life and works of Barsotti. In a footnote of his 1951 book "The Christian Mystery in the Liturgical Year," there is a reflection on eros and agape that is stunning for how it anticipates the heart of pope Ratzinger's encyclical.

In both of these, there is the awareness that the Church lives on the foundation of truth, and that it is only from "veritas" that "caritas" arises, just as the Spirit proceeds "ex Patre Filioque": from the Father and from the Son who is the Logos, the Word of God.


Saturno time

~from today's General Audience at St. Peter's Square

(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithful as he arrives to lead his weekly Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's square at the Vatican, August 29, 2007. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (VATICAN)



General Audience: St. Gregory of Nyssa

~from Papa Razinger Forum collected and translated from various news sources:

He devoted the catechesis today to St. Gregory of Nyssa, brother of St. Basil and friend like him of St. Gregory Nazianzene - the two Father of the Church to whom the Pope had dedicated his four previous catecheses (two each for each one).

The Pope said St. Gregory of Nyssa's teachings invited man "to recognize in himself the reflection of divine light."

"Man's ultimate purpose is the contemplation of God," he said. "Only thus can he find his satisfaction. To anticipate this goal in some measure during life, he should progress incessantly towards a spiritual life that is increasingly more perfect."

He said "the most important lesson St. Gregory of Nyssa left us is that 'man finds his full realization in sainthood."

he called him 'the father of mysticism', one who was "gifted with a meditative character, with a great capacity for reflection, and a lively intelligence which was open to the culture of this time."

After the death of St. Basil, the Pope said, St. Gregory of Nyssa virtually "took up his spiritual legacy and cooperated in the triumph of (Catholic) orthodoxy."

St. Gregory "recognized in himself the reflection of divine light." Speaking beyond his prepared text, the Pope added, "By purifying his heart, he returned to being - as man was before - a limpid image of God, exemplary beauty. Thus man can see God, as do the pure of heart, only by washing out the terrible things deposited in our hearts, can one find the light of God."

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

In addition to the feast of the nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24), the Church, since the fourth century, commemorates the martyrdom of Christ's precursor. According to the Roman Martyrology, this day marks "the second finding of his most venerable head." The body of the saint was buried in Samaria. In the year 362 pagans desecrated the grave and burned his remains. Only a small portion of his relics were able to be saved by monks and sent to St. Athanasius at Alexandria. The head of the saint is venerated at various places. That in the Church of St. Sylvester in Rome belongs to a martyr-priest John. Also in the Dominican church at Breslau the Baptist's head is honored.

~Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Precursor of Christ in birth and death

~by St. Bede the Venerable

As forerunner of our Lord’s birth, preaching and death, the blessed John showed in his struggle a goodness worthy of the sight of heaven. In the words of Scripture: Though in the sight of men he suffered torments, his hope is full of immortality. We justly commemorate the day of his birth with a joyful celebration, a day which he himself made festive for us through his suffering and which he adorned with the crimson splendour of his own blood. We do rightly revere his memory with joyful hearts, for he stamped with the seal of martyrdom the testimony which he delivered on behalf of our Lord.

There is no doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our Redeemer, whose forerunner he was, and gave his life for him. His persecutor had demanded not that he should deny Christ, but only that he should keep silent about the truth. Nevertheless, he died for Christ. Does Christ not say: I am the truth? Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth, he surely died for Christ.

Through his birth, preaching and baptising, he bore witness to the coming birth, preaching and baptism of Christ, and by his own suffering he showed that Christ also would suffer.

Such was the quality and strength of the man who accepted the end of this present life by shedding his blood after the long imprisonment. He preached the freedom of heavenly peace, yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men; he was locked away in the darkness of prison, though he came bearing witness to the Light of life and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp by that Light itself, which is Christ. John was baptised in his own blood, though he had been privileged to baptise the Redeemer of the world, to hear the voice of the Father above him, and to see the grace of the Holy Spirit descending upon him. But to endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John; rather it was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.

Since death was ever near at hand through the inescapable necessity of nature, such men considered it a blessing to embrace it and thus gain the reward of eternal life by acknowledging Christ’s name. Hence the apostle Paul rightly says: You have been granted the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake. He tells us why it is Christ’s gift that his chosen ones should suffer for him: The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Music to blow away the cobwebs

...of frustrations from your workday. I dare you to sing along.

These are a couple of excerpts from Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass.

Listen to Credo in unum Deum.
Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem factorem cæli et terræ visibilium omnium et invisibilium omnium et ex Patre natum ante omnia sæcula. Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero; genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri, per quem omnia facta sunt; qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de cælis.
Listen to Et Resurrexit:
Et resurrexit tertia die secundum Scripturas; et ascendit in cælum, sedet ad dexteram Patris; et iterum venturus est cum gloria judicare vivos et mortuos; cujus regni non erit finis;

Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem: qui ex Patre Filioque procedit; qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur; qui locutus est per Prophetas;

Et in unam sanctam Catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam.

Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum; et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum et vitam venturi sæculi. Amen.

Proper education of the young

~by Fr. George Rutler at NRO Corner (hat tip to Gerald)
I'd encourage your youngest one to abandon kindergarten altogether. Almost everything I learned was learned outside the classroom, and school itself interrupted my education. Moreover, school locks you in with your peers. That is a mistake. One's social circle should never include one's equals. From my earliest years I found children uninteresting and always preferred the company of adults. This was an advantage, because I got to know lots of folks who are dead now whom I never would have known if I had waited until I was an adult. - So I have a collective memory - and oral tradition - that goes back to the eighteenth century, having spoken with people who knew people who knew people who knew people who lived then. - The only real university is the universe and a city its microcosm. That is why an expression like "New York University" is foolish. New York City is the university….Instead of school, children should spend some hours each day in hotel lobbies talking to the guests. They should spend time in restaurant kitchens and shops and garages of all kinds, learning from people who actually make the world work….One day spent roaming through a real classical church building would be the equivalent of one academic term in any of our schools, and a little time spent inconspicuously in a police station would be more informative than all the hours wasted on bogus social sciences. Formal lessons would only be required for accuracy in spelling and proficiency in public speaking, for which the public speakers in our culture are not models, and in exchange for performing some menial services a child could learn the violin, harp, and piano from musicians in one of the better cocktail lounges, or from performers in the public subways….So I urge you to keep your child out of kindergarten, because kindergarten will only lead to first grade and then the grim sequence of grade after grade begins and takes its inexorable toll on the mind born fertile but gradually numbed by the pedants who impose on the captive child the flotsam of their own infecundity.
And Cardinal Daniélou in Scandal of Truth says this about academic freedom:
[I]f there is one way in which I think academic freedom must be asserted, it is in parents' exercising their right to refuse to send their adolescent children to teachers—and in adolescents' refusing to listen to teachers—who threaten to destroy youth's most precious possession.

Mother Teresa's Little Faith

~from James Kushiner in Mere Comments
The "media" seems to be all over the "revelation" that Mother Teresa, according to her letters soon to be published, had lots of doubts. Some are quick to suggest she had "lost her faith." Others, those in religious media who actually know a thing or two about Christianity, don't find any of her doubts surprise.

...That some secular journalists will go ga-ga over what appears to them a chance to discredit a Christian only shows how dogmatic they are about their own secularism. They assume that real Christians are as untroubled by contrary thoughts as they are.

When's the last time you read of a secularist, pro-choice liberal admit that once in a while he has serious doubts about what seems to have become a mainstay of the program, that maybe, just maybe, that little "tissue" that can be easily disposed of in a "abortion clinic" might be, really and truly, a human being? Wouldn't dream of it....

I for one have doubts. But that's because it's a struggle to remember certain things--not ideas or doctrines, but lines of evidence, unimpeachable testimony, the experience of millions, including mine, of things that definitely point to something beyond the hermentically-sealed dreams of secular materialists. Doubt creeps in because faith has to do with things we can't, quite, see with our naked eyes--most of the time.

Airway to Heaven

~from The Curt Jester musing on the type of service a flyer might find on Vatican Air
  • They have no schedules and will only tell you "Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."
  • When boarding you always have to enter through the "Narrow gate."
  • Everybody gets the same seating arrangement because with Vatican Air there are no Jews, Greeks, Male, Female, Business Class, Economy, or First Class.
  • They use nuns as stewardesses and will rap your knuckles if you forget to say grace before eating your package of peanuts.
  • After the nuns demonstrate how to exit the aircraft and how to use the oxygen masks, they demonstrate how to pray the Rosary available in the compartment on the back of each seat. They also tell the passengers "The Parable of the Unjust Stewardess."
  • You never have to worry about the pilot being raptured because Catholics don't fall for that fairly recent teleological innovation.
  • Flight insurance includes a fund that will pay stipends to a monastery of your choice that will have Masses said for you in case of a fatal accident.
  • There is always a priest onboard trained to quickly give general absolutions in case of an in flight emergency. Otherwise passengers may use the in flight confessionals. When using the in flight confessional make sure you slide the sign to occupied.
  • You get to offer up turbulence and airline food.
  • Not only is the seat a flotation device but it can also be used as a kneeler.
  • Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites and males from some other orders are eligible for Frequent Friar Miles.
  • If Vatican Air loses your luggage St. Anthony is immediately invoked.
  • You never have to worry that your aircrew includes Pontius Pilot.
  • Connecting flights are made with Holy Virgin airlines.
Visit The Curt Jester to see a picture of the pilot.

Neglecting genius

~from Dr. Blosser at Pertinacious Papist
Have any of you who are educators noticed how many memoranda from the administration these days carry attachments with protocols and programs for students with disabilities? I'm not referring here primarily to those with unambiguous disabilities such as hearing impairment or confinement to a wheelchair, about whose conditions I have little question. I'm referring to those, often self-diagnosed, who claim disability status in terms of ambiguous quasi-medical expressions like "attention deficit disorder," "dislexia," "text anxiety syndrome," and the like, which, I'm sorry to say, seem to cover a multitude of sins from sloth, lack of preparedness, and simple intellectual incompetence, as well as genuine psycho-medical problems in some cases. Have you noticed how many otherwise ordinary and able-looking students approach you with forms notifying you of various disabilities and disorders they reportedly have? Even among your otherwise "normal" underachievers, have you noticed how many of their parents pummel you with irate phone calls when their children fail, when, after all, they have paid full tuition for them? (Never mind the fact that they've slept through most of their courses hung over from their nocturnal frat parties constituting their actual raison d'etre at college.)

A recent issue of Time magazine carries an article by John Cloud entitled "Failing Our Geniuses" (Time, August 16, 2007 online; August 27, 2007, print). The subtitular description reads: "In U.S. schools, the highest achievers are too often challenged the least. Why that's hurting America -- and how to fix it."

The good news is that of the 62 milion school-age kids in the U.S., 62,000 have IQs of 145 or higher. But the good news stops there. According to the article, one study shows that 40% of the top 5% of high school grads fail to finish college. Most damning, however, is the fact that U.S. schools spend $8 billion -- that's eight BILLION dollars -- a year educating the mentally retarded, By the most generous calculation, says cloud, we spend no more than 10% of that on the gifted. What kind of sense does it make to spend 10 times as much trying to bring low-achievers to bare proficiency as we do to nurture those with the greatest potential? In fact, it's worse than that: those with the greatest potential are practically marginalized, on the assumption that they will succeed willy-nilly, but all too often merely left to fall through the cracks. It's not merely that the intellectually gifted have emotional needs as real as those of anyone else, including the mentally challenged. It's far worse: motivated by a false sense of compassion, we are pouring the greatest part of our national educational resources massively into programs for our mentally handicapped and disabled, while neglecting our gifted with whom our national future lies. I'm no Darwinian and I don't cotton to the Zarathustrianism of Nietzsche, but this faux compassion has no future.

Feast of St. Augustine, bishop

Augustine Aurelius was born on November 13, 354, in Tagaste, North Africa. His father was a pagan, his mother St. Monica. Still unbaptized and burning for knowledge, he came under the influence of the Manicheans, which caused his mother intense sorrow. He left Africa for Rome, deceiving his mother, who was ever anxious to be near him. She prayed and wept. A bishop consoled her by observing that a son of so many tears would never be lost. Yet the evil spirit drove him constantly deeper into moral degeneracy, capitalizing on his leaning toward pride and stubbornness. Grace was playing a waiting game; there still was time, and the greater the depths into which the evil spirit plunged its fledgling, the stronger would be the reaction.

Augustine recognized this vacuum; he saw how the human heart is created with a great abyss; the earthly satisfactions that can be thrown into it are no more than a handful of stones that hardly cover the bottom. And in that moment grace was able to break through: Restless is the heart until it rests in God. The tears of his mother, the sanctity of Milan's Bishop Ambrose, the book of St. Anthony the hermit, and the sacred Scriptures wrought his conversion, which was sealed by baptism on Easter night 387. Augustine's mother went to Milan with joy and witnessed her son's baptism. It was what it should have been, the greatest event of his life, his conversion — metanoia. Grace had conquered. Augustine accompanied his mother to Ostia, where she died. She was eager to die, for now she had given birth to her son for the second time.

In 388 he returned to Tagaste, where he lived a common life with his friends. In 391 he was ordained priest at Hippo, in 394 made coadjutor to bishop Valerius, and then from 396 to 430 bishop of Hippo.

Augustine, numbered among the four great Doctors of the Western Church, possessed one of the most penetrating minds of ancient Christendom. He was the most important Platonist of patristic times, the Church's most influential theologian, especially with regard to clarifying the dogmas of the Trinity, grace, and the Church. He was a great speaker, a prolific writer, a saint with an inexhaustible spirituality. His Confessions, a book appreciated in every age, describes a notable portion of his life (until 400), his errors, his battles, his profound religious observations. Famous too is his work The City of God, a worthy memorial to his genius, a philosophy of history. Most edifying are his homilies, especially those on the psalms and on the Gospel of St. John.

Augustine's episcopal life was filled with mighty battles against heretics, over all of whom he triumphed. His most illustrious victory was that over Pelagius, who denied the necessity of grace; from this encounter he earned the surname "Doctor of grace." As an emblem Christian art accords him a burning heart to symbolize the ardent love of God which permeates all his writings. He is the founder of canonical life in common; therefore Augustinian monks and the Hermits of St. Augustine honor him as their spiritual father.

~Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

O Eternal Truth, true love and beloved eternity

~from Confessions by St. Augustine

Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance the innermost places of my being; but only because you had become my helper was I able to do so. I entered, then, and with the vision of my spirit, such as it was, I saw the incommutable light far above my spiritual ken and transcending my mind: not this common light which every carnal eye can see, nor any light of the same order; but greater, as though this common light were shining much more powerfully, far more brightly, and so extensively as to fill the universe. The light I saw was not the common light at all, but something different, utterly different, from all those things. Nor was it higher than my mind in the sense that oil floats on water or the sky is above the earth; it was exalted because this very light made me, and I was below it because by it I was made. Anyone who knows truth knows this light.

O eternal Truth, true Love, and beloved Eternity, you are my God, and for you I sigh day and night. As I first began to know you, you lifted me up and showed me that, while that which I might see exists indeed, I was not yet capable of seeing it. Your rays beamed intensely on me, beating back my feeble gaze, and I trembled with love and dread. I knew myself to be far away from you in a region of unlikeness, and I seemed to hear your voice from on high: “I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be changed into me”.

Accordingly I looked for a way to gain the strength I needed to enjoy you, but I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who is also God, supreme over all things and blessed for ever. He called out, proclaiming I am the Way and Truth and the Life, nor had I known him as the food which, though I was not yet strong enough to eat it, he had mingled with our flesh, for the Word became flesh so that your Wisdom, through whom you created all things, might become for us the milk adapted to our infancy.

Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!
Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong – I, misshapen.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being,
were they not in you.
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Italians choose to spend vacations in monasteries and convents

~from CNA

More and more Italians, tired from the routine and noise of the city, are opting to spend their vacations in monasteries and convents that offer them a time of reflection and contact with nature.

Many religious communities—even cloistered convents--have opened their doors to young people and families to join in their daily life of prayer and activities, as well as to listen to their concerns and provide them spiritual guidance.

“In these times in which prayer and reflection go unnoticed,” the Augustinian Sisters of the Monastery of Lecceto, near Siena, offer such an opportunity, said Mother Sofia. Guests can participate in community prayers and even help out with the monastery’s artisan work.

The Benedictine monks, who are instructed in their rule of life to receive visitors, are taking guests in at their monastery in Subiaco, allowing them to participate in the daily prayers of the community.

The Franciscans at the Sacro Convent of Assisi offer guests the chance to visit the places where St. Francis lived, such as the Church of San Damiano, the Portiuncula chapel, and his tomb at the Basilica of Assisi.

Reservations at the more than three thousand Italian abbeys, monasteries, and convents can be made at

Simply Loved Life

~on Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta from Our Sunday Visitor by Jim Towey:
Even though she carried the burden of celebrity, she had the wisdom to choose 'the better part'

Many people were blessed to be friends or colleagues of Mother Teresa, who had a permanent impact on their lives. Our Sunday Visitor asked two of these fortunate people to reflect upon what made this simple sister so special.

It has been 10 years since Mother Teresa went home to God. Her beatification in October 2003 placed her one miracle away from canonization.

As with any saint, there is a danger of turning Mother Teresa into a plastic statue and adorning her with ethereal glow. In my 12 years of association and friendship with Mother, what impressed me most was her beautiful humanity.

Mother Teresa first of all was a mother. She had an extraordinary maternal love. She listened intently to you as if you were her only child. She cared about your best interests and sometimes told you things you didn't want to hear.

She didn't judge. Mother used to say, "If you judge people, then you have no time to love them." She was thoughtful and considerate and, like many mothers, she was never too busy for the little things.

I remember one morning in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1989. I had attended early morning Mass with Mother at her contemplative sisters' house where she was staying. I rushed out after Mass to go and run the errands she had given me.

I raced to the Missionaries of Charity truck and was about to pull out when I saw a commotion at the door -- Mother had come outside and was gesturing for me.

I hastily parked the truck and ran to see what she wanted. To my utter surprise, she had come out with great urgency to give me a peanut butter sandwich and a banana so that I had something for breakfast. That's what mothers -- and saints -- do.
Love of beauty

I think Mother Teresa's love of God and love of life were inseparable. Her laugh was unmistakable and often unexpected. She delighted in the company of those whom God had given to her as daughters and sons -- the Missionaries of Charity sisters, brothers and fathers who followed in her footsteps. When one of them would come to see her after being away years in the missions, her eyes would beam recognition and delight.

She loved beauty wherever she encountered it. She enjoyed singing and writing poetry. She kept in touch with her friends and had plenty of them. She simply loved life.

Through the narrow gate

Pope Benedict XVI greets faithful during the Angelus prayer from his window at his summer palace in Castel Gandolfo, on the outskirts of Rome, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2007. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

~from yesterday's Angelus, translated by Teresa Benedetta of Papa Ratzinger Forum:

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today's liturgy proposes to us a statement of Christ which is illuminating but at the same time disconcerting. During his last journey towards Jerusalem, someone asked him: "Lord, will only a few people be saved?"

Jesus answers: "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough." (Lk 13, 23-24).

What does this 'narrow gate' mean? Why will many not succeed in entering it? Is it perhaps reserved only to a few elect? In effect, we can well see that this has always been the reasoning by Jesus's interlocutors: there has always been the temptation to interpret religious practice as a source of privileges or security.

In fact, Christ's message is exactly the opposite: everyone can enter life, but for everyone the gate is 'narrow'. No one is privileged. The way to eternal life is open to all, but it is 'narrow' because it is demanding, it requires commitment, abnegation, a mortification of our own ego.

Once again, as in the past few Sundays, the Gospel invites us to consider the future which awaits us and for which we should prepare during our pilgrimage on earth.

Salvation, which Jesus effected through his death and resurrection, is universal. He is the only Redeemer and he invites all of us to the banquet of immortal life. But on one and the same condition: that we must try to follow and imitate him, taking upon ourselves, as he did, our own Cross, and dedicating our life to the service of our brothers.

Therefore, this condition for entering into celestial life is singular but universal. On the final day, Jesus reminds us in the Gospel, we are not going to be judged on the basis of presumed privileges but according to our works.

So the 'workers of evil' will find themselves excluded, while those who did good and sought justice, at the cost of sacrifices, will be welcomed. Nor will it suffice to declare ourselves 'friends' of Christ, alleging false merits: "We ate and drank in your presence, and you have taught in our squares" (Lk 13,26).

True friendship with Christ is expressed in how we live: it is expressed with goodness of heart, with humility, kindness and mercy, love for justice and truth, sincere and honest commitment to peace and reconciliation.

This, we might say, is the 'identity card' that qualifies us as authentic 'friends' of Christ. This is the 'passport' that will allow us to enter into eternal life.

Dear brothers and sisters, if we wish ourselves to pass through the narrow gate, we should learn to be small, that is, humble of heart like Jesus. Like Mary, his mother and ours. It was she, first among all, who followed the way of the Cross behind her Son, and was assumed to the glory of heaven, as we remembered several days ago.

The Christian people invoke Mary as Ianua Caeli, gate of heaven. Let us ask her to guide us in our daily choices along the way which will lead us to the 'gate of Heaven.'

Women pretending

~from Twin Cities Daily Planet

The ordination of Judith McKloskey and Alice Marie Iaquinta marked their addition to the approximately 60 other women who have been ordained nationwide. The Vatican, the Catholic Church's highest authority, does not recognize the ordination of women into the priesthood, and in Iaquinta's case, the ordination could result in excommunication.

The West Bend, Wis., woman's ordination has raised the ire of the Catholic Church in that region. Archdiocese of Milwaukee Communications Director Kathleen Hohl told WTMJ, an NBC affiliate in Milwaukee that they will turn Iaquinta's information over to the Vatican.

"It is our duty and obligation to forward this information to the Vatican for consideration," said Hohl.

Iaquinta says it doesn't matter. "The truth is no one can be excommunicated from their faith. By baptism you are born into Christ, and that's that," she said.

The Vatican's official stance on banning women? They've always been banned, so they will continue to be banned. Pope John Paul II wrote in 1994:

"[The Church] holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God's plan for his Church."

Catholics advocating the inclusion of women into the priesthood disagree with that stance and that version of history.

Michael Bayly, executive coordinator of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities, attended the event with more than 200 others. "These women demonstrate that not only do they feel called by God to minister as priests, but there's a long, albeit, suppressed history within Catholicism of women's ordination," he said. "It's that reality that they're reclaiming, believing, as they do, that such reclamation will make the Church a healthier place and a truer reflection of God's all-inclusive love."


Here's a good place to post this (via Joee Blogs):

St. Monica

St. Monica is an example of those holy matrons of the ancient Church who proved very influential in their own quiet way. Through prayer and tears she gave the great Augustine to the Church of God, and thereby earned for herself a place of honor in the history of God's kingdom on earth.

The Confessions of St. Augustine provide certain biographical details. Born of Christian parents about the year 331 at Tagaste in Africa, Monica was reared under the strict supervision of an elderly nurse who had likewise reared her father. In the course of time she was given in marriage to a pagan named Patricius. Besides other faults, he possessed a very irascible nature; it was in this school of suffering that Monica learned patience. It was her custom to wait until his anger had cooled; only then did she give a kindly remonstrance. Evil-minded servants had prejudiced her mother-in-law against her, but Monica mastered the situation by kindness and sympathy.

Her marriage was blessed with three children: Navigius, Perpetua, who later became a nun, and Augustine, her problem child. According to the custom of the day, baptism was not administered to infants soon after birth. It was as an adolescent that Augustine became a catechumen, but possibly through a premonition of his future sinful life, Monica postponed his baptism even when her son desired it during a severe illness.

When Augustine was nineteen years old, his father Patricius died; by patience and prayer Monica had obtained the conversion of her husband.

The youthful Augustine caused his mother untold worry by indulging in every type of sin and dissipation. As a last resort after all her tears and entreaties had proved fruitless, she forbade him entrance to her home; but after a vision she received him back again. In her sorrow a certain bishop consoled her: "Don't worry, it is impossible that a son of so many tears should be lost."

When Augustine was planning his journey to Rome, Monica wished to accompany him. He outwitted her, however, and had already embarked when she arrived at the docks. Later she followed him to Milan, ever growing in her attachment to God. St. Ambrose held her in high esteem, and congratulated Augustine on having such a mother. At Milan she prepared the way for her son's conversion. Finally the moment came when her tears of sorrow changed to tears of joy. Augustine was baptized. And her lifework was completed. She died in her fifty-sixth year, as she was returning to Africa. The description of her death is one of the most beautiful passages in her son's famous "Confessions.

~from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Let us gain eternal wisdom

~by St. Augustine from Confessions

Because the day when she was to leave this life was drawing near – a day known to you, though we were ignorant of it – she and I happened to be alone, through (as I believe) the mysterious workings of your will. We stood leaning against a window which looked out on a garden within the house where we were staying, at Ostia on the Tiber; for there, far from the crowds, we were recruiting our strength after the long journey, in order to prepare ourselves for our voyage overseas. We were alone, conferring very intimately. Forgetting what lay in the past, and stretching out to what was ahead, we enquired between ourselves, in the light of present truth, into what you are and what the eternal life of the saints would be like, for Eye has not seen nor ear heard nor human heart conceived it. And yet, with the mouth of our hearts wide open we panted thirstily for the celestial streams of your fountain, the fount of life which is with you.

This was the substance of our talk, though not the exact words. Yet you know, O Lord, how on that very day, amid this talk of ours that seemed to make the world with all its charms grow cheap, she said, “For my part, my son, I no longer find pleasure in anything that this life holds. What I am doing here still, or why I am still here, I do not know, for worldly hope has withered away for me. One thing only there was for which I desired to linger in this life: to see you a Catholic Christian before I died. And my God has granted this to me more lavishly than I could have hoped, letting me see even you spurning earthly happiness to be his servant. What am I still doing here?”

What I replied I cannot clearly remember, because just about that time – five days later, or not much more – she took to her bed with fever. One day during her illness she lapsed into unconsciousness and for a short time was unaware of her surroundings. We all came running, but she quickly returned to her senses, and, gazing at me and my brother as we stood there, she asked in puzzlement, “Where was I?”

We were bewildered with grief, but she looked keenly at us and said, “You are to bury your mother here”. I was silent, holding back my tears, but my brother said something about his hope that she would not die far from home but in her own country, for that would be a happier way. On hearing this she looked anxious and her eyes rebuked him for thinking so; then she turned her gaze from him to me and said, “What silly talk!” Shortly afterwards, addressing us both, she said, “Lay this body anywhere, and take no trouble over it. One thing only do I ask of you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be”. Having made her meaning clear to us with such words as she could muster, she fell silent, and the pain of the disease grew worse.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

St. Louis IX

Reigning from 1226 to 1270, Louis IX showed how a saint would act on the throne of France. A lovable personality, a kind husband, a father of eleven children, and at the same time a strict ascetic.
To an energetic and prudent rule Louis added love and zeal for the practice of piety and the reception of the holy sacraments. Brave in battle, polished at feasts, addicted to fasting and mortification. His politics were grounded upon strict justice, unshatterable fidelity, and untiring effort toward peace. Nevertheless, his was not a weakly rule but one that left its impress upon following generations. He was a great friend of religious Orders, a generous benefactor of the Church.

The Breviary says of him: "He had already been king for twenty years when he fell victim to a severe illness. That afforded the occasion for making a vow to undertake a crusade for the liberation of the Holy Land. Immediately upon recovery he received the crusader's cross from the hand of the bishop of Paris, and, followed by an immense army, he crossed the sea in 1248. On the field of battle Louis routed the Saracens; yet when the plague had taken large numbers of his soldiery, he was attacked and taken captive (1250). The king was forced to make peace with the Saracens; upon the payment of a huge ransom, he and his army were again set at liberty." While on a second crusade he died of the plague, with these words from the psalm upon his lips: "I will enter Thy house; I will worship in Thy holy temple and sing praises to Thy Name!" (Ps. 5).

~Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Through his blood Christ reconciled the world to God

~by St. Ambrose

When Christ reconciled the world to God he himself was certainly not in need of reconciliation. What sin could he do penance for, when he had no sin in him? Moreover, when the Jews were asking for the half-shekel, the offering given for sin according to the Law, he said to Peter:
‘Simon, what is your opinion? From whom do the kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their sons or from foreigners?’ And when Peter replied, ‘From foreigners’, Jesus said, ‘Well then, the sons are exempt. However, so as not to offend these people, go to the lake and cast a hook; take the first fish that bites, open its mouth and there you will find a shekel; take it and give it to them for me and for you.’
He showed that he does not owe an offering for any sin of his own, for he was not a slave of sin: the Son of God was free from all fault. For the son gives freedom; it is the slave who is guilty. So Jesus is completely free, and he does not make payment to redeem his soul. The price of his blood was more than enough to redeem all the sins of the entire world. It is right that he who owes nothing for himself should be able to give freedom to others.

Let me say more. Christ owes nothing for his own redemption and owes nothing as propitiation for sin. But more than that, if you consider any one of us then you will see that none of us owes anything as a propitiatory offering, because Christ himself is that offering, the offering for all and the redemption of all.

What man’s blood now has the power to redeem him, when Christ has shed his own blood for the redemption of all? Is there anyone whose blood could be compared to Christ’s? Or what man is so powerful that his could make an offering of propitiation greater than the offering that Christ made of himself when he alone reconciled the world to God by his blood? What greater sacrificial victim can there be, what superior sacrifice, what better advocate could there be than Christ, who became the atonement for the sins of all, who gave his life for our redemption?

Individual propitiation, individual redemption is not needed, because the blood of Christ is the price of all. By that blood the Lord Jesus redeemed us, and he alone has reconciled us to the Father. He laboured at this to the end, for he took our own burdens on himself when he said, Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The calling of this Love, part six

FIRST VOWS: Sister Sharon Rose Goellner hugs one of her fellow Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia after a Mass at which 11 sisters made their first profession of vows in Nashville, Tenn., in July. (CNS/Theresa Laurence, Tennessee Register)

~from CNS

Girls often dream of saying "I do" at the altar to their future spouse.

Katrina Gredona hopes she'll be saying those words to Jesus as a religious sister.

"When I look at a community of religious women, I see women who contribute fruitfully to the church and to the world in a very special way and in a very essential way, and I think that's exciting," said Gredona, a student at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

Ten years ago, Gredona's interest in religious life would have been unique in comparison with the majority of other Catholic girls, as reports indicated a decline in the number of religious sisters in the United States. But recently campus ministers and the vocations directors of some women's religious communities have been noticing a new trend of more young women looking into religious life.

Many vocation directors, in interviews with Catholic News Service and in responses to a survey by Vision Vocation Guide, reported a notable increase in the number of women contacting them for information. A small number of communities reported a stable increase in young entrants.

At the same time, more campus ministries are helping young women learn about discernment and religious life....

...In answer to questions sent to them by CNS, young women shared the reasons they're open to and discerning religious life.

"I think it's my responsibility as a faithful young person to seriously discern whether or not God is calling me into direct service of the church through religious life," said Lindsay Wilcox, a student at Boston College.

"I am considering religious life because God has placed that inclination on my heart -- to totally give my life back to him, who laid down his life for me," said Stephanie Ray, who is preparing to enter the Sisters of Life....

Read more

Friday Devotion

O God, the lover of men, what more couldst Thou have said or done in order to put me under the necessity of loving Thee? And what good could my love ever do Thee, that Thou didst choose to die, and didst so much desire death in order to obtain it? If a servant of mine had only desired to die for me, he would have attracted my love; and can I then live without loving Thee with all my heart, my king and God, who didst die for me, and who hadst such a longing for death in order to acquire to Thyself my love?

~St. Alphonse Liguori, The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ

Music for meditation: Eustache Du Carrouy's Agnus Dei

Catholics teach NFP to Muslims

~from UPI viaReligion and Spirituality
A group of lay Catholics are promoting natural family planning methods among the Philippine Muslim community to control the rising population without going against the beliefs held by the two religions. The group began its campaign in Maguindanao, southern Mindanao province, where the percentage of Muslims reaches 90 percent.

From there, the group hopes to carry its work to the rest of the country to tackle the problem of birth control without relying on artificial methods, AsiaNews reported Thursday.

The well known and much appreciated method, known as the "Billings ovulation method," is based on analysis of the female ovulation cycle to determine fertile periods.

The project is lead by Catholic sister Mary Catherine Sumapal, who told AsiaNews, "It is quite normal in this part of the world to see girls as young as 13 who are married. This results in them having a child almost every year, which is hard to bear. Now thanks to natural family planning, we can hope to avoid the more common problems linked to pregnancy."

Bl. Mother Teresa's Dark Night

~from Time Magazine.
A new, innocuously titled book, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (Doubleday), consisting primarily of correspondence between Teresa and her confessors and superiors over a period of 66 years, provides the spiritual counterpoint to a life known mostly through its works. The letters, many of them preserved against her wishes (she had requested that they be destroyed but was overruled by her church), reveal that for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God whatsoever — or, as the book's compiler and editor, the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, writes, "neither in her heart or in the eucharist."

That absence seems to have started at almost precisely the time she began tending the poor and dying in Calcutta, and — except for a five-week break in 1959 — never abated. Although perpetually cheery in public, the Teresa of the letters lived in a state of deep and abiding spiritual pain. In more than 40 communications, many of which have never before been published, she bemoans the "dryness," "darkness," "loneliness" and "torture" she is undergoing. She compares the experience to hell and at one point says it has driven her to doubt the existence of heaven and even of God. She is acutely aware of the discrepancy between her inner state and her public demeanor. "The smile," she writes, is "a mask" or "a cloak that covers everything." Similarly, she wonders whether she is engaged in verbal deception. "I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God — tender, personal love," she remarks to an adviser. "If you were [there], you would have said, 'What hypocrisy.'" Says the Rev. James Martin, an editor at the Jesuit magazine America and the author of My Life with the Saints, a book that dealt with far briefer reports in 2003 of Teresa's doubts: "I've never read a saint's life where the saint has such an intense spiritual darkness. No one knew she was that tormented." Recalls Kolodiejchuk, Come Be My Light's editor: "I read one letter to the Sisters [of Teresa's Missionaries of Charity], and their mouths just dropped open. It will give a whole new dimension to the way people understand her."

The book is hardly the work of some antireligious investigative reporter who Dumpster-dived for Teresa's correspondence. Kolodiejchuk, a senior Missionaries of Charity member, is her postulator, responsible for petitioning for her sainthood and collecting the supporting materials. (Thus far she has been beatified; the next step is canonization.) The letters in the book were gathered as part of that process.

The church anticipates spiritually fallow periods. Indeed, the Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross in the 16th century coined the term the "dark night" of the soul to describe a characteristic stage in the growth of some spiritual masters. Teresa's may be the most extensive such case on record. (The "dark night" of the 18th century mystic St. Paul of the Cross lasted 45 years; he ultimately recovered.) Yet Kolodiejchuk sees it in St. John's context, as darkness within faith. Teresa found ways, starting in the early 1960s, to live with it and abandoned neither her belief nor her work. Kolodiejchuk produced the book as proof of the faith-filled perseverance that he sees as her most spiritually heroic act.

WYD planning woes

~from CWN...[let me ask this again: Whose bright idea was it to have a racetrack as the venue for WYD?]

Organizers for the World Youth Day (WYD) celebration remain locked in a dispute with the Australian racing officials over plans to use the Randwick race track as the site for a papal Mass.

WYD officials announced this week that they would only need to use the Randwick track for 3 days during the event, which will be held in July 2008. But racing officials argue that the WYD organizers are underestimating the difficulties involved in closing down stables where 700 horses are kept and regularly exercised. The Randwick management is also concerned about the damage that may be done to the race course by the 500,000 people expected to attend the WYD celebration.

Racing officials were caught by surprise when WYD organizers said they would only need the track for a 3-day period; previous reports had suggested that the track could be closed for as long as 10 weeks. Horse owners and trailers are asking for compensation for millions of dollars in lost revenues and expenses incurred in moving their horses to other locations.

Peter V'Landys, the head of Racing New South Wales, told an ABC radio audience that WYD officials had failed to take into account the difficulties involved in keeping the track open while preparations for WYD are being made. Construction of an altar for the papal Mass and installation of security systems for the crowd would interfere with regular racing operations, he said.

V'Landys said that the latest WYD proposal was an "uninformed announcement," and Church officials would have to reconsider their plans.

Hispanic Churches Add English Service


CHICAGO - On Sundays at La Casa del Carpintero, or the Carpenter's House, they've raised twin yellow banners for churchgoers that read "Welcome" and "Bienvenidos."

As a complement to the regular 11:30 a.m. Spanish service at the independent Pentecostal church, where they've worshipped Papi for years, there's now a 9:30 a.m. English one where the faithful praise God the Father.

While churches from every imaginable tradition have been adding Spanish services to meet the needs of new immigrants, an increasing number of Hispanic ethnic congregations are going the other way - starting English services.

It's an effort to meet the demands of second- and third-generation Hispanics, keep families together and reach non-Latinos.

In some cases, the greater English emphasis has contributed to a growing phenomenon: evangelical Protestant megachurches drawing crowds in the thousands that aren't white and suburban, but Hispanic and anchored in the inner city.

Hispanic churches are part of the United States' long tradition of religious congregations bonded by common ethnicity or language. While Italian and Irish Catholic parishes and other examples have largely faded from view, Hispanic churches are poised to endure thanks to high birth rates, close proximity to Latin America and the sheer numbers of people seeking a better life here.

"The precedent churches are setting by preserving the Spanish language while breaking down ethnic differences and encouraging the use of English is really at the vanguard of where the United States is heading," said Anthony Stevens-Arroyo, a Brooklyn College professor emeritus and co-author of "Recognizing the Latino Resurgence in American Religion."

"The definition of the United States as a great white Protestant nation is really up for grabs, and churches are doing an excellent job of preserving people's identity and at the same time helping them function in contemporary society."


Feast of St. Bartholomew, apostle

In St. John's Gospel, Bartholomew is known by the name Nathaniel (the liturgy does not always seem aware of this identity). He hailed from Cana in Galilee, was one of the first disciples called by the Lord. On that initial meeting Jesus uttered the glorious compliment: "Behold, an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile!" After the resurrection he was favored by becoming one of the few apostles who witnessed the appearance of the risen Savior on the sea of Galilee (John 21:2). Following the ascension he is said to have preached in Greater Armenia and to have been martyred there. While still alive, his skin was torn from his body. The Armenians honor him as the apostle of their nation. Concerning the fate of his relics, the Martyrology says: "His holy body was first taken to the island of Lipari (north of Sicily), then to Benevento, and finally to Rome on an island in the Tiber where it is honored by the faithful with pious devotion."

The Church of Armenia has a national tradition that St. Jude Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew visited the Armenians early in the first century and introduced Christianity among the worshippers of the god Ahura Mazda. The new faith spread throughout the land, and in 302 A.D., St. Gregory the Illuminator baptized the king of Armenia, Dertad the Great, along with many of his followers. Since Dertad was probably the first ruler to embrace Christianity for his nation, the Armenians proudly claim they were the first Christian State.

~Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

The weakness of God is stronger than men

~by St. John Chrysostom

It was clear through unlearned men that the cross was persuasive, in fact, it persuaded the whole world. Their discourse was not of unimportant matters but of God and true religion, of the Gospel way of life and future judgement, yet it turned plain, uneducated men into philosophers. How the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and his weakness stronger than men!

In what way is it stronger? It made its way throughout the world and overcame all men; countless men sought to eradicate the very name of the Crucified, but that name flourished and grew ever mightier. Its enemies lost out and perished; the living who waged a war on a dead man proved helpless. Therefore, when a Greek tells me I am dead, he shows only that he is foolish indeed, for I, whom he thinks a fool, turn out to be wiser than those reputed wise. So too, in calling me weak, he but shows that he is weaker still. For the good deeds which tax-collectors and fishermen were able to accomplish by God’s grace, the philosophers, the rulers, the countless multitudes cannot even imagine.

Paul had this in mind when he said: The weakness of God is stronger than men. That the preaching of these men was indeed divine is brought home to us in the same way. For how otherwise could twelve uneducated men, who lived on lakes and rivers and wastelands, get the idea for such an immense enterprise? How could men who perhaps had never been in a city or a public square think of setting out to do battle with the whole world? That they were fearful, timid men, the evangelist makes clear; he did not reject the fact or try to hide their weaknesses. Indeed he turned these into a proof of the truth. What did he say of them? That when Christ was arrested, the others fled, despite all the miracles they had seen, while he who was leader of the others denied him!

How then account for the fact that these men, who in Christ’s lifetime did not stand up to the attacks by the Jews, set forth to do battle with the whole world once Christ was dead – if, as you claim, Christ did not rise and speak to them and rouse their courage? Did they perhaps say to themselves: “What is this? He could not save himself but he will protect us? He did not help himself when he was alive, but now that he is dead he will extend a helping hand to us? In his lifetime he brought no nation under his banner, but by uttering his name we will win over the whole world?” Would it not be wholly irrational even to think such thoughts, much less to act upon them?

It is evident, then, that if they had not seen him risen and had proof of his power, they would not have risked so much.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Night of the Living Dead

via Catholic Church Conservation. Why, why, why? Please die soon, cult of relevance.

Archbishop Brady: Lack of faith as illusion

~from The Irish Times

Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland Sean Brady was delivering a sermon at Knock Shrine on the theme Following Christ in the 21 st Century as part of the 2007 National Novena.

Archbishop Brady celebrated the Mass of the 'Queenship of Mary' which closes the annual novena.

"Those who confidently tell us that the Catholic Church in Ireland is an anachronism, a superstition of bygone days which has been rejected by intelligent Irish people, have greatly overstated their case," Dr Brady said.

"God is still active in people's hearts."

Dr Brady said that Ireland, the "land of saints and scholars" had become better known as "the land of stocks and shares".

"Tragically it has also become a land of increasing stress and substance abuse," he added.

Dr Brady said people were "seeking to control their future rather than entrust their future to God's promise and plan".

"The result is an increasing culture of insecurity and fear."

Underlying the trend of "future-telling" is a fear of the future, the Archbishop added. He said it was evidence of the failure of a life without God to address the deepest needs of the human spirit.

"The challenge is to keep our lives focused on Christ amidst the distractions of increasing an increasingly secular, sometimes hostile culture."

The Archbishop said that for all its "human imperfections", the Catholic Church still holds the answers to the "big questions of people's lives".

Love's Invitation

~from Fr. Mark's meditation on today's Gospel.
The Holy Gospel makes it clear that the kingdom of heaven is not about our own projects, initiatives and deeds, but rather about the initiative of God freely determined in his infinite wisdom, and freely offered in his infinite love. Only those who fail to respond to his invitation are deemed unworthy of the marriage feast. Those who respond to the call of grace are clothed in grace, while those who steal into the wedding hall on their own initiative are cast into the outer darkness. The holy and life-giving Mysteries are never taken, as if by personal initiative; they are always received in response to the invitation of Love freely given. The poet George Herbert said just this: Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back, Guilty of dust and sin . . . . You must sit down, says Love, ‘and taste my meat.’ So I did sit and eat.

The Banquet of the Lamb
In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Love bids us welcome. Every proclamation of the Word of God is an invitation to the marriage feast; all who hear the Word of God and treasure it are clothed in grace, made ready for the banquet by the free gift of the King himself. As the royal nuptial psalm puts it, “All glorious is the princess within, gold embroidery is her clothing; in many coloured robes she is led to the king” (Ps 45:13-14). So too, are we led to the King. The banquet of the Eucharist points to another banquet, a heavenly one and, already here and now, fills our mouths with the taste of it. Blessed are those called to the banquet of the Lamb.
Listen to David Hurd's Love Bade Me Welcome