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Monday 10 December 2012

On Refusing the Ring of Power

This is the most personal and most important post I have ever written.

I have several degrees in different subjects. I finished all my doctoral coursework and examinations for that doctorate at a prestigious university. A moral dilemma where I had to chose something stopped me. I was at the dissertation stage.

The second time, I was writing a new dissertation at another university, when another moral situation caused me to make a decision to start over as I had to do so to avoid a deceit, which , bluntly, I was being encouraged to ignore.

The third time I started over with a yet a third dissertation, I had to stop because of a moral issue in the family.

The fourth time (I am persistent) at another university, with yet another topic, I had to stop in order to choose to follow a call from God, as I finally understood the plan, His Will.

Let me explain. When one is studying theology, and I was for all of these attempts, one is in an academic environment which is highly charged and highly exciting.  This can be true for philosophical studies as well.

When I began to realize that some of the great names I was studying, who are considered Catholic, actually deviated from Church teaching, perhaps in very subtle ways. I had to readjust and, of course, take the teaching of the Church and the WAY THE CHURCH THINKS over my own and others cleverness.

The game was to be part of the academic world and yet be a faithful Catholic at the major universities. The game was to stay one step ahead of the Church in scholarship in order to influence the Church. The game was to have a career as a professor and a scholar.

The problem is this. Academia, even in the best Catholic colleges and universities, really does not care about the Mind of Christ. Academicians care about themselves, and yes, the Truth, but too often the Truth is not explored for itself alone or for the real simplicity of the ages.

One gets sucked into the torrent of peer approval and the fun of debate and the excitement of presenting one's ideas to the world, and, yes, influencing the next generation.

God stopped me four times for the sake of my own soul. I cannot compromise. If I sin, I do it knowingly and  with bloody minded wilfulness. But, I would never compromise the Truth.

Once the Holy Spirit through my own reading would show me the pitfalls of this or that thinker, this or that philosopher, this or that theologian, I would not be able to use that person's faulty thinking in research, nor defend the logical conclusions of their thought.

That is simple. The Catholic Church has given me great minds to read and study. Our heritage is great. Those people are all humans and have some limitations. As long as one recognizes and admits those limitations, one can save one's soul.

However, careers are not made by people who have a habit of seeing the logical consequences of faulty thinking. Careers are made in peer groups which feed each other by keeping certain ideas and schools of thought alive and in the curriculum.

I am grateful even to those who are studying things diametrically opposed to the sublime teaching of the Truth. I am sad that, if they honestly believe some of these ideologies, they may go to hell. I may even try to debate with them to change their hearts and minds. I may pray for them. But, the revelation of their own minds is a blessing for those of us seeking Truth. We need to see the dangers and understand evil to a certain extent. I hope they will see.

However, I am no longer in the heady atmosphere where people want my opinion on great thinkers. I did not have my career in academia, although Ï was a good teacher, loved by some, not all, students.

Those who wanted to work hard and learn how to think were few and far between.

What is the point of this? There are very few honest scholars. They do not know that they have fallen into deceit, but because they are successful, they think they are right. Those who succeed too often fool themselves into thinking they are correct. It is a bit of a Calvinistic way of thinking.

One is only right if one thinks in and with the Church.  St. Paul says, For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that we may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16

Adopting the mind of the Church requires humility.

When I was in the monastery, I took these four "failures"to Christ, Who showed me these were not failures. I had, like Galadriel, passed the test, and will go into the West, metaphorically, and remain Galadriel.

She was tested because she had rebelled and sinned. She passed the test when offered the Ring. I had rebelled and sinned through my intellect in college as a miserable Marxist brat. I have now passed the test, when offered the Ring of Power, four times. Why the four times, I do not know for sure, although I have some ideas. When we sin, we sin against ourselves, our family, our friends and God. One must make restitution  One must prove something to me, or I must figure it out myself. It took a while. Perhaps I am not as intelligent as I think I am, and someone else would have given up after the first trial.

But, each reason for failure was a different one. Each time I had to decide for a moral truth in circumstances which were not the same. In the first case, the safety of students and honour of the institution came first. In the second, academic honesty came first. In the third, my family came first over a career, and in the fourth, humility and the spirituality of simplicity came first. This last time the "no" was completely freeing. One does not have to prove to the world that one is intelligent. One does not have to prove anything. One merely has to serve God, wherever He chooses to use one. God alone judges me. I do not even judge myself.

I could not have gotten to stage four without the other experiences. I can see the pits so many Catholics who are academics or even administration at the high end fall is too easy. The desire to be the most clever is sometimes too great. But, we know who thought he was the most clever, and who failed the test.

Just as God had to ask Peter three times for love, to make up for three denials, so, too, I was asked again and again for my sins. 

Some of my friends did not make it our of the slough of academia. Some have risen above it and made a huge difference to the pursuit of Truth.  Let us hope that those who are compromising see what they are doing, before it is too late. Let us hope that those who have allowed themselves to be deceived do not deceive others, especially their students.

I prefer to remain small and retain myself. 

Desecration in France

 I got this report this morning. This is despicable.  

Samedi après-midi, un marin qui se rendait à la chapelle de la base navale de Toulon pour se recueillir a découvert un triste spectacle. On s'en est pris aux trois grands symboles de la foi catholique :
     - le St Sacrement (tabernacle renversé et brisé, les saintes espèces répandues sur le sol),
     - le baptistère (totalement brisé)
     - et l'ambon (pupitre où repose la Bible). La Bible a été jetée à terre et piétinée.
   Mgr Robert POINARD vicaire général, aumônier national Marine, a réagi sur internet:
 "Il y avait déjà depuis plusieurs semaines des signes avant-coureurs puisque le panneau d'affichage à la porte de la chapelle était régulièrement vidé de ses affiches, arrachées, froissées et jetées à terre. Il faut savoir que cette chapelle reste ouverte nuit et jour car des marins viennent y prier à n'importe quelle heure du jour ou de la nuit.(...) L'intolérance pénètre maintenant à l'intérieur des enceintes militaires : il y a de quoi être vraiment très inquiets.

 Les actes cathophobres sont en train de se multiplier et il est important de le faire savoir.
Trois moyens d'action sont possibles:
1- Comme le demande Mgr POINARD, diffusez cette information à tous vos contacts.
2- Alertez les médias et, surtout, laissez un commentaire sur le site de "Var-Matin" en cliquant ici
3- Montrez aussi votre solidarité avec le vicaire général en lui envoyant un message à:

Saturday afternoon, a sailor who went to the chapel of the Toulon naval base to collect discovered a sad spectacle. We attacked the three symbols of the Catholic faith:
      - The Blessed Sacrament (tabernacle overturned and broken the sacred species scattered on the ground)
      - The baptistery (totally broken)
      - And the ambo (pulpit where rests the Bible). The Bible was thrown to the ground and trampled.
    Bishop Robert Poinard Vicar General, National Marine chaplain, reacted on the Internet:
  "There had already been several weeks since signs display panel to the door of the chapel was regularly emptied of its posters, torn, crumpled and thrown to the ground. Should know that this chapel is open night and day as sailors come to pray at any time of day or night. (...) now enters intolerance within military compounds: there is something to be really worried.
MAKE THIS EVENT odious ... "
  Catholic-phobes acts are now multiplying and it is important to know.
Three approaches are possible:
1 - As requested Bishop Poinard, spread this information to all your contacts.
2 - Alert the media and, most importantly, leave a comment on the site "Var-Matin" by clicking here or

Why no little sin can be ignored...

"Compromise leads to confusion. Confusion to corruption. Corruption to collapse. This is the process involved!" Fr. Bill Casey, CPM (Fathers of Mercy)

Let me unpack this excellent phrase. 

If we compromise anything, like those people who were suggesting after the TLM, (not in Dublin, but another place,) to take an illegal position, my conscience would become confused. One cannot have a keen conscience and muck about.

Two, confusion leads to more sin, like those who do illegal work not declaring income tax and so on. More sin piles on to more sin. Lying, cheating, stealing and so on.....

Three, corruption leads to collapse, which for a person is the loss of the soul and for a Catholic institution, a collapse into heresy and scandal.

Simple, really.

You are Solomon's ivory throne...

Conductus: O maria o felix
O maria   o felix puerpera
mater pia   cuius suxit ubera
qui creavit sidera:   munera
de te fluunt dulcia   
spiritus sancti cratera.
Aqua viva   clausa semper ianua
progressiva   stella non occidua
ficus sed non fatua   rigua
paradisi pascua
balsamus myrtus oliva,
Ioseph spica    humus de qua vipera
per quam sicca   ione perit hedera
sanans anguis vulnera   partica
funda tu davitica
pariens cedrum myrica,
Salomonis   thronus es eburneus
visionis   electrinus urceus
david sitim satians   puteus
tu septenus cereus
donis septenis radians,
Iacob scala   fac me celum scandere
mundi mala   carnem satan fugere.
Tollens eve misere   scandala
pietatis ubere
gratie fove sub ala.

O Mary, O happy childbearer,
holy mother who nursed 
the one who created the stars: gifts
of sweetness flow from you, 
chalice of the holy spirit. 
Living water, flowing through a door
ever shut, star never setting,
fruitful fig tree, watered
pasture of paradise,
balsam, myrtle, olive,
Joseph's ears of corn, earth whence came the worm
by which the dry gourd of Jonah perished,* 
staff that heals the serpent's bites,
you, David's sling,
shrub bearing a cedar;
You are Solomon's ivory throne,
vision's   amber water jar
the well that slakes David's thirst,
you sevenfold waxen light
shining forth with seven gifts,
Jacob's ladder: make me climb the heavens;
make me flee the world's evils, the flesh and Satan.
Removing the obstacles of Eve's misery,
feed us at thy holy breast
under the wings of grace. 
*[Jonah 4:6-8]

And one more for Our Dear Queen this week. Hail to Thee, O Mary, for being the Door to Life.  2002 album La Bele Marie - Songs to the Virgin from 13th-century France.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for the Americas.

I envy the Medieval people their love of Mary in the culture

 Lullay: I saw a swete semly syght 
‘Lulay, lullow, lully, lullay,
 Bewy, bewy, lully, bewy,
 Lully, lullow, lully, lullay,
 Baw, baw, my barne,
 Slepe softly now.’ 
I saw a swete semly syght,
A blisful birde, a blossum bright
That murnyng made and mirth of mange;
A maydin moder, mek and myld,
In credil kep a knaue child
That softly sleep; sche sat and sange.
‘Lullay, lullow, lully, lullay,
Bewy, bewy, lully, bewy,
Lully, lullow, lully, lullay,
Baw, baw, my child,
Sleep softly now.’
I saw a sweet, beautiful sight,
a blissful maiden, a blossom bright,
who mourned and rejoiced together.
A maiden mother, meek and mild,
in a cradle kept her boy child,
who softly slept; she sat and sang.

I discovered this group a long time ago, in 1991 or so. I am a great lover of Medieval music of all sorts and to me, their re-introduction of some of the Marian carols was such a blessing.Somewhere is a box in Illinois, is my copy, along with other Anonymous 4 CDs

In Honour of Our Lady This Week

From An English Ladymass, Anonymous Four

Edi beo thu
Blessed be Thou, Queen of heaven,
comfort of men and bliss of angels,
unblemished mother and pure virgin,
such as no other is in the world.
As for Thee, it is most readily seen
that of all women Thou hast that prize.
My sweet Lady, hear my prayer
and have pity on me, if Thou wilt.
Thou didst ascend like the first dawn
that brings dark night to an end;
from Thee sprang a new light
that has lightened the whole world.
There is no other maid like Thee,
so fair, so beautiful, so ruddy,
so radiant, so bright; sweet Lady, pity me
and have mercy on Thy knight.
O blossom sprung forth from a root,
the Holy Ghost reposed upon Thee;
that was for mankind's salvation

to deliver their soul in exchange for one.
Gracious Lady, gentle and sweet,
I cry to Thee for mercy;
I am Thy man with hand and foot,
in every way I can.
Thou art earth for good seed;
the dew from heaven came down upon Thee;
from Thee sprang forth the blessed fruit —
the Holy Ghost has sown it on Thee here.
Bring us out of the grief and dread
that Eve has wickedly caused us;
Thou shalt lead us into heaven —
right sweet is that same dew.
Mother, full of gracious virtues,
maiden patient and well-taught,

I am in the bonds of Thy love,
and everything draws me to Thee.
Wouldst Thou shield me from the fiend,
as Thou art noble, willing and able;
help me to my life's end
and reconcile me with Thy son.

Translation by Ernest H. Sanders

More here from the Yoolis Night set and others.

Gabriel, fram heven-king
Gabriel, fram heven-king
sent to þe maide sweete,
broute hir blisful tiding
and fair he gan hir greete:
‘Heil be þu, ful of grace ari3t!
For Godes son, þis heven-li3t,
for mannes love
wil man bicome
  and take
fles of þee, maide bri3t,
manken free for to make
of sen and devles mi3t.’
Mildelich him gan andswere
þe milde maide þanne:
‘Wichewise sold ich bere
a child withute manne?’
Þangel hir seid, ‘Ne dred tee nout;
þurw þoligast sal been iwrout
þis ilche þing
warof tiding
ich bringe;
al manken wurth ibout
þurw þine sweet childinge
and ut of pine ibrout.’
Wan þe maiden understood
and þangels wordes herde,
mildelich with milde mood
to þangel hie andswerde:
‘Ure lords þewe maid iwis

ich am, þat heer aboven is.
Anentis me
fulfurthed be
þi sawe
þat ich, sith his wil is,
a maid, withute law,
of moder have þe blis.’
Þangel went awei mid þan
 al ut of hire si3te;
hire womb arise gan
þurw þoligastes mi3te.
in hir wes Crist bilok anon,
sooth God, sooth man in fles and bon,
 and of hir fles
 ibore wes
  at time.
Warþurw us kam good won;
 he bout us ut of pine
and let him for us slon.
Maiden-moder makeles,
 of milce ful ibunde,
bid for us him þat tee ches,
 at wam þu grace funde,
þat he forgive us sen and wrake
and clene of evri gelt us make
 and heven-blis,
 wan ur time is
  to sterve,
us give, for þine sake,
 him so heer for to serve
þat he us to him take.

Gabriel, sent from the king of heaven 
to the sweet maiden, 
brought her happy news 
and greeted her courteously: 
“Hail be thou, full of grace indeed! 
For God’s son, this light of heaven, ! 

And more for listening and meditating............words above.

A Man Who Had a Heart For God

Daniel and David, windows made sometime after or close to 1132. Augsburg Cathedral.

Canterbury Cathedral, shortly after 1174, this window was part of the early restoration after the fire.

Psalm 100
A psalm for David himself. Douay Rheims.

Mercy and judgment I will sing to thee, O Lord: I will sing,
and I will understand in the unspotted way, when thou shalt come to me. I walked in the innocence of my heart, in the midst of my house.
I did not set before my eyes any unjust thing: I hated the workers of iniquities.
The perverse heart did not cleave to me: and the malignant, that turned aside from me, I would not know.
The man that in private detracted his neighbour, him did I persecute. With him that had a proud eye, and an unsatiable heart, I would not eat.
My eyes were upon the faithful of the earth, to sit with me: the man that walked in the perfect way, he served me.
He that worketh pride shall not dwell in the midst of my house: he that speaketh unjust things did not prosper before my eyes.
In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land: that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord.

David in a Medieval manuscript of the Psalms. 

And a Victorian interpretation by Edward Burne-Jones, 1863.

King David

Many young Catholics do not realize that the Church has long honoured those in the Old Testament who were given grace. Unlike us in baptism, which is available to all, some had grace in the ancient times. St. David is considered the person most after the heart of God in the Old Testament.

Here is what Luke writes in Acts 13:22, quoting

 And when he had removed him, he raised them up David to be king: to whom giving testimony, he said: I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to my own heart, who shall do all my wills. DR

God tells Samuel that David is a man who loves and will obey Him. Here are some cross references which push the point. Saul had a disobedient will, but David, although he sinned, did repent and loved God. That is the key; he loved God passionately. This is clear in the Psalms.

1 Samuel 16:13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.

Psalm 89:20 I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him.

Acts 7:46 who enjoyed God's favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.
Acts 13:36 "For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed.

Also, David is a type of Christ. He is priest, king, prophet. He is promised that the Messiah and the greatest king of all would come from his line, and this is Christ, of the House of David.

Indeed, we should honour St. David. The Medievals obviously did.

I trust farmers-real farmers

Exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks found that rural voters accounted for just 14 percent of the turnout in last month's election, with 61 percent of them supporting Republican Mitt Romney and 37 percent backing President Barack Obama. Two-thirds of those rural voters said the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.

The Age-Old Question of Suffering and Our Grief

Why are the people of the Philippines being racked with yet another twist of the hurricane? Why has Japan experienced more earthquakes? Why is there famine in Somalia periodically?

We can understand war as a suffering as it is caused by people. We can understand financial recessions and depressions as well to a certain extent, as caused by people? What we have a hard time understanding are natural disasters such as drought, earthquakes and hurricanes.

Years ago, after Katrina, (and I went down to help for a while but got very ill), then priest, now Bishop Gerhard Wagner, said that the storm was retribution for serious sin. The press had a field day.

But, we must consider that we all and nature as well, suffer the results of Original Sin.

What does this mean? I got cancer. Adam's sin brought illness into the world. Japan had a tsunami. Original Sin destroyed the Divine balance of nature.

Just as we experience concupiscence even after baptism, so too nature is in disarray.

St. Paul states that: For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain, even till now. Romans 8:22 DR.

Like those who suffer from poverty or loneliness or pain of any sort, nature experiences a lack of order.
We cannot imagine the immensity of that First Sin. It was huge enough an event to cause God to become Man and die for our sins, freeing us from the consequences of Original Sin.

The denial of Original Sin is one of the most common heresies in the Church today. It is called in history Pelagianism, the home-grown British heresy very common in Britain today, started by a man named Pelagius in the 5th century. It was condemned in no less than four councils: Carthage from 412-418; Ephesus, 431; )
Orange 529; Trent, 1546.

The main reason people, even some lapsed Catholics do not baptise their children is the belief that all children are naturally good without grace. Pelagianists think that the will can choose good alone without the help of sanctifying grace. They deny concupiscence. They deny the weakening of the will as one of the results of Original Sin.

Nature, too, grieves at the Fall. We cannot imagine a perfect world. We cannot imagine animals at peace and in harmony with humans. We can hardly imagine perfection.

We have Our Lady and Christ to Whom to appeal for insight and knowledge. We have the Church which gives us grace. We shall never see nature at peace. When Christ comes again, it will be at the end of the world.

That we did not witness the earth before the Fall is part of our present grief. But, in heaven, all grief is healed and consoled.

Photos Copywrite© of Mike Hollingshead
except first

And check out this video-this is in Nebraska.