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Sunday 12 August 2012

A great article on Dem reactions to Ryan, plus two more

This is so funny as to be true....or so true, as to be funny.

How can they say such things about Paul Ryan?
And, here is an older article, but valid for understanding Ryan's influence. And, update: here is another great article.

Fun on a Sunday--which Jane Austen lady are you?

OK Ladies, this is for you on a sunny, Sunday morning in England.

Which Jane Austen character are you? This is for plain fun and this blogger gives a BIG disclaimer. Do not base much on it but enjoyment. You who read this might have fun guessing which one I came out to be.

Thanks to Gibson Girl for the link.

Guest Blogger JonathanCatholic

The Spouse of God

As I was mediating on the beginning of the Gospel according to St. Luke, and wondering about what to write about in my weekly post this time, my thoughts fell upon Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s wonderful work “The Glories of Mary,” particularly one small statement within this book that Protestants often misunderstand and take as a lie. There is a passage from the second chapter of St. Luke that inspired me to turn my thoughts to Saint Alphonsus Liguori, and contrary to the misunderstandings, if you understand what the blessed Saint is saying, it opens up a beautiful meditation on the relationship between the Blessed Virgin, the Church, and the Triune God.
Here is the passage from the Gospel according to St. Luke that prompted my mediations:

“And his (Christ’s) parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the Pasch, And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her Heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.”- St. Luke 2:41-52

This is truly a remarkable passage! Here is the passage from “The Glories of Mary” that it reminded me of:

“He (Our Lord Jesus Christ) has supreme dominion over all and also over Mary; nevertheless, it can always be said that for a time at least, when He was living in this world, He was pleased to humble himself and be subject (in obedience) to Mary. Says St. Ambrose, ‘Jesus Christ having deigned to make Mary His Mother, inasmuch as He was her Son, He was truly obliged to obey her.’ And for this reason, says Richard of St. Laurence, ‘Of other Saints we say that they are with God; but of Mary alone can it be said that she was so far favored as to be not only herself submissive to the will of God, but even that God was subject to her will.’
Therefore we say that, even though Mary can no longer command her Son, since they are not on earth any more, still her prayers are always the prayers of a Mother and are therefore most powerful in obtaining whatever she asks…
‘The prayers of our Lady, being the prayers of a Mother, have in them something of a command; so it is impossible for her not to be heard.’- Saint Antonine”

These two passages teach us truly the level of humility that God the Son assumed to Himself in becoming man. As St. Paul says in his epistle to the Philippians, ‘He humbled Himself, taking on the nature of a slave,” and likewise says in his epistle to the Galatians, ‘In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son, born of a Woman, born under the Law.’ The One who is Almighty and who never ceased to be the Almighty, deigned to assume human nature so fully and so completely that He indeed was obedient to His Mother, and not only his Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Lest we forget the magnitude of the glory of the great Saint, Joseph, let us remember that is says here – wonder of wonders! – that God the Son incarnate truly was subject in obedience to him as well, in addition to Mary His Mother. This is an incredible point that is often overlooked, it seems, in the Church Militant. I will continue this theme of Our Lord being subject to Our Lady in my next post.

Newman and Perfection Continued

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman gives us a clear view of the mind of modern man. He not only knew his history, and the history of ideas, but also how thinking changes a person's view of virtue.

Here is a quotation from Oxford Sermon 8, one of those I have been examining in the past few days. As I was defining and examining the great sins, here is Newman perfectly describing sloth and cowardice, as well as acedia, that melancholy which causes inaction in the spiritual life and a cynicism.

And it must be confessed, so great is the force of passion and of habit, when once allowed to take possession of the heart, that these men seem to have in their actual state, nay in their past experience, long before the time of their present obduracy, an infallible witness in behalf of their doctrine. In subduing our evil nature, the first steps alone are in our own power; a few combats seem to decide the solemn question, to decide whether the sovereignty is with the spirit or the flesh; nisi paret, imperat, is become a proverb. When once the enemy of our souls "comes in like a flood," what hope is there that he ever will be expelled? And what servitude can be compared to the bondage which follows, when we wish to do right, yet are utterly powerless to do it? whether we be slaves to some imperious {146} passion, hushed indeed in its victim's ordinary mood, and allowing the recurrence of better thoughts and purposes, but rising suddenly and sternly, in his evil hour, to its easy and insulting triumph; or, on the other hand, to some cold sin which overhangs and deadens the mind, sloth, for instance, or cowardice, binding it down with ten thousand subtle fastenings to the earth, nor suffering it such motion as might suffice it for a renewal of the contest. Such, in its worst forms, is the condition of the obdurate sinner; who, feeling his weakness, but forgetting that he ever had strength, and the promise of aid from above, at length learns to acquiesce in his misery as if the lot of his nature, and resolves neither to regret nor to hope.

In the modern world, we make psychological excuses for such sin, blaming our character or personalities or weaknesses. In a sense, we are actually blaming God directly when we do this and that is the sin of pride.

Next he amuses his reason with the melancholy employment of reducing his impressions into system; and proves, as he thinks, from the confessed influence of external events, and the analogy of the physical world, that all moral phenomena proceed according to a fixed law, and that we are not more to blame when we sin than when we die.
19. (2.) The Calvinistic doctrine, if not the result, is at least the forerunner of a similar neglect of the doctrine of human responsibility. Whatever be the fallacies of its argumentative basis, viewed as a character of mind, it miscalculates the power of the affections, as fatalism does that of the passions. Its practical error is that of supposing that certain motives and views, presented to the heart and conscience, produce certain effects as their necessary consequence, no room being left for the resistance of the will, or for self-discipline, as the medium by which faith and holiness are connected {147} together. 

In other words, holiness takes effort. Newman succinctly describes the sensual person, who falls away from discernment and the habits of virtue.

 Nor is there among the theories of the world any more congenial to the sated and remorseful sensualist, who, having lost the command of his will, feels that if he is to be converted, it must be by some sudden and violent excitement. On the other hand, it will always have its advocates among the young and earnest-minded, who, not having that insight into their hearts which experience gives, think that to know is to obey, and that their habitual love of the Truth may be measured by their momentary admiration of it. And {148} it is welcomed by the indolent, who care not for the Scripture warnings of the narrowness of the way of life, provided they can but assure themselves that it is easy to those who are in it; and who readily ascribe the fewness of those who find it, not to the difficulty of connecting faith and works, but to a Divine frugality in the dispensation of the gifts of grace.

As Catholics, we know the remedies for these sins: obedience to the teaching of the Church, prayer, the sacraments, and practicing the life of the virtues.

I use photos and pictures of Newman as an older man, but remember, he was in his early thirties when he gave these amazing sermons. One is in awe of his mind and his soul.

to be continued...

Newman on Natural Law--part of seeking perfection

That we are accountable for what we do and what we are,—that, in spite of all aids or hindrances from without, each soul is the cause of its own happiness or misery,—is a truth certified to us both by Nature and Revelation. Nature conveys it to us in the feeling of guilt and remorse, which implies self-condemnation. In the Scriptures, on the other hand, it is the great prevailing principle throughout, in every age of the world, and through every Dispensation. The change of times, the varieties of religious knowledge, the gifts of grace, interfere not with the integrity of this momentous truth. Praise to the obedient, punishment on the transgressor, is the revealed rule of God's government from the beginning to the consummation of all things. The fall of Adam did not abolish, nor do the provisions of Gospel-mercy supersede it.

The operation of the same deceit discovers itself in our mode of judging the conduct of others; whether, in the boldness with which we blame in them what, under other circumstances, we allow in ourselves; or, again, in the false charity which we exercise towards them. For instance, the vices of the young are often regarded by beholders with an irrational indulgence, on the ground (as it is said) that youth ever will be wanton and impetuous; which is only saying, if put into plain language, that there are temptations which are not intended as trials of our obedience. Or when, {143} as lately, the lower orders rise up against the powers that be, in direct opposition to the word of Scripture, they are excused on the ground of their rulers being bigoted and themselves enlightened; or because they feel themselves capable of exercising more power; or because they have the example of other nations to incite them to do so; or simply (the more common excuse) because they have the means of doing so: as if loyalty could be called a virtue when men cannot be disloyal, or obedience had any praise when it became a constraint. In like manner, there is a false charity, which, on principle, takes the cause of heresy under its protection; and, instead of condemning it, as such, busies itself in fancying the possible circumstances which may, in this or that particular instance, excuse it; as if outward fortunes could change the nature of truth or of moral excellence, or as if, admitting the existence of unavoidable misbelief to be conceivable, yet it were not the duty of the Christian to take things as they are given us in Scripture, as they are in themselves, and as they are on the whole, instead of fastening upon exceptions to the rule, or attempting to ascertain that combination and balance of circumstances, in favour of individuals, which is only known to the Omniscient Judge.