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Friday, 13 June 2014

Prayers Please

I have to make a decision...and I need regular wifi.

Please pray to Father John Hardon for me to return to Europe.

Ta muchly.

Good Interview

Meet Father Chris Young

And, his beautiful wife, Jody. Father Young was ordained June 7th, 2014. He loves the Latin Mass and has learned to do funerals and weddings.

He and his wife are converts from Anglicanism. Father came in through the Pastoral Provision set up by St. John Paul II. For more on what it is to be a priest's wife, see my post earlier this year.

Going Off Panera's

Panera's use to be a nice place to sit and blog. Now, the company cuts one off after a half-hour, after it takes a good seven minutes of that time to get in.

There are no other people on line in this coffee shop at this time. I have been coming here almost daily and there have never been more than three people online even at rush hour.

So, why cut people off?

Not nice.


Coffee and Cardinal Manning

Finally, returning to the book by Henry Edward Cardinal Manning, The Interior Mission of The Holy Ghost ,  one sees the intuitive understanding of this good leader of the Church.

Like St. Angela, another reflective person who was granted graces by God, one sees that the great advantage of the saints of the past was that they could find silence in their worlds.

Cardinal Manning assumes that one has the ability to find times of silence. So does St. Angela. As noted on this blog before, silence is essential for a life of holiness.

Silence is not the same as exile, or imprisonment. Silence is a gift of being in the world with time and space to pray, to study, to reflect.

I cannot understand those who never have silence and who flee from silence. What could be the reasons for good people to avoid silence?

I have one reason and that is the fear of death. Silence makes one face death, the death of self-will, the death of desires.  Noise blocks out thoughts of sin, of the four last things.

Noise covers up the need for listening to God.

Cardinal Manning writes this in his chapter on “The Gift of Counsel”: “…the characteristic mark of these latter days; I mean the perversion of the intellect. The intellect of man is withdrawing itself from the light of faith, and therefore from conformity to God. And this intellectual perversion is the source of a systematic immorality in men, in households, and in states. The intellect in man is the image of God in us. Ir is the light of the soul; and if that light be darkened, how great is the darkness.”

Manning refers to the rise of Gnosticism, the rise in “illuminism” which we would call relativism or subjectivism.  He refers to rationalism.

In all of these heresies, the idea that God is knowable has been undermined. Revelation is denied.  Manning notes that those who deny Revelation have replaced God with themselves. 

He also stresses that the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost perfect, that is, sanctify the intellect. I have written about this before in the long perfection series.  Manning tells us that the sanctification of the intellect is “the illumination of the reason of man by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God’ it is the submission of the intellect of man to the authority of the Divine Teacher; it is the conformity of the reason, and therefore of the conscience, of man to the truth and to the law of God.”

How does one allow God to perfect the intellect?  In his chapter on the gift of knowledge, Manning states that most of the sins in the world come from the perversion of the intellect, “which is the corruption and darkness of the reason; and that if we would heal our own souls, we must begin by rectifying the false action and perversion of our intellect.”

How different is this emphasis than on the overly emotional approaches of pastors today, who insist on “healing” rather than right reason.

Both may be necessary, but to ignore the necessity of right reason for the pursuit of holiness begs the question for the need for healing. One must ask the correct questions if one is to be healed, let us say, for example, of rebellion.

Manning writes, “The reason or intellect in us is that part of the soul which is nearest to God. The Son of God became man by assuming a reasonable nature: when He took upon Himself a created nature He did not take it from the irrational creatures, He took it from the reasonable creation. And the order of the Incarnation was this: He took a human body by assuming a human soul, and He assumed a human soul by uniting His eternal intelligence with a created intelligence; so that the human reason is that part of our nature which is in the most immediate contact with God, and the reason which is in us therefore in a special way the image of God.”

One cannot develop a relationship with God without use of the intellect. One cannot use the intellect except in silence and in reflection.

Manning notes, “It is the light of God in the soul, whereby we are able to know God and ourselves, and to judge of truth and falsehood, and of right and wrong.”

This light of the soul becomes extinguished by sin, and as I wrote a few days ago, sin makes one stupid, literally.

Reason is not merely a combination of electrical impulses in the brain, but the gift of God, the light of God which joins our intelligence to His.

One cannot do this in noise and constant distraction. Manning stresses that one actually become “deformed” in the measure in which one’s image leaves off reason.

One must admit that one of the great evils of Protestantism is the emphasis on feeling and anti-intellectualism.  But, the sin of “intellectual pride” seems to exist more among the agnostics and atheists, who refuse to conform their minds to the Mind of Christ.

Manning writes of the time in history in which man’s intellect was illumined by grace, when the light of God became obvious in the world. “’Thy word is a light unto my feet.’ Such was once the state of the Christian world, and such it is still, wherever faith reigns over the hearts of men.”

Much upon which to think…to be continued….

Perfection Series II: St. Angela Part Ten

St. Angela has strong words for those who hate poverty. “Although with words, we do say many things glorifying poverty, yet in actual deeds and works we do blaspheme against that condition of Christ and the perfection of His poverty. Woe unto us, who, together with so great an ensample, teacher, and master, do truly thrust away from us our own salvation, turning from it and from His teaching to seek after the abundance of this world, and are left empty at the last! Wherefore neither our penance nor our Christianity do follow the straight way of Jesus Christ, but are most shamefully opposed unto it.”

“Blessed (saith He), verily blessed is, and shall be, he who loveth poverty in all the aforesaid things and who desireth to be truly poor in worldly things, in deed and not only in words; poor in friends, in familiar intercourse, in all delights, vain knowledge and curiosity, poor in the repute of holiness and in all preferment and dignity. And if any should not be able to put away from himself utterly all these aforesaid things, he should at least endeavor with all his might to withdraw his affection from them. Of a surety these poor are blessed, for they shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. And, those who have done the contrary in all things, and have only preached with their lips and uttered empty words, shall be left cursed and lamenting; because theirs shall be the utmost poverty, eternal hunger and the house of hell, where there is everlasting hunger and thirst, where there is neither friend, nor brother, nor father to redeem them, nor any help whatsoever. Neither will they have power to issue forth, and all the wisdom of the world will not avail them;  but all things will be taken from them in very deed, as in very deed they did desire to kee them contrary to the teaching of Christ. Wherefore shall they live in torments everlasting. Amen.”

Hard words for all of us…

Remember Christ’s poverty began in the womb on His dear mother, continued in His birth in a stable, in His parents’ flight into a pagan country far away, and in His thrity-three years of a hidden, simple life.

I am wrapping up this series on St. Angela of Foligno at this time.  Here words leave much about which we can all meditate.

I shall return to Cardinal Manning’s great book on the weekend-one I set aside temporarily to highlight St. Angela’s writings.

Perfection Series II: Part Nine-St. Angela

St. Angela reminds us that only those who either choose to be humiliated or those who do not grumble about suffering can reach the perfection necessary for heaven. The passive purgation of the Dark Night is absolutely necessary.

Those who are proud cannot bear to be contradicted in any way. Those who are proud constantly seek approval from society or certain individuals. The sin of vainglory, one of the manifestations of pride, causes some to want others to think well of them either through dress, or accomplishments, or even in the seeking out of “friends”.

Collecting acquaintances and friends cannot be a sign of holiness.

St. Angela notes that Christ even gave up the show of wisdom and knowledge, appearing foolish and even blasphemous to those in the religious circles of the day.

Two well-known Catholic commentators and one blogger I know have given up writing on line in order to do more penance and pray more. They have been called to a higher life of perfection. Pay attention to these whispers from the Holy Spirit.

(I am called to write, but not too much longer.)

That Christ hid His immense perfection and holiness and was deemed a religious outcast cannot be fathomed by many in the Church who seek positions of pride and power.
St. Angela admits she feigned holiness and virtue for the sake of honor. God dealt with her sins of pride, vainglory and presumption.  That this saint admits her struggles for holiness, and her purgation in the Hands of God should encourage us to continue and not give up the “good fight”.
To be continued…

Perfection Series II: St. Angela Part Eight

St. Angela of Foligno writes of the third level of the poverty of Christ. This is the poverty in which Christ chose to become impotent in the world, setting aside His Omnipotence as God.

As she notes, St. Angela explains how Christ empowered men to have power over Him. This fact marks Christ as the Man of Humility, reminding one of the beautiful icons of the Great Humility, one shown here.

He gave the power to judge, accuse, revile, and insult Him to those men around Him. He gave power to those who hated goodness to beat, mock and kill Him.

This poverty provides an example for those Catholics who are facing real persecution. God will allow persecution for three reasons: one, to show the glory of His martyrs; two, to bring many to Him; and three, for punishment of those who hate Him.

Christ teaches us patience in tribulation and hard times. Yesterday, I failed in this matter once, a clear sign of how far I am from holiness. I was angry with someone who revealed hatred for me. I told this person he was rude for criticizing me for being ill with asthma and coughing in front of him. He did not want me to cough. But, I did not pass the test of love.

Anger is not the proper response, but patience, objectivity, and love for those who hate us. I know God will give me more chances to pass the test of love.

I do not share this to show the response of the other person, but to show how we each are to respond in love. Some of my dear readers already react to hatred with love. But, for those of us who are still not quite there, I encourage us all.  And, one cannot be upset with one’s self for failures to love. Without God’s grace, one is weak and chooses to sin.

Simple lesson-not to be upset with either one’s self or others in the face of sin, although one can feel sorrow and confess, one should not be so proud as to not accept one’s own sinfulness.

Anger may be a natural response to hatred but this is not the response of Christ, my model in all things.

Americans cannot endure shame, which is one reason so many immigrated to this fair country. The pride which makes men think they have gained all prosperity and goodness by themselves distorts Christianity in America. Pride, as one spiritual writer notes, causes men and women to have sterile lives,

The last point covered here today from St. Angela regarding the poverty of Christ is that He allowed Satan to have power over Him.

Angela states this: “…He did give the devil power over Him that He might be tempted and led into danger, and persecuted even unto death, in order that He might thereby liberate man from the devil’s power.”

We can liberate ourselves, through grace, and liberate others, (see my Code Breakers series), by accepting suffering and becoming humble.           

Without grace and the acceptance of grace, one finally realizes one is nothing and can do nothing without God.

Any other choices will keep us imprisoned in our own egotism and self-will.

To be continued…