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Thursday 20 September 2012

Pray for the Far East

Today is the memorial of Saint Andrew Kim Taegŏn, the first Korean priest and martyr and Saint Paul Chŏng Hasang, martyr, and their companions, martyrs.

Pray for Korea, split, as things are not good in that part of the world, either. Here is an interesting biographical sketch of the saints.

If I were ever martyred, I would probably be in the group "companions" and never known. Hmmm...

No Catholic Vote Among Latinos

Romney is behind Obama in Latino polls. In the last poll. Obama is ahead among registered Latino voters – 68% to 26%. This is the tally from impreMedia and Latino Decisions from September 17th. 

Therefore, there is no Catholic vote among the Latinos. How can they support this anti-life president? The pro-life message has fallen on deaf ears. I would like all the Hispanic priests in my old diocese to explain what they are doing to help their parishioners understand that to vote for such a man with the anti-life record and statements for civil unions is to support ideals which are positions against their religion.

But, maybe Latinos are not Catholic any more. 
Why is the Latino community supporting civil unions?

I would like comments from Hispanic Catholics.

Lower house in Australia votes down same-sex marriage

Well then, some people believe in natural law down under.

Sadly, this press article is slanted pro. What is very interesting, is that one can easily read which
ministers voted yes or no.

Thanks to a reader from Australia for the heads up.

Of what did the saints dream?

Well, going into the convent for my trial period, I have few regrets but here are five.

One, I have never stood on the Charles Bridge in Prague where my Great Grandfather proposed to my Great Grandmother in the early 1880s.

I cannot imagine how romantic that must have been. I can see her beautiful little face looking up into his dark handsome eyes. I have their love letters still in a box in Illinois.

Two, I have never been to the Douro Valley to see the vineyards and taste the port, while wearing a new sun-dress, a straw hat and sandals.

For some reason, I like port and sunshine. Don't you?

Three, I have never been to Iceland, which for some reason I have always wanted to visit. Maybe I have Vikings for ancestors.

I have always wanted to fly into the northern lights. Is that possible? I have seen the northern lights in the Midwest, Canada and Alaska.

Are these different in Iceland?

Four, standing in the snow looking up at Fountains Abbey, my favourite place in England, is something I would love to do as I have only been there in the summer.

Fountains is my spiritual home.

However, one can forgo certain places and treats in order to pursue the inward life.

And, after all, we are here to prepare ourselves for eternity.

Five, I have never had a blue rose.

I am not sure how a glass of port in a comfortable spot at the edge of the valley on a hot afternoon, or trucking around glaciers and staring at the northern lights, or watching the lights reflect off the Moldau River, listening to strains of Dvorak, or holding a blue rose would get me merit in heaven. But, all is good in the Lord. 

Goodbye to all that.....and goodbye to dreams.

I must dream new dreams. 

I wonder of what the saints dreamt?

Do you think St. John Nepomuk dreamt of Prague?

Or did St. Thorlac Thorhallson dream of  the northern lights?

Did St. Elizabeth of Portugal ever taste port or dream of the mountainous valleys? 

Did St. Robert of Newminster dream of Fountains? I think he did. He planned Fountains.

New days, new nights, new dreams.

And a third post on St. Benedict's Rule today

love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, and strength.

To love one's neighbor as oneself.
Not to kill.
Not to commit adultery.
Not to steal.
Not to covet.
Not to bear false witness.
To respect all men.
Not to do to another what one would not have done to oneself.
To deny oneself in order to follow Christ.
To chastise the body.
Not to love pleasure.
To love fasting.
To comfort the poor.
To clothe the naked.
To visit the sick.
To bury the dead.
To aid those in trouble.
To comfort the sad.
To reject worldliness.
To love Christ above all else.
Not to become angry.
Not to show temper.
Not to keep deceit in one's heart.
Not to make false peace.
Not to forsake charity.
Not to swear, for fear of committing perjury.
To speak the truth with heart and lips.

More from The Rule of St. Benedict: a reminder of heaven and hell

....brothers, if we want to reach the highest summit of humility, if we desire to attain speedily that exaltation in heaven to which we climb by the humility of this present life, then by our ascending actions we must set up that ladder on which Jacob in a dream saw angels descending and ascending (Gen 28:12). Without doubt, this descent and ascent can signify only that we descend by exaltation and ascend by humility. Now the ladder erected is our life on earth, and if we humble our hearts the Lord will raise it to heaven. We may call our body and soul the sides of this ladder, into which our divine vocation has fitted the various steps of humility and discipline as we ascend.
The first step of humility, then, is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes (Ps 35 [36]:2) and never forgets it. He must constantly remember everything God has commanded, keeping in mind that all who despise God will burn in hell for their sins, and all who fear God have everlasting life awaiting them. While he guards himself at every moment from sins and vices of thought or tongue, of hand or foot, of self-will or bodily desire, let him recall that he is always seen by God in heaven, that his actions everywhere are in God’s sight and are reported by angels at every hour.
The Prophet indicates this to us when he shows that our thoughts are always present to God, saying: God searches hearts and minds (Ps 7:10); again he says: The Lord knows the thoughts of men (Ps 93 [94]:11); likewise, From afar you know my thoughts (Ps 138 [139]:3); and The thought of man shall give you praise (Ps 75 [76]:11). That he may take care to avoid sinful thoughts, the virtuous brother must always say to himself: I shall be blameless in his sight if I guard myself from my own wickedness (Ps 17 [18]:24).
Truly, we are forbidden to do our own will, for Scripture tells us: Turn away from your desires (Sir 18:30). And in the Prayer too we ask God that his will be done in us (Matt 6:10). We are rightly taught not to do our own will, since we dread what Scripture says: There are ways which men call right that in the end plunge into the depths of hell (Prov 16:25). Moreover, we fear what is said of those who ignore this: They are corrupt and have become depraved in their desires (Ps 13 [14]:1).

From The Rule of St. Benedict Again

To despise one's own will.
To obey the abbot's commands in all things, 
even if he strays from his own path, 
mindful of the Lord's command: "What they say, do, but what they do, do not perform"
 Matt. 23:3).
Not to desire to be called holy before the fact, but to be holy first, then called so with truth.
To fulfill God's commandments in one's activities.
To love chastity.
To hate no one.
Not to be jealous or envious.
To hate strife.
To evidence no arrogance.
To honor the elderly.
To love the young.
To pray for one's enemies for the love of Christ.
To make peace with an adversary before sundown.
Never to despair of God's mercy.

These are the tools of our spiritual craft.

Roses and Colors

Those of you who have followed this blog know I love roses.

A friend gave me a bouquet of a dozen yellow and orange roses to enjoy in my last week here in London.

Yellow roses indicate friendship and orange roses indicate new beginnings and a journey.

How appropriate.