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Tuesday 27 November 2012

Perfection Series continued...We are Martha and Mary

To call something the active life or the contemplative life indicates the means to an end. The end is the same-oneness with God in heaven.

To be in the active life, one is in the world and doing things. Nuns and monks in the contemplative life do things as well. In fact, some monasteries are very, very busy with guests, book-stores, gift-shops, retreats, seminaries, tours, classes etc. Some are, frankly, too active and the contemplative life suffers.

In the real contemplative orders, silence is a necessity for spiritual growth. This would be found in the extreme with the Carthusians and in a lesser, but still pronounced form in the Cistercians. Silence has been written about by many authors and one can look at the rich group of books concerning the importance of silence and the interior life.

In the active life, such as that of the lay person or the active orders which teach, nurse or whatever, the action they do purifies them and makes them perfect. That is the call. Martha is a saint, just as Mary is.

Works of mercy and hospitality in the Benedictine orders sometimes take over the contemplative side. Benedictine orders with schools have had a particular challenge, or, as in America and England, where the Benedictines by necessity had to go into parishes for centuries to help bishops by request, the need to be active is obvious. I have met at least one monk who did not want to take over a Benedictine parish, but was asked to by his abbot, as the bishop needed a monk-priest there. He suffered being outside the community.

On the other hand, I also know a monk-priest, who on retiring after many years in a parish, missed his people and had a hard time adjusting back to community life in the monastery. Such as the dangers of the active life for the monk-priest.

Nuns can experience similar trials if they have guest houses. Part of the problem is that the orders have shrunk in numbers. Imagine, some of the Cistercian houses in the Middle Ages had 700 monks and lay brothers. Amazing. What kind of ministries these orders fulfilled is the stuff of history.

I believe that there are contemplatives in the lay life. I consider myself one. I spend hours in silence daily, with a rhythm of prayer and work. This is what I see is my vocation. Does not bring in the money, however, but writing, researching, praying, do manual labour forms my day. The overlap of work and prayer needs to be protected by a stability I have not yet found. God willing.

The stability of the orders is not merely to perfect the Rule of Benedict but to form a stable, secure background for the intensity of the monastic life. It is intense.

The orders which are suffering from low numbers have a great challenge of meeting all the needs of the community and the ministries.

But, Suarez points out that this blanket separation of active and contemplative is not the best. He refers to Jesus, who spent His nights in prayer and was very active healing, preaching, teaching in the daytime.

Laity can enter into this type of life and I believe many of us are called to perfect our souls, hearts, and minds in such a balance.

How? Suarez is brilliant in his understanding of Christ's rebuke of Martha. Suarez states this: Mary represents the better PART of the life which is both active and contemplative. WOW!

It is not an either/or but a both/and...Martha and Mary represent people who loved Christ because they  knew how to both be active and contemplative. Both are saints. Mary's part in the scene is the higher role, but we must DO BOTH. Martha need not complain, as she has access to both worlds, as does Mary and the point is there is time and place for both. With Christ in the room, sit down, and listen, and absorb the love. Be with the Bridegroom and do not let anxiety take away the peace of contemplation. I have seen this in women who do not stop to enjoy the love of their husbands and must be too busy, instead of just being.

Before I read Suarez, I did not think of this, nor have I heard a sermon on such. This idea make Garrigou-Lagrange's call of perfection for the laity all the more understandable.

To be continued....

900 years of the recognition of the Knights Hospitallers

Next year, 2013, is the 900th year of the Founding of the Knights of Malta, the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, known as the Hospitallers. This order was formally recognized with the Bull of 15 February 1113 Papal Bull, Pie postulatio voluntatis by Pope Pascal II. 
I shall do a mini-series on the order soon.  

Dear St. Joseph

I found this page on line which lists all the things, places and people for which St. Joseph is patron. Here is the link.

I am highlighting him today because a person who is angelic in my life suggested I pray to him, which I did, in the form of a novena.

Joseph is the type of man who is a Protector. May St. Jospeh answer my prayers soon and yours as well. I shall share with you when this good man, this humble saint, answers my plea.

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.
Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls - Pray for me.

This prayer was found in the fiftieth year of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. Whoever shall read this prayer or hear it or keep it about themselves, shall never die a sudden death, or be drowned, not shall poison take effect of them; neither shall they fall into the hands of the enemy; or shall be burned in any fire, or shall be overpowered in battle.

Say for nine mornings for anything you may desire. It has never been known to fail, so be sure you really want what you ask.

Cute gets attention-multiple post day

Cute fish day...

Multiple post day and more to come tomorrow....

The End of Catholic Eire--Front Page of Irish Times for Abortion

And, update

selling out to the EU...

ANALYSIS: The commitment by Taoiseach Enda Kenny that Fine Gael will impose the whip to ensure the passage of legislation covering abortion in limited circumstances is a clear signal that there will not be any serious conflict between the Coalition parties on the issue.
Kenny’s comments yesterday reflect the broad consensus in both Government parties about the need to deal clearly and decisively with the abortion issue in the light of the European Court of Human Rights judgment and the death of Savita Halappanavar in Galway University Hospital.
The vast majority of TDs from both parties have been guarded in their comments since the Savita case. They were determined not to say anything to inflame the situation as they feared being dragged back into the kind of bitterness that characterised debate on the abortion issue in previous decades.
While a number of Fine Gael TDs had expressed reservations at a parliamentary party meeting last October about legislating for abortion, the mood in the party has been tempered by the tragic event in Galway and by the emerging shape of the Government response to the European Court judgment.
The party’s TDs have been reassured by the indications that the legislation is likely to provide a legal framework for existing medical practice in situations where a mother’s life is in danger rather than providing for a wider abortion regime.

and check out yesterday's articles as well

Fine Gael members and the Labour Party in Eire will push abortion through as the law of the land very soon. This could happen in weeks, not months. Eire had lost its soul, and anyone who thinks otherwise is merely living in deceit. 

The abortion center of Marie Stopes opened a month ago in Belfast and all is ready here for the same type of abortion mills. Malta will be the only country holding out, and that country is also under pressure to change the law. Catholics have only themselves to blame. Only 25% of Catholics in this country go to Sunday Mass and of those, some support contraception. 89% of the Irish claim to be Catholic, but the immigrant population is huge and mostly, except for the Polish people, not Catholic.

The Catholics are responsible for this horrible turn of events. The nation should be in mourning.

From LifeSiteNews on line:

The Irish Times reports that Labour party backbenchers will be “under pressure” from the party to vote for former Socialist TD Clare Daly’s revamped abortion Bill this Wednesday. The Times quoted Labour Senator Ivana Bacik saying, “It will be difficult to oppose Clare Daly’s Bill without some statement of intent to legislate.”
Minister Howlin told the state broadcaster RTE, “We have an expert group now to tell us in very considered detail how [to legislate on abortion] and I have no doubt that this Government will act very speedily in a measured, calm way to provide for that instruction from Supreme Court.”
The report by the government-appointed expert group on abortion will be brought to Cabinet tomorrow and is set to be made officially public next week. In sections that have already been leaked, however, the report presents several options for dealing with the legal situation on abortion, while prioritizing legislation that would legalize “limited abortion.” It recommends an appeal process for women who have been refused abortions and that the minister of health create centers for “terminations” to be committed.

and also

Blogging in an unreal world--Advent calendars for dogs

cute dog

Yes, Advent calendars for dogs, presumably because people are not having children. My cats could not understand God, or Advent or fasting and all four of them, even Vladimir, were more intelligent than any dog, especially Gillie, Puddy, and Miho. What is the point?

It is very strange being in a large urban area in the centre of Dublin when the streets are full of Christmas decorations and the stores are advertising the usual for presents. It is odd that all the people on the street in Grafton Street, or St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre are part of this culture where less than 25% of those 89% who call themselves Catholic go to Sunday Mass. Most of the people I see daily are not Irish, by the way. I do not have statistics on minorities in Ireland as to religious observance. The vast majority of the youth I see are from Poland, China, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, and other places.

To me, Christmas, as described by Dickens, is in the heart, not in the presents. For those who are not Catholic, nor Christian, Christmas is a time for gathering, having dinner, celebrating something, maybe or maybe nothing. I find it perplexing and disturbing that an entire 75% or more of the Catholic population are living a life separated from God and that the others who are not Catholic or Christian shop anyway. It strikes me as odd that the decorations and sales are there merely for mammon and not for the Babe in the Manger. I have not seen one religious decoration, although I saw an Advent Calendar for sale in a shop with a Hello Kitty theme and chocolate for everyday, which is in opposition to what we had, which were little doors with Scriptural references. No chocolate in Advent in my house.

This coming Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent. I intend to do the Byzantine Fast, which is not hard to do in my situation, but demands attention. That is, no meat on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and no dairy on Tuesday and Thursday. Saturday and Sunday would not be fast days. Part of my fast will be for the thousands I see daily on Johnson Court or Clarendon Street or Duke Street, which remind me so much of the lines of T. S. Eliot: the words applying to London can apply to Dublin.

Unreal City,  60
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.  65
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying “Stetson!
You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!  70
That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men,
Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again!  75
You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!”

Thanks to EWTN for this--stirring the pot

Head Coverings in Church

Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, responded to an inquiry on this subject. While not a formal judgment of the Signatura, it reflects the opinion of the Church's highest canonical official after the Pope. Note in his answer that there is neither a canonical or moral obligation for women to use a head-covering. Even in the case of the Extraordinary Form there is merely "an expectation," whose failure to fulfil does not entail sin.
image of original letter
4 April 2011
Dear ________,
Thank you for your letter postmarked January 5, 2009, regarding the custom of the chapel veil. I offer you my sincere apologies for failing to respond to your letter, in a timely manner. I had placed your letter with some other papers. and have only recently discovered that I never responded to it.
The wearing of a chapel veil for women is not required when women assist at the Holy Mass according to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. It is, however, the expectation that women who assist at the Mass according to the Extraordinary Form cover their heads, as was the practice at the time that the 1962 Missale Romanum was in force. It is not, however, a sin to participate in the Holy Mass according to the Extraordinary Form without a veil.
I wish you an abundant share in the strong graces of the Lenten Season.
Thank you for the assurance of your prayers for me. As a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, I have need of your prayers, now more than ever.
Invoking God's blessing upon you, while confiding your intentions to the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I remain
Yours devotedly in Christ,

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke
Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis
Prefect, Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

Original FAQ from 2004
Canon Law
The 1917 Code of Canon Law. canon 1262, stated,
1. It is desirable that, consistent with ancient discipline, women be separated from men in church.
2. Men, in a church or outside a church, while they are assisting at sacred rites, shall be bare-headed, unless the approved mores of the people or peculiar circumstances of things determine otherwise; women, however, shall have a covered head and be modestly dressed, especially when they approach the table of the Lord.
When the 1983 Code of Canon Law was promulgated this canon was not re-issued; indeed, canon 6, 1, abrogated it, along with every other canon of the 1917 Code not intentionally incorporated into the new legislation.
Canon 6
1. When this Code goes into effect, the following are abrogated:
     (1) the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917;
     (2) other universal or particular laws contrary to the prescriptions of this Code, unless particular laws are otherwise expressly provided for;
     (3) any universal or particular penal laws whatsoever issued by the Apostolic See, unless they are contained in this Code;
     (4) other universal disciplinary laws dealing with a matter which is regulated ex integro by this Code. 
Thus, there is no longer any canonical obligation for women to wear a head-covering, much less the more specific veil.
Moral Law
Given St. Paul's instructions in 1 Cor. 11:3-16 is there a moral obligation for women to wear head-covering, despite the revision of canon law?
Certainly, the moral obligation to dress modestly according to circumstances (e.g. approaching Holy Communion) has not been set aside. Modesty, however, can vary from place to place and time to time. As St. Thomas Aquinas explains, modesty concerns four areas of human behavior,
First, "the movement of the mind towards some excellence, and this is moderated by "humility." The second is the desire of things pertaining to knowledge, and this is moderated by "studiousness" which is opposed to curiosity. The third regards bodily movements and actions, which require to be done becomingly and honestly, whether we act seriously or in play. The fourth regards outward show, for instance in dress and the like" [ST II-II q160, a2]. 
Dress, external behavior, mannerisms, etc. are signs of the person, and become so in the cultural context in which the person lives, and in which it indicates something to others. The Christian conforms to the culture in such matters, unless sin is intrinsically involved (clothing which will have the general effect to tempt the opposite sex). Modesty is humility in dress and mannerisms, an outward sign of the disposition of the inner man. By not standing out the Christian assumes a humble posture toward his neighbors.
Whether men and women sit on opposite sides of the church, men wear a skull-cap, and women a veil, as the Jews of St. Paul's day did, is therefore ultimately a matter of modesty, and thus of custom. St. Paul even alludes to this in the Corinthians passage (v.16). When the "approved mores of the people" (1917 CIC, c1262, 2) change, the Church, desiring to be "all things to all men" (1 Cor. 9:22), can conform to those customs. Only the Magisterium is competent to determine which customs can legitimately be practiced, and where custom leaves off and divine law begins. We are always safe in following the Church, rather than our own judgment, for even if the Church makes a prudential error, it is "bound in heaven" (Mt. 16:13-18).
A Sign of Subordination
Even if wearing head-covering is not a moral obligation, isn't it a fitting sign of the subordination St. Paul speaks of in the passage in Corinthians?
First, lets look at what subordination is. It means to be ordered (directed in an orderly way) toward a particular goal or end, sub (under) some other person's direction. A worker is subordinate to his supervisor, the supervisor to his manager, the manager to the owner, all in order that the company run smoothly to achieve its purpose. As persons, as citizens, as Christians, and in many other categories of existence, worker and supervisor are equals, but in working toward the goal of making the company's product they are not.
Consider the examples St. Paul gives as to why women should be covered.
1 Cor. 11:3  But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and a husband the head of his wife, and God the head of Christ.
1 Cor. 11:8-12   For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; [9] nor was man created for woman, but woman for man; [10] for this reason a woman should have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels. [11]
In Christian marriage the husband is the head of his wife, as Christ is head of the Church. This is also St. Paul's message in Eph. 5:21-33, in which he enunciates the supernatural meaning of Christian marriage as a sacramental sign of Christ's union with the Church. St. Paul then goes on in Corinthians to recall the creation of man and woman, pointing out that woman was taken from man, not vice versa. As Pope John Paul II so clearly taught in his catechesis on Genesis, marriage is not only a Christian sacrament, it is a naturalsacrament of the Communion of Persons within the Trinity. What this tells us is that the equality of persons within a communion does not destroy the hierarchical order of the nature in which it exists. In the divine nature the Father is the head, in the Church it is Christ, and in marriage it is the husband. Indeed, in the Christian order the natural order is perfected, since love becomes, or should become, the motive force of all relations. No doubt this is why St. Paul, in his Ephesians discourse on marriage, begins it by saying, "defer to one another out of reverence for Christ." (Eph 5:21).
Why, then, would the Church drop the practice of such a fitting sign of the natural order? While, it is certainly still true that the husband has the headship in marriage and the family, I can think of several  possible reasons. 
1. Lost significance. As explained above, signs are culture specific. A particular gesture, clothing, expression, conveys a meaning which is widely understood by people of a particular culture. When the culture no longer sees the significance the sign loses its meaning, except to those who have retained the understanding of it. Certainly, the practice of an important sign can re-introduce a particular understanding into a culture, and so an argument can be made for retaining a sign, like women wearing a head covering in church, and teaching its significance. Indeed, this MUST be done in the case of the matter of the sacraments. Rice cakes cannot be used for the Eucharist, even where rice and not wheat is the staple food. The Church must simply teach the meaning of the sacramental sign. The wearing of a veil or other head covering is not a sign of that significance, however, and so when and where it has lost its meaning it can be set aside, as the Church has evidently done.
2. Conflict of meaning. A sign, while remaining valid, may nonetheless suggest a meaning that would be an obstacle for people in a particular culture. Take the case of white vestments. For Western Christians they convey joy and celebration, but in the Far East white connotes mourning and sadness. Should the Church hold onto her custom because of its longevity or conform it to the understanding of Oriental cultures? She chooses to make her liturgical signs understandable in the culture in which they must be "read." In the particular case of head covering, while the truth intended by this sign remains valid, properly understood and in union with other truths, it is easily misconstrued today as a servile subordination of wife to husband or even all women to all men. In the contemporary world, in which the equality of men and women as persons is emphasized, this is a legitimate consideration. We must not use our Christian freedom to hinder souls (1 Cor. 8). Since there is no intrinsic moral obligation to this practice, it can be set aside. As the last canon of the Code of Canon law reminds us, the salvation of souls is the highest law of the Church (salus animarum suprema lex).
3. Liturgical theology. Among the doctrinal truths manifested in the Mass is the hierarchical nature of the Church. The Church, the Mystical Body, is composed of Christ the Head and those who have been baptized into Christ, His members. The visible distinction of offices in the Liturgy, between the ministerial priesthood on one hand and the people on the other, are the sacramental sign of the Mystical Christ, Head and membersWithin that liturgical, sacramental order, except for the fact that those who represent Christ the Head must be male, the natural distinction between the sexes and within marriage is not liturgically significant. In baptism "there is no longer male or female" (Gal. 3:28). Thus, we find that in all areas of the Church's life not requiring a distinction of sex, men and women today participate equally in the Church as baptized persons.
Personal Piety
While it is absolutely clear to me that there is no canonical or moral obligation for women to wear a head-covering in Church, women are certainly free to do so as a matter of personal devotion. They should, however, see it as a sign of subordination to God, as that better suits the liturgical context. Those who wear a covering or veil, and those who don't, should not judge the motives of the other, but leave each woman free in a matter that is clearly not of obligation.

Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STLrevised 28 April 2011

Well... Christ never said apostles would be rich


From an article on the eight worst degrees for return of investment on the education received....Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have? Matthew 19:27

...and if you can get a job in the first place. 

And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28

Religious Studies/Theology

Talk about finding your calling. While devoting your life to the church and dedicating your life to the service of others is laudable, it's not going to leave you with a lot of profit after you earn your degree. Here are three commonly held jobs theological jobs:
Median Salary: $47,957
30-Year Earnings: $2,828,502
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 75%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 22%

Median Salary: $51,127
30-Year Earnings: $3,015,174
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 80%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 24%

Median Salary: $61,811
30-Year Earnings: $3,645,610
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 96%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 29%

  • ...

I hope this ends the myth of Catholic Hispanics keeping the Faith

The wind and the rain in Eire

I am a rational creature. I am not superstitious or sentimental. I do not believe in most popular private revelations which are not approved by the Church. However, being in Ireland has brought something to my attention.

There is something odd about the weather. I noticed it when I flew into Ireland a year ago almost exactly a year ago to the date I shall be leaving.

Now, I grew up in tornado alley, going into the basement because of tornadoes at least seven times in my life in that area. I lived in a town where people died of tornadoes.

I never felt about the winds and gales in America or England as I do here.

Twice, I wanted to go to a rugby game here in Dublin, but the weather was horrid.

In Cobh, the wind and rain comes in almost daily. The fog is so thick there are fog horns and ships frequently have to line up and wait to go out into the Atlantic, waiting for the fog to lift.

I realize that the Green Isle is green because of the rain. But, the daily onslaught of wind and gales in certain areas is said to add to the suicide rate here. There is a connection between mental health and weather, or climate.

But, this is almost as if the constant onslaught of wind and rain is determined to create an atmosphere of sadness and dread.

Also, the weather keeps people inside and interferes with the growth of community. There is a reason why the southern countries seem to have more community than those in the north.

And, this is extreme.

No winter sports here, as in Minnesota or Wisconsin or Alaska or Alberta. No snow, no ice, just wind and rain.

Just wind and rain. Just wondering.