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Friday 31 August 2012

A repetition of a condemnation and interdict and more tomorrow

Warning Letter: Diocese of La Crosse

Repetition of this warning from the CDF

2007 Notification Regarding Vassula Ryden

A facsimile of a bishop's condemnation of one apparition site

There are many false apparitions at this time. One has been thoroughly condemned by the local ordinary. I pass on that letter.Caution: Holy Love Ministries - Diocese of Cleveland

A Warning on False Seers Again--Oh, Foolish Galatians

The errors spilling forth from some websites already mentioned on this blog are leading Catholics astray. A reader has brought to my attention that the followers of this false prophet are saying a sealing prayer for the unbaptised.

This is heresy.

Baptism is the sacrament instituted by Christ to make us adopted children of God and heirs of heaven. There is no other way.

For a seer to claim that people can be saved in any other way is just plain deceit from Satan to lead people away from Christ Himself.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states clearly: "The Lord himself affirms that baptism is 

necessary for salvation [John 3:5]. . . . Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the

Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament [Mark 

16:16]"  CCC 1257. 

And, there will be no further Revelation-from the Catechism again...

66 "The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ."28 Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.
67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.
Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations". CCC

When I am less busy with my thesis work, I shall return to the long list of falsities from this website.

 It is dangerous and moves even away from Protestantism.

At least Christians of other denominations know that we must be baptised to be saved.

Either by baptism of desire or blood or water, we must be baptised for salvation. 

There are some more dubious statements from this false prophet.

People, only the Pope can claim infallibility and only the Church holds the fullness of the Truth. 

There is no further revelation after the last book of the Bible. This seer is claiming that Jesus

Christ is speaking through him or her and damning those who do not listen. This seer is also 

claiming absolute salvation for those who pray the prayers given to him or her. These are false 


Also, the seer warns that the Church will turn away from Christ. Mary is supposed to be saying this. Cannot Catholics see this an undermining the authority of the Catholic Church? Christ guaranteed that His Church would last until the end of time. Only in and through the Catholic Church is there salvation. We cannot create a church within the Church.

This website, The Warning, has been mentioned in previous posts. Just follow the tags. 

Galatians 3 from wiki text-New Testament-NIV

Faith or Observance of the Law

1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
6Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." 7Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." 9So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
10All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." 11Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith." 12The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them." 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

The Law and the Promise

15Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ. 17What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
19What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.
21Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

Sons of God

26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Vatican enters e-book world...

I first saw this on Father Z, but wanted to share the information from Catholic News Service. We need to evangelize and quickly. Here, in Europe, there are laws lined up to kill any publication or media references to the Ten Commandments, homosexuality as sin, gender as a reality, natural law philosophy regarding marriage, and references to false religions.

The faster and most efficient way the Church can evangelize using the media, the better. We do not have much time.

Journalism and reading must include the Vatican statements from both the Pope and the Congregations. We are a voice in the wilderness, and before we lose that voice, we must use it. The Pope's books which he wrote as Cardinal will be available. From the article.

(The bishops’ conference publishing office already offers thematic collections of papal talks — on the Eucharist and on Mary, among other subjects — in e-book form through its online bookstore, iTunes and Amazon.)
Father Costa said LEV chose Apple for its e-book rollout because Apple was the first company to approach the Vatican about handling electronic versions of its books in Italian. While Italian collections of the pope’s audience talks will remain with Apple, he said LEV is likely to work with Amazon on producing other e-books in Italian.
The Italian e-book market has been slow to take off, but “it’s an unstoppable process,” Father Costa said. While the LEV-controlled Italian versions of the first two volumes of Pope Benedict XVI’s major work “Jesus of Nazareth” are not available in electronic form, the third volume will be, he said.
Earlier this summer, Pope Benedict was reported to have finished writing the volume, which covers Jesus’ infancy and childhood. Father Costa said he didn’t have a publication date because the work of translating it from German had just begun. The Vatican Secretariat of State is overseeing the translation work.

Cardinal Dolan's Prayer at the GOP Convention

This is a good prayer. I am very happy that His Eminence referred to Natural Law, the missing link in the philosophy of so many lawyers, judges and politicians in the United States and Europe. God bless America.

Nostalgia and Music

41 years ago, I was listening to Erik Satie, as many of us were, as we discovered him through "Blood, Sweat and Tears", one of the groups I saw on the lakeside of Chicago for free in the good old days of free concerts.

If you have not heard the original piece, Gymnopedie 1, here it is. August has gone too fast this year.

Have a great day!

What to do on a lazy afternoon, three--sing

I was taking foreigners through the City and mentioned the song, "Oranges and Lemons", which I taught my son. The Canadians had never heard it before. I explained that the song is about the sound of the bells of the main churches in and around the City of London. It first appeared in the 18th century, but is probably older.

There are little hand motions to do when singing this to baby or toddler. In case you do not know the words:

Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement's.

You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin's.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

If you are into bell changing, here is a great site for St. Leonard's. 

Apparently, oranges and lemons was a folk dance, but the sound of the phrases are to replicate the sound of the bells. Here are the supposed churches. One has a choice as to the actual churches. Here are mine--

St. Clement Danes

St. Martin's Lane, in the theatre district

St. Sepulchres outside Newgate is the third.  The fourth is St. Leonard's Shoreditch.

The fifth is St. Dunstan's. 

The sixth is St. Mary Le Bow, one of Wren's City Churches, built after the Great Fire.

And, of course, the best part, at least for the toddlers, is the last line--when one is caught in the game. Thanks to Wiki for most of the photos (one, two, three, five, six and seven).

What to do on a lazy Friday afternoon, two

Find out where Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman was baptized...on April 9th, 1801.

What to do on a lazy Friday afternoon....

60 Threadneedle Street, London...go and find it.

Thursday 30 August 2012

Political Note

Transcript of Paul Ryan's address on Wednesday. The best line is "Our rights come from nature and God and not from government."

I am so proud of this Midwest guy.

The Three Lady Martyrs

Today in England is the feast day of the three female martyrs, SS. Margaret Ward, Anne Line, and Margaret Clitherow.

Margaret Ward was a convert according to some sources. Here is her story from the Catholic Encyclopaedia online.

Martyr, born at Congleton, Cheshire; executed at Tyburn, London, 30 Aug., 1588. Nothing is known of her early life except that she was of good family and for a time dwelt in the house of a lady of distinction named Whitall then residing in London. Knowing that William Watson, the priest who wrote the work known as the "Quodlibets", was imprisoned, she obtained permission to visit him. After several visits she disarmed the vigilance of the gaoler and furnished him with a cord whereby he could make his escape. At the appointed time the boatman whom she had engaged to convey the priest down the river refused to carry out his bargain, and in her distress she confided her difficulty to a young man, St. John Roche (or Neele), who undertook to assist her. He provided a boat and exchanged clothes with Watson, who made good his escape. But the clothes betrayed John Roche, and the rope convinced the gaoler that Margaret Ward had been instrumental in the flight of the prisoner. They were both arrested and loaded with irons. St. Robert Southwell wrote to Father Acquaviva, S.J.:
She was flogged and hung up by the wrists, the tips of her toes only touching the ground, for so long atime that she was crippled and paralyzed, but these sufferings greatly strengthened the glorious martyr for her last struggle.

                St. Margaret Ward Window at Tyburn Convent in the Martyrs' Chapel is here above. It is part of a larger window.

She was tried and condemned at Newgate, her liberty being offered her if she would attend Protestant worship.

Margaret Clitherow's story is well-known. Again, I take the information from the CE and it is now thought that she was pregnant at the time of her martyrdom, which would have made the crime even more heinous:

Martyr, called the "Pearl of York", born about 1556; died 25 March 1586. She was a daughter of Thomas Middleton, Sheriff ofYork (1564-5), a wax-chandler; married John Clitherow, a wealthy butcher and a chamberlain of the city, in St. Martin's church,Coney St., 8 July, 1571, and lived in the Shambles, a street still unaltered. Converted to the Faith about three years later, she became most fervent, continually risking her life by harbouring and maintaining priests, was frequently imprisoned, sometimes for two years at a time, yet never daunted, and was a model of all virtues. Though her husband belonged to the Established Church, he had a brother a priest, and Margaret provided two chambers, one adjoining her house and a second in another part of the city, where she kept priests hidden and had Mass continually celebrated through the thick of the persecution. Some of herpriests were martyred, and Margaret who desired the same grace above all things, used to make secret pilgrimages by night toYork Tyburn to pray beneath the gibbet for this intention. Finally arrested on 10 March, 1586, she was committed to the castle. On 14 March, she was arraigned before Judges Clinch and Rhodes and several members of the Council of the North at the Yorkassizes. Her indictment was that she had harboured priests, heard Mass, and the like; but she refused to plead, since the onlywitnesses against her would be her own little children and servants, whom she could not bear to involve in the guilt of her death. She was therefore condemned to the peine forte et dure, i.e. to be pressed to death. "God be thanked, I am not worthy of sogood a death as this", she said. Although she was probably with child, this horrible sentence was carried out on Lady Day, 1586 (Good Friday according to New Style). She had endured an agony of fear the previous night, but was now calm, joyous, and smiling. She walked barefooted to the tollbooth on Ousebridge, for she had sent her hose and shoes to her daughter Anne, in token that she should follow in her steps. She had been tormented by the ministers and even now was urged to confess her crimes. "No, no, Mr. Sheriff, I die for the love of my Lord Jesu", she answered. She was laid on the ground, a sharp stonebeneath her back, her hands stretched out in the form of a cross and bound to two posts. Then a door was placed upon her, which was weighted down till she was crushed to death. Her last words during an agony of fifteen minutes, were "Jesu! Jesu!Jesu! have mercy on me!" Her right hand is preserved at St. Mary's Convent, York, but the resting-place of her sacred body is not known. Her sons Henry and William became priests, and her daughter Anne a nun at St. Ursula'sLouvain.

Window at Bridlington of St. Margaret Clitherow
Her life, written by her confessor, John Mush, exists in two versions. The earlier has been edited by Father John Morris, S.J., in his "Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers", third series (London, 1877). The later manuscript, now at York Convent, was published by W. Nicholson, of Thelwall Hall, Cheshire (London, Derby, 1849), with portrait: "Life and Death of Margaret Clitherow the martyr of York". It also contains the "History of Mr. Margaret Ward and Mrs. Anne Line, Martyrs".

Anne Line is the last one considered here.  She was a convert. Again, let us look at the CE online for her story:

English martyr, d. 27 Feb., 1601. She was the daughter of William Heigham of Dunmow, Essex, a gentleman of means and an ardent Calvinist, and when she and her brother announced their intention of becoming Catholics both were disowned and disinherited. Anne married Roger Line, a convert like herself, and shortly after their marriage he was apprehended for attending Mass. After a brief confinement he was released and permitted to go into exile in Flanders, where he died in 1594. When Father John Gerard established a house of refuge for priests in London, Mrs. Line was placed in charge. After Father Gerard's escape from the Tower in 1597, as the authorities were beginning to suspect her assistance, she removed to another house, which she made a rallying point for neighbouring Catholics. On Candlemas Day, 1601, Father Francis Page, S.J. was about to celebrateMass in her apartments, when priest-catchers broke into the rooms. Father Page quickly unvested, and mingled with the others, but the altar prepared for the ceremony was all the evidence needed for the arrest of Mrs. Line. She was tried at the Old Bailey 26 Feb., 1601, and indicted under the Act of 27 Eliz. for harbouring a priest, though this could not be proved. The next day she was led to the gallows, and bravely proclaiming her faith, achieved the martyrdom for which she had prayed. Her fate was shared by two priestsSt. Mark Barkworth, O.S.B., and  St. Roger Filcock, S.J., who were executed at the same time.
Statue of St. Anne Line in St. Etheldreda's, Ely Place

Roger Filcock had long been Mrs. Line's friend and frequently her confessor. Entering the English College at Reims in 1588, he was sent with the others in 1590 to colonize the seminary of St. Albans at Valladolid, and, after completing his course there, was ordained and sent on the English mission. Father Garnett kept him on probation for two years to try his mettle before admitting him to the Society of Jesus, and finding him zealous and brave, finally allowed him to enter. He was just about to cross to the Continent for his novitiate when he was arrested on suspicion of being a priest and executed after a travesty of a trial.

Shakespeare's The Phoenix and the Turtle: on poetry and martyrs

Many scholars now believe this was written by the Master in memory of St. Anne Line and her husband, Roger Line. The poem is a "metaphysical" poem, of the same genre as many of the works of John Donne, George Herbert, St. Robert Southwell, martyr, Henry Vaughan, Richard Crashaw and others.  It was written in 1601 and may be another proof that Shakespeare was, indeed, Catholic.
The Phoenix and the Turtle
Let the bird of loudest lay,
On the sole Arabian tree,
Herald sad and trumpet be,
To whose sound chaste wings obey.
But thou, shriking harbinger,
Foul pre-currer of the fiend,
Augur of the fever's end,
To this troop come thou not near.
From this session interdict
Every fowl of tyrant wing,
Save the eagle, feather'd king:
Keep the obsequy so strict.
Let the priest in surplice white,
That defunctive music can,
Be the death-divining swan,
Lest the requiem lack his right.
And thou, treble-dated crow,
That thy sable gender mak'st
With the breath thou giv'st and tak'st,
'Mongst our mourners shalt thou go.
Here the anthem doth commence:
Love and constancy is dead;
Phoenix and the turtle fled
In a mutual flame from hence.
So they lov'd, as love in twain
Had the essence but in one;
Two distincts, division none:
Number there in love was slain.
Hearts remote, yet not asunder;
Distance, and no space was seen
'Twixt the turtle and his queen;
But in them it were a wonder.
So between them love did shine,
That the turtle saw his right
Flaming in the phoenix' sight:
Either was the other's mine.
Property was thus appall'd,
That the self was not the same;
Single nature's double name
Neither two nor one was call'd.
Reason, in itself confounded,
Saw division grow together;
To themselves yet either-neither,
Simple were so well compounded
That it cried how true a twain
Seemeth this concordant one!
Love hath reason, reason none
If what parts can so remain.
Whereupon it made this threne
To the phoenix and the dove,
Co-supreme and stars of love;
As chorus to their tragic scene.
Beauty, truth, and rarity.
Grace in all simplicity,
Here enclos'd in cinders lie.
Death is now the phoenix' nest;
And the turtle's loyal breast
To eternity doth rest,
Leaving no posterity:--
'Twas not their infirmity,
It was married chastity.
Truth may seem, but cannot be:
Beauty brag, but 'tis not she;
Truth and beauty buried be.
To this urn let those repair
That are either true or fair;
For these dead birds sigh a prayer

Images of Tyburn

Catholic London

I have found a book, Catholic London, which is a delight. The author is John Wittich, a Londoner, who obviously loves London and Catholicism. Because I was at Tyburn, I wanted more information on the area and found it in this small but packed book. I especially like the maps.

Of course, as Ely Place is one of my favourites in London, I read about St. Etheldreda's, which I visited about two months ago. But, what struck me this time in looking at the maps and the places mentioned by Wittich, is the overwhelming presence of the martyrs. Not only the place of their martyrdom is sacred, but the entire route of their humiliation, the streets through which they were dragged on hurdles to the place of execution.

The "Martyrs' Way" is from Newgate, through Smithfield, to Tyburn. In an old copy of The Catholic Herald from 1936, a group was reported as walking annually on this route. The Guild of Our Lady of Ransom organized the walk. I do not know if anyone does it today, but this pilgrimage sounds timely. A group for young Catholics, Juventutem London, have a monthly rosary at Tyburn. Here is the website for more information on the group.

On the fear of having children...

I have been conversing with some young people, between the ages of 22-32. It is very interesting and sad to know that some members of the Millennials are terrified of having and raising children. I have mentioned this before on this blog, but I am so sad at this knowledge that I want to expand the conversation here.

Here are some of the reasons why these young people, both male and female, have explained this fear to me.

One, they are from families of one or two children and have no experience of young children.

Two, none of their friends or uncles or aunts, have younger siblings or children, so that have no experience of babysitting.

Three, in England, as well as in some other EU countries, child rearing is so restricted that some young people fear the government invasion into their lives. One said to me that my generation could discipline as we thought best, but no longer is this possible. James Dobson is not allowed in the EU.

Four, such natural things as breast feeding, changing nappies, and rocking a baby seem like alien practices.

Five, the youth have not seen good marriages, happy parents and happy, disciplined children.

Six, the youth have not seen large families.

Seven, young men do not want to support a stay-at-home mom. They are not familiar with such a life-style.

Now, the youth with whom I have been discussing these points are all Europeans, but in some places, the American experience may be the same. As they were talking, I felt so sad. My childhood and teen years seem like they happened on another planet.

My immediate family of five was the smallest in the neighbourhood.  We had tons of kids to play with, to babysit, to be around. We had no choice in the matter. We played, ate, lived with kids. We learned to fold nappies, make baby food, heat up bottles of milk, push a pram or push-chair, burp babies, clean up after baby mess and generally do things daily which seemed natural and necessary, as well as good.

No big deal...We had bunk beds and trundle beds. Most of my generation did not have our own bedroom until we were in late high school. One of my fellow students in high school came from a family of twenty children all from the same mom and dad. She lost her oldest brother in Viet Nam. The mother went to Mass everyday, as the dad came home from work at lunch time so she could get to noon Mass. They had family meetings once a week and we all thought they were cool.

We played games together. We watched television together. We could play baseball and have two complete teams with two families. We had dramas and fairs in the summer, all run by the neighbourly kids. When autumn came, the kids split up into their own school groups and walked to school together. We did chores together and grew up watching boys and girls become men and women.

When the girls played with the doll-houses, we always pretended we had our own rooms. Dream.

The fear of having children is also exacerbated by the lies of the medical profession that having a baby is an illness. Having a baby should be seen as a normal activity, not something special or unique.

I feel so sad. We had so much fun. We learned so much. I encouraged these youth not to be afraid.

On Benedictine Spirituality--a mini-series, part one

The next few posts will include small meditations on some aspects of Benedictine Spirituality. If readers have not seen the DVD Tyburn Convent: Gloria Deo, A Film Documentary, I highly suggest getting it.

One of the aspects I want to emphasize is the connection between learning and the love of God, which I have mentioned on this blog before.The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture by Jean Leclercq. 

Today, I want to highlight two points from the text, which are in the Rule. The first is the daily reading of the Lectio Divina. The readings from the Scriptures are followed by meditation and prayer. The emphasis in on the Word of God. Although St. Benedict did not invent this method of study and prayer, he implemented it and established it as part of his Rule.

The reading itself is a sacred movement. The meditation follows and the prayer, naturally would end the process. It is obvious that some intellectual and rational approaches are here employed. As Leclercq noted, a monk had to learn how to read and understand Scripture. The monks had and wrote books. They copied books. The Scriptures were copied and re-copied, embellished with art and designs which still astonish the world. 

The novice had and still has to read and study the Rule. Therefore, even in the earliest days, the novice had to know how to read and discuss the Rule. Reading in the refectory was done out loud, and reading in the quiet times could have been done in a low voice. Silent reading was also done and still is. Leclercq notes that active reading, reading out loud, is connected to meditation. The reader listens as well as begins to understand the text.

To listen, to think, to act out of reflection is a little phrase I add to some of my posts. I got this from St. Benedict-think, pray, reflect, act. This movement of the mind and heart is all part of being involved in the Lectio Divina.

As children, at least in the old days, we would learn "by heart", a way of learning to which Leclercq refers. Some of you may remember reciting poetry in school and learning by heart by repeating the poem out loud for homework. The monk would do the same. And, the daily recitation of the Hours, the Breviary, as well as the singing of the Chant, would bring about memorization.

The second point is that the reading of the Rule would lead to an appropriation of those rules. Reading and studying change the mind and the heart. As the novice would learn the Rule, he would begin to make it his own. The doctor studies medicine until he can do operations "by heart". So, too, the monk learns the Rule so that he can live it. Thus, says Leclercq, monastic life is based on the reading and understanding of literature. For a word-smith like myself, this is not only consoling, but very attractive and beautiful.

The repetition is part of meditation and meditation is part of learning. To be continued...

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Recommending Fr. Z Today

Recommending two great discussions going on on Father Z's blog at this moment


Prayers for Sems

Please pray for seminarians everywhere. Today, pray for the sems from the Diocese of Davenport and Arudel and Brighton. These dioceses need many more men to serve the population.

Diocese of Davenport Seminarians, 2012

And pray, please, for this seminarian, in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, here seen playing Tranio in The Taming of the Shrew in the green and lace costume.

Christ called him the greatest man who ever lived...

Christ said that John the Baptist was the greatest man who ever lived in Luke 7:28.  "I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John ..."

I have never heard a sermon in my long years as a Catholic on this subject. John here is called by the Son of God the greatest man who ever lived, greater than all the patriarchs of the Old Testament, the apostles, the martyrs, the doctors of the Church and even, St. Joseph. He was the only person conceived in original sin but born pure and full of the Holy Spirit because of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth.

In the Byzantine Church, today is a great feast. Happy Feast Day to the Co-Cathedral of St. John in Valletta, Malta.

Bernard on Peter and John

St. Bernard of Clairvaux has a fascinating sermon on two aspects of love regarding St. John and St. Peter. St. Bernard,  in St. Peter and St. John, XLI, In Joannic Evang; Tract CXXIV.  Bernard says the Peter loved Christ more than John, but that Christ loved John more than He did Peter. This is a great mystery, but Bernard breaks down the problem by stating that Peter represents the Church Militant, the Church on earth and John represents the Church Triumphant in heaven.

What does Bernard mean? He explains that the two types reveal how we Catholics are in our relationship to Christ on earth and in heaven. Peter, who is full of zeal, is the Head of the Church and must organize, protect and lead. John, who is resting on the breast of Christ, represents the soul in heaven, abiding in the love of God for all eternity.

Peter is all action and progress. John is rest and reflection.

Bernard uses the typical approach to the Scriptures in which persons are seen as "types" or even in "allegories" regarding spiritual truths. The great mystic gives us much to think upon in this sermon.

On St. Benedict's Rule

It is very hard coming back to the ordinary world after a sublime retreat. A retreat should change a person, and I am somewhat pleased with some change. But, what is most important is that I come back again realizing the great gift of the Benedictine Rule for the Church. St. Benedict's Rule seems to allow for a variety of gifts and backgrounds instead of insisting on sameness among the women. At the convent where I was on retreat, I met many nuns from widely different backgrounds and stations in life. This variety of gifts, and even nationalities creates a rich tapestry of talents and character.

However, the Rule transcends differences by being both flexible and "strict" in certain areas. I personally think that the balance of work and prayer allows for a healthy atmosphere.

Benedictines truly live in community. The communal life opens up opportunities for development and growth. The "extrovert" and delightful guest mistress told me that when she entered in her thirties, she was very timid. Out of obedience, she was asked to be the guest mistress, which is a hugely active role in a community which opens its doors to perpetual adoration, Mass, the hours and retreats.

Some commentators have labelled the Rule as "moderate". In 2012, most people would see such a life-style as extreme.

Having a Benedictine heart, I love the pace of the monastic day and the balance of prayer, service, and work. I think one would have to be a little bit hyper-active to be a Benedictine.

There is always work. Here is a section from Chapter 72:

Just as there is an evil zeal of bitterness
which separates from God and leads to hell,
so there is a good zeal
which separates from vices and leads to God
and to life everlasting.
This zeal, therefore, the sisters should practice 
with the most fervent love.
Thus they should anticipate one another in honor (Rom. 12:10);
most patiently endure one another's infirmities,
whether of body or of character; 
vie in paying obedience one to another -- 
no one following what she considers useful for herself, 
but rather what benefits another -- ; 
tender the charity of sisterhood chastely; 
fear God in love;
love their Abbess with a sincere and humble charity;
prefer nothing whatever to Christ.
And may He bring us all together to life everlasting!

Tuesday 28 August 2012

On virtues, commitment and perfection

We have a culture of priests who deny that perfection can be sought. Many singles in the confessional hear priests denying the role of discipline and obedience in the lay life. The priests' ideas reflect the aberrations of the culture. Instead of shaping the culture, they have succumbed to the falsity of individualism and selfishness.

There are so many distractions in the single world which have ZERO spiritual value. For those who choose the religious life, or the priesthood today, means that they choose a context of people praying every day, sharing 6:30 Vespers, and having a talk about the Blessed Virgin Mary afterwards over breakfast. But, one must choose that way or marriage. Marriage, if one works at it, is a way to heaven through a different spirituality.

Work for single people, run by single people leaves no spirituality or substantive recreation. 

Single people even go to work on holiday, being career-centric. This has been the case for over 100 years. Blaming the Enlightening is an excuse for the lack of spirituality. The single life is a reaction to the family. It is rebellion. This generation lives in reaction, as they have no common ground. Those single people have no common frame of reference even in pop culture.

This generation of singles is not homogeneous in any way, even in recreation.

In the past, there was a blending of single activities and married and family activities. The culture is, perhaps, in some places finding communal values, but the single people never see families-they have never seen a successful family or even a baby. Seriously, I have had young people tell me that have never held a baby.

We grew up in neighbourhoods swarming with kids. We took care of our brothers and sisters, as well as other babies from other families. 

That the culture of priests reflections the individuality of this generation at the level of accepting a false view of society is dangerous. Perfection can only be found in relationships. 

If this generation is not encouraged by priests to seek perfection in a community and not encouraged to seek holiness at all, they will not reach the level of holiness God has called them to achieve. I believe this and so do some religious, with whom I have spoken..

Think, reflect, act.

Fungi collecting...

For you to think and look at on a Tuesday morning...fungi collecting in Japan.

Thanks to Wiki

the violence of affliction...clarifies the good

Thanks, wiki

Wherefore, though good and bad men suffer alike, we must not suppose that there is no difference between the men themselves, because there is no difference in what they both suffer. For even in the likeness of the sufferings, there remains an unlikeness in the sufferers; and though exposed to the same anguish, virtue and vice are not the same thing. For as the same fire causes gold to glow brightly, and chaff to smoke; and under the same flail the straw is beaten small, while the grain is cleansed; and as the lees are not mixed with the oil, though squeezed out of the vat by the same pressure, so the same violence of affliction proves, purges, clarifies the good, but damns, ruins, exterminates the wicked. And thus it is that in the same affliction the wicked detest God and blaspheme, while the good pray and praise. So material a difference does it make, not what ills are suffered, but what kind of man suffers them. For, stirred up with the same movement, mud exhales a horrible stench, and ointment emits a fragrant odor.

Happy Feast Day of St. Augustine

JonathanCatholic Again

Jesus, Mary, and the Pots

In this post, I would like to give you all a meditation on one of my favorite Scripture passages from the Gospel according to St. John 2:1-11, with two supporting passages.

“And the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage. And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come. His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye. Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece. Jesus saith to them: Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And Jesus saith to them: Draw out now, and carry to the chief steward of the feast. And they carried it. And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water; the chief steward calleth the bridegroom, And saith to him: Every man at first setteth forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. But thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee; and manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.”- St. John 2:1-11, Douay-Rheims

With that in mind, read these two passages of Sacred Scripture:

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency may be of the power of God, and not of us.”- 2nd Corinthians 4:6-7, Douay-Rheims

“There was a woman once that appealed to Eliseus (more commonly known today as Elisha the Prophet) for aid; her husband had been among the disciples of the prophets. Master, she said, you knew my husband for a faithful servant of yours, and one that feared the Lord. Now he is dead, and here is a creditor of mine that will come and take away my two sons, to be his bondsmen. What would you have me do for you? asked Eliseus. How much have you by you? My lord, she answered, I have nothing left in my house at all but a drop of oil to anoint myself with. Go then, said he, and borrow empty jars from all your neighbours, and do not stint yourself. Then go home, and lock the door on yourself and your two sons within; fill all these jars with the oil, and set them aside when they are full. So the woman went, and locked the door on herself and her two sons, and they began holding out the jars for her, while she filled them. When she had filled them, and, asking one of her sons for a fresh jar, was told that he had no more, the oil gave out.”- 4th Kings 4:1-6 (more commonly known today as 2nd King 4:1-6) Msgr. Ronald Knox Bible

In the first passage from the Gospel according to St. John, we can see an incredible allegory hidden just under the surface. St. Paul tells us that, mystically, we can be likened to earthen vessels, literally, clay pots or jars. Before conversion, we are hollow and filled with merely ourselves, just like the clay pots that Our Lord ordered to be brought to Him were empty, and then filled with only water. At His command, however, the formerly destitute pots are filled with wine, the physical sign of the Blood of Christ. This is a fantastic allegory for the Christian life. When our strength as mankind had failed utterly, just like the wine, symbolizing life, had failed at the Wedding in Cana, Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, came forward in His human nature, and transformed by His grace, through the intercession of Mary as we see in this passage, our poverty into His riches, our destitution into His royalty, and our beggary into His Life, His very self, His Blood in the Eucharist. All of this is done not separate from, but rather in cooperation with, the intercession of Mary in accordance with the will of God. And what command to we hear ringing in Our Lady’s grace-filled decree? “Do whatever He tells you.” This is our standing orders for our Queen, to bend the knee to Christ the King, and to do everything that He tells us. So shall we be filled with the Blood of Jesus Christ, which is Life and Love Itself. For we have this excellency in earthen vessels, says the divine and blessed Apostle, the Light of God shining forth in the darkness, present in and with our souls, infused into our very being, making us the light of the world in the Light Himself.

In the second passage, as well, we may see a likeness to the Christian life in allegorical form. This allegory fits perfectly with the allegory from St. John chapter 2, as we shall see. In this picture, we see presented to the holy Prophet a great famine in the land of Israel. Prosperity has turned into poverty, and lady was saddled with a debt that she could not possibly pay, such that her very children were to be taken into slavery to that man to whom she owed the debt. The olive oil was consequently so scarce that there was barely a drop remaining. And when he, the Prophet of God, comes upon this sad state of affairs, what does he do? He multiplies by grace the oil, filling all of the earthen vessels, until there is no longer any remaining. There is enough oil to fill all of them, so much in fact, that the ocean of oil floods over and annihilates the debt owed by the lady to the creditor. Now apply this to the Christian life: the People of God, Israel, were in a great famine prior to the coming of Our Lord Jesus. There was a great famine in the land, more real and more gripping than any physical famine. There was a famine of the knowledge of God, and a great bondage to sin, which gripped the souls of men and forced them into slavery, to sin and to the one who had the power of sin, the devil. Here enters Our Lord and Our Lady. Jesus Christ comes and willingly takes upon Himself the nature of a slave, being made in the likeness of men, and dies under the hand of evil sent from the devil to attempt to consume Him, taking our debt upon Himself. And He is not by Himself and alone; the true Lady, whose Son He is, participates in His sorrowful Passion and watches her Son being given over to death and the punishment of sin for our sake. She willingly offers Him up for our benefit, and assumes the role of the destitute and devastated Mother, thought she was the most blessed creature who ever existed. Before the eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ, was born of Mary His Mother, the Holy Spirit was scarce and not to be found in His personal fullness among Israel. Just as the oil, which is a symbol for the Holy Ghost, was so gloriously multiplied so as to fill all earthen vessels, so too after the Passion of Christ was the Holy Ghost poured out most abundantly upon the Church and even unto today such that not a single soul in the Church need be destitute of His powerful and plenteous Presence. And in this Almighty Spirit, as St. Paul says, there is liberty, and freedom from the weight of sin, to which we were hopelessly in debt prior to the grace of God. We have such a treasure, says the divine and blessed Apostle, dwelling in our earthen vessels, the Body and Blood of Christ, and His Spirit; and in them, all Life.

Inspiration for this expanded meditation was received from Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, with supplemental material from Dr. Scott Hahn, professor at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.

Monday 27 August 2012

St. Monica, pray for us

Happy Feast of St. Monica. This is my favourite painting of St. Monica and St. Augustine. God bless all mums and sons today and bring them all closer to God. A mother's influence is great, for good or for evil. Let us pray for all mums with babies in the womb, that these babies are cherished for nine months and after.

Thanks, wiki