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Saturday, 18 January 2014

Sems in Israel

One of my second sons is in this picture. These men from Mundelein are on a six week visit and coursework in Israel. You can follow their visit here on this blog.

Two Links on the Eucharist-thanks to James and J. F.

O my goodness...another piece of the puzzle

So, you want national health care

In 2013, 41,838 Canadians went outside the country to get medical treatment, down from 42,173 people leaving the country in 2012. This is interesting since wait times for patients who had consulted with a specialist till the time they got actual treatment increased from 9.3 weeks in 2012 to 9.6 weeks in 2013.
According to the report, there are many reasons why someone would leave Canada to seek treatment. Including “because of a lack of available resources or the fact that some procedures or equipment are not provided in their home jurisdiction” as well as “concerns about quality, seeking out more advanced healthcare facilities, higher tech medicine, or better outcomes.”
A major problem with the Canadian health system is that people may have fled because of “the consequences of waiting for care such as worsening of their condition, poorer outcomes following treatment, disability or death. And some may have done so simply to avoid delay and to make a quicker return to their life.”

Update from a lawyer friend

I worked on the organ transplant report in Brussels, they want our bodies and feel entitled to them.

The healing of a Vietnamese seminarian in the USA which is the miracle probably being accepted for the beatification of the holy Vietnamese Cardinal  would never have happened if his parents had not refused to allow there sons organs to be harvested. He was proclaimed dead and remained on life support. The hospital wouldn't switch it off because they were waiting for the parents to change there mind....the parents were praying and the good Cardinal appeared to the seminarian and completely and miraculously healed him. This was over many days.

There is much confusion on this and I reported a very unhappy interview on EWTN. Listen to the Fr. Chad Ripperger talk, please.

The Sin of Cynicism

Increasingly, I have come across many people who make comments like, "Everyone lies". Or, "All politicians are liars." Or, "You cannot trust anyone."

In one day, I heard two people say this. One is a practicing Catholic and the other is a lapsed Catholic.

Cynicism is a sin. It is a lack of faith in the human soul to be good. Cynicism is based on unrealistic expectations of others, or society in general. Some cynics are depressed people, who are looking for a utopia on earth.

One of the cynics with whom I was talking is disillusioned with all people. He is the fallen away Catholic. He hates his job, complains about his bosses, and distrusts all politicians from all parties. He mistrusts finanacial gurus and generally thinks all men and women are deceitful.

This type of mindset borders on psychological illness and betrays a need to want perfection in the world. Some cynics are atheists, and want man to be perfect as they have rejected a perfect God.

I tend to think that cynicism is cloaked pride. Also, it could be projection. If a person is a compulsive liar, this person will not trust others.

The only cure for cynicism is faith in God and the sacrament of Confession. Confession keeps us humble.

The other person I met who is steeped in cynicism is old and jaded. Hope is gone in this person regarding human beings having the capacity to change and grow. Again, this type of cynicism could be pride, or hurt. Old betrayals need to be forgiven and forgotten.

Cynicism is like a cancer which eats away the soul, the mind, the heart.

Only the sacraments and the community of the Church, linked to the grace of God and Truth can save someone from sinking into cynicism.

To be continued....

Sigh, moving again

Well, my bags are packed, and yes, I have more than one now. I am still going to be in Iowa, which is too bad as I really cannot live in this climate with such bad asthma. However, here I am. I shall be with some very excellent ex-Anglicans, now Catholics.

Please pray for my needs.  I guess right now God does not want me to have my own home.....Thanks.

Challenge to Male Readers

If you are in an area with other traditional Catholic men, I want you to consider this challenge.

Start community building now. We do not have much time. And, if you do not, the fault will be that of the men not moving fast enough to facilitate this.

If you are married, and have married friends, get together and pray and talk about this.

If you are single, get together with your single friends now and talk about this.

You need to make strong commitments now to be in a place with your children, your elderly, your weak and vulnerable members .

I challenge you as the men are responsible for community building. I can only encourage. Catholics must get together in small support groups now.

I have been writing about this for years. We do not have years.

Please, men. Listen. You all have skills to do this.

Doctors of the Church 2:47

St. Bernard tells us,

"What folly is this that we have have left great things should now cling with such detriment to small ones."

Little things get in the way of perfection.

The monks give up status, money, success, sex, houses, families, their wills...

and maybe, cling to their favourite bench...

One's favourite seat in the church..... one's favourite silver spoon, a picture, a book, a candle, anything can become a distraction, an obsession, a matter of pride.

A room with a view, a quilt, a chair, a space heater, a mug...can cause disruption in a community  in a family, in a relationship.

And, any small thing in a family, community or relationship which is "mine" and no one else can use it is a danger to one's soul.




Any desire, no matter how small plugs up the heart.

The heart must be empty to accept the simple things.

The heart must be empty to receive the big things.

The big thing for which the heart should be emptied is Love.

And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:3 DR

Thank you, St. Bernard. To be continued....

On Prophecy

The role of the prophet in the Old Testament was not merely to predict or share in a vision of the future for the People of God. The main role was one of calling people to repentance and holiness of life.

All the prophets called the Jewish people back to the covenant they had made with God. This was the main role of the prophet-to remind the Chosen People of their call and their sins.

The fact that the future was mentioned was either as a warning of possible punishment, real punishment or comfort for the faithful.

Today, some prophets have been warning the people of the New Covenant, the Catholics, to repent.

Most prophets are ignored, as people do not like the way they look, or dress, or present the message.

But, for those who are following God and trying to hear His Voice in the cacophony of voices in the world, the prophet is a gift, a pointer, or as one of my friends calls prophets-"thresholders", those who stand between the world of God and the world of Men.

Thresholders also experience something else besides visions and the burning call in the heart, the zeal for souls. Thresholders live in their lives what others will face later and God uses this discipline to teach those who want to pay attention.

I am warning you again of several things.

1) No freedom of speech or the Net within a short time;

2) No freedom of movement within a short period of time;

3) No freedom to attend daily Communion or Adoration in a short period of time;

4) No access to the sacraments on a regular basis, including marriage, in a short period of time.

5) Severely straighten physical comforts in a short period of time.

Thresholders to through the purging first and then try to express to others what is to come. Those who love the Bridegroom go where He is. And, sometimes, He leads them into the desert, only to come back for others.

Thresholders lived symbolic lives, like nuns and monks who are called to be strong signs of contradiction in the world. But, many times, thresholders have not chosen this way. God chooses for them even severely.

To be continued...

Doctors of the Church 2:46

Thursday, 21 February 2013

DoC Series--St. Bernard of Claivaux: "They run quicker to death than we do to life"

As those of you who read my blog know, St. Bernard of Clairvaux is my favourite saint. I discovered him when in a particularly Romantic period of my life was unfolding and he captured my imagination as well as my intellect. His words pierce into my soul, like arrows of love.

I hope in the next few days, when I cover this Cistercian giant, that I can honour him as he deserves, and that you, too, come to appreciate his holiness.

All his brothers and his sister,
(who I wrote about here ),
are Blesseds, as is his father. What an amazing family! Some of my notes on this section of the series were taken when I was in the monastery at Cobh.

Where does one start? With a picture, of course. Bernard was apparently considered a very handsome man in his day, as someone commented on at the time, but it is hard to see from the paintings. I assume his soul shone through his eyes.

Let me start this section of the series with a few brief quotations:

Would, O brothers, that we were as desirous of spiritual goods as seculars are of temporal? We aught, indeed, to desire them more, by how much the more precious they are.  would that we might but equal them! for it is a great, a very great confusion to us to find that they desire pernicious things more ardently than we do things so beneficial. They run quicker to death than we do to life."

Sermon 36 "de Divers"

"Amo ut intelligam", "I love that I may understand" And, note, I already wrote about St. Anselm, but he  said, "Credo ut intelligam",  "I believe that I may understand."  Faith comes first, then Hope, and then, Love. Bernard, shows us the perfection of understanding.

To be continued.............

Saint of Love Two Re-Post

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Second part of the mini-series on St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Can you imagine in the cold and damp monastery of Clairvaux, in the refectory or monastery church, St. Bernard reading to his monks an exposition of The Song of Songs? I wonder at his audacity as well as his mystic insights. What must the monks have thought of his intense descriptions of the Love of Christ for each soul of the monk there in the twilight?

One of the sermons, Number 20, is called the "Three Qualities of Love". I would like to share part of this beautiful meditation with you. The saint begins with the realization that we are all called to love God and that we all fall short of doing this. But, this monk is on fire with real love.

Turn toward yourself, O God, this little that you have granted me to be; take from this miserable life, I beg you, the years that remain. In place of all that I lost in my evil way of living, O God, do not refuse a humble and penitent heart. My days have lengthened like a shadow and passed without fruits I cannot bring them back, but let it please you at least if I offer them to you in the bitterness of my soul. As for wisdom -- my every desire and intention is before you -- if there were any in me, I would keep it for you. But, God, you know my stupidity, unless perhaps it is wisdom for me to recognize it, and even this is your gift. Grant me more; not that I am ungrateful for this small gift, but that I am eager for what is lacking. For all these things, and as much as I am able, I love you.

He continues referring to the fact that Christ's suffering in His Passion is the great sign of His Love given freely.

As St John said: "Not that we had loved him, but that he first loved us." He loved us even before we existed, and in addition he loved us when we resisted him. According to the witness of St Paul: "Even when we were still his enemies we were reconciled to God through the blood of his Son." If he had not loved his enemies, he could not have had any friends, just as he would have had no one to love if he had not loved those who were not.

St. Bernard gives his monks and us three qualities of love: the first is that it is tender or sweet. We do not use this word so much in 2012. Tenderness means sweetness, a kindness and an appropriate compassion. Christ taking on our humanity in the Incarnation is the sign of sweet love for St. Bernard. Because of the Incarnation, men and women can have a loving relationship with Christ. Bernard calls Christ his Friend. But, He is also Lover. The tender concern of a lover is a sign of love.

The second is wisdom, like the wisdom with God has given us in Confirmation and perfected in prayer and fasting, as well as practising virtues. But it is also the wisdom of God to allow Christ to suffer and die for us. In the plan of God, the Passion is necessary. Bernard sees this, of course, as love and zeal.

The third characteristic of love is strength. We see this in the psalms, which the monks say and said then, daily. Love is as strong as death. Bernard writes:

He is the one who conquered all things, even death, and tricked the serpent, the seducer of the world, with a holy deception. He was more prudent than the one, more powerful than the other. He took to himself a true body but only the likeness of sin, giving a sweet consolation to weak men in the one and in the other hiding a trap to deceive the devil. To reconcile us to the Father he bravely suffered death and conquered it, pouring out his blood as the price of our redemption. His divine majesty would not have sought me in chains unless he had loved me so tenderly, but he added wisdom to his affection by which he deceived the serpent. Then he added patience with which to appease his divine Father who had been offended...So love the Lord your God with the full and deep affection of your heart, love him with your mind wholly awake and discreet, love him with all your strength, so much so that you would not even fear to die for love of him. As it is written: "For love is strong as death, jealousy is bitter as hell." Your affection for your Lord Jesus should be both tender and intimate, to oppose the sweet enticements of sensual life. Sweetness conquers sweetness as one nail drives out another. No less than this keep him as a strong light for your mind and a guide for your intellect, not only to avoid the deceits of heresy and to preserve the purity of your faith from their seductions, but also that you might carefully avoid an indiscreet and excessive vehemence in your conversation. Let your love be strong and constant, neither yielding to fear nor cowering at hard work. Let us love affectionately, discreetly, intensely. We know that the love of the heart, which we have said is affectionate, is sweet indeed, but liable to be led astray if it lacks the love of the soul. And the love of the soul is wise indeed, but fragile without that love which is called the love of strength.

We are all called to an intimate relationship with Christ, either through celibacy or marriage. Let us not be afraid of love. I like to think of myself in that cold chapter house listening to the warm words of the saint, looking out at the stones and grass, knowing that I, too, can return that Love for Love.

to be continued.