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Sunday 30 December 2012

Yes the new conservatives

Well, at a great party this evening, I met yet another youth of this post-Gen X generation which encourages me. He is the same smart young man like those I met in Ireland whose eyes are open to what is really happening both politically and financially in Europe and America. A glimmer of hope for Malta...I wish the Church would wake up here to the evils of socialism and relativism.

Friendship in Malta

Maltese people are so friendly. I made friends last time I was here and am making new friends. In such a small country, friendship and family form the basis of a cohesive society. I sincerely hope this never changes here, but I am afraid it is. There are so many wonderful Catholics here, generous and noble and loving.

Like all nations, there has to be a basis on national pride and national feeling. Now, the Maltese people have a noble past, especially regarding the winning of the Siege of Malta against foes far greater than themselves.

The nobility of the men has passed down, but I am concerned that the same type of watering down of masculinity which has happened in America and Great Britain, in Eire and in France, is happening here.

This is the emergence of the Peter Pan men. Those men who do not grow up and do not want to take responsibility learn to opt-out at an early age.

Why is another question, but the what is clear. Last year, I noted that Malta is a matriarchy. That is, the women seem to be in control of the families. This is not always the case, but in many families, as I have been told by the men, this is so.

That the new generation of young men may not be inheriting the great genes of the warriors who were victors in the Siege is a growing threat. Watch the upcoming elections. See what happens and how youth vote.

One of my young friends here who is a bright, thinking Catholic said yesterday that his generation does not think. We had a short conversation about the busyness of youth-going here and going there. That these youth have friends is great (the culture is an extrovert culture) but that social life and distractions take them away from prayer and family is sad.

As in Eire, the adult appropriation of the Faith is rare here. That adults sailed on into their middle years in Ireland without making a serious, mature commitment to the Church is happening here. One cannot take for granted that a socialist run country will preserve the Church's teaching in the schools, or in the market-place.

Again, I return to a theme of this blog from day one. All Catholics must learn how to think like Catholics, and not socialist, not Marxists, not relativists.

The future of the culture-war has been lost in the States. I hope it is not lost here in vibrant Malta.

The Theotokos

Tomorrow, starting at Vespers, in the States, it is the Feast of the Theotokos, the Mother of God, the God-bearer. This is my favourite feast day of Mary. That is bore God in her womb changed the world, changed the horror of our loss of the Face of God into the joy of the possibility of seeing and living in the Beatific Vision.

This day also commemorates one of the oldest titles of Mary, granted to her at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Truly God and Truly Man, Christ is her Son. She is His Mother.

The Catholic Byzantines have many beautiful hymns to Mary. Here is one for a small reflection. And, the Vladimir Madonna is my favourite icon.


In You, O Woman, Full of Grace,
the angelic choirs and the human race -
all creation rejoices! All creation rejoices!
O Sanctified Temple, Mystical Paradise and
Glory of Virgins, He, Who is our God, from
before all ages, took flesh from You and became
a child! He made Your womb a throne! A throne
greater than the heavens! In You, O Woman,
Full of Grace, In You, O Woman, Full of Grace,
all creation rejoices, all creation rejoices! All
praise be to You! All praise be to You! All
praise be to you!

Sunday Sermon

Today, it is more important than ever that I shall my Sunday sermon experience. The priest who said the Mass at St. John's Co-Cathedral noted that today, on the Feast of the Holy Family, that parents should make the home a place of  (GET READY FOR THIS) silence and composure.

I could not believe it, but was so delighted with his admonition, that I think I wished I had the computer out taking notes.

The Canon stated that the family must be a place which is conducive to the growth of the Catholic Faith.

Wow. And, this is so true. That, unless the Faith is preserved and encouraged in the family, it will die.

Not only is prayer important, and the sacramental life essential, but the entire atmosphere should allow for reflection.

His ideas fit neatly into the post from earlier today wherein I stressed that the laity must also pursue perfection as well as the religious person. We cannot believe the lies of some of the clergy from the past 50 years, a Siren's call which allowed the laity to be content with a second-class citizenship of holiness. This attitude, so often given in the Confessional,  (not by the excellent priests in Bayswater, by the way, who are great). That priests have encouraged sins, such as contraception, is documented and witnessed by some many of the laity. One cannot be holy and commit mortal sin.

The Canon this morning pointed to this haven of a home of silence and composure. What does this mean in practical terms for us?

One, simplifying life. The kids do not have to do everything.

Two, simplifying life. You do not have to own everything or have the perfect living room or state-of-the-art kitchen.

Three, simplifying life. Mom stays at home and you all take a lower standard of living.

Four, being orthodox in your beliefs; that is, conforming your minds, hearts and souls to the Church.

Five, not having a television, or at least, restricting viewing. We did not have one in my little family and we learned to have times of silence.

Six, why silence? One cannot hear God, nor experience the movements of the Holy Spirit in noise.

Seven, why composure? Anger and hatred, rudeness and lack of manners have no place in the home. The world needs yet more gentlemen and gentle ladies. Composure in a home creates an atmosphere of peace so that children may grow up in respect and love. Noise is not respectful.

That this priest could see the problem is a grace for us and him. Let us all pray how to make our homes places of silence and composure so that the children can learn to hear God and not the noise of the world.

St. John the Baptist went into the desert. So did Christ and St. Paul. Our homes can be "desert homes".

Create a place where holiness and perfection can take root and grow.

New Years Eve

Monday 31st December 2012 at 17:30
Monday 31st December 2012 at 17.30 hrs Te Deum Mass by the Archbishop of Malta Mgr Paul Cremona OP and the Rev Metropolitan Cathedral Chapter.

All the news, even on Drudge

A small victory against the idealism of stealing, which some people call socialism.

In Malta, two

I shall only be here a week. I came for a job interview which did not happen. This is Malta. It is a strange combination of European materialism, where youth talk about things, movies, games, and never ideas (except for some of the seminarians I have met), and a northern Africa culture of "whatever". Sadly, the evils of modern life have undermined so many Catholic ideals here that I doubt whether anyone would say that Malta was Catholic is principles. New elections are looming and the conservatives are concerned that yet another leftist government will take over. Here is a piece from the BBC article on the event.

Parliament will be dissolved on 7 January and new elections are set to be held in early March, Mr Gonzi told journalists. Mr Gonzi, a lawyer by profession, had been in power since 2004. His 2013 budget proposal was defeated after Franco Debono, a member of the ruling Nationalist Party, withdrew his support for the bill. The move was in protest over the government's decision to hand the management of Malta's bus service to a German operator, among other issues. The Nationalist Party has governed Malta since 1987, apart from 1996-1998 when Labour was in power. Mr Gonzi took office in March 2004, just before the small Mediterranean state entered the EU. Four years later, his party won re-election by 0.5% of the votes cast, the slimmest margin in Malta's four-decade history. The nation of 419,000 people gained independence from Britain in 1964.

In Malta

The moon is just past full and orange over Malta as I write this . The sun sets very quickly here and the air cools down too fast for my liking. I was last here almost exactly one year ago. I left in December and I am returning in December. A type of symmetry surrounds this visit, and I am meeting new friends as well as old ones. This time, I hope to see where St. Paul was actually shipwrecked, but the Maltese person who is my host has never been there himself, so we shall see.

When I lived in Malta for a short few months last year (how time flies), I did not see all the great historical sites, although I was fortunate to see many. One of the highlights from last year was the underground cemetery of the Capuchins in Floriana. Only a few times a year do they have open day, and I was there on one of those days. The museum holds treasures from the time of the ancient Maltese people to the present day. The priest who gave the tour last year was an expert in both local and European history. What a treat! The churches in Malta are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. And, as I have a special love for St. John the Baptist, I can hardly wait to revisit the Co-Cathedral in Valletta.

The great masterpiece of Caravaggio, the beheading of John the Baptist is there, as well as one of Caravaggio’s St. Jeromes. Last year, I was here in the autumn and throughout Advent. So, I have missed Christmas again in Malta, but, perhaps next year. I had a great Christmas in London, which is a city I love, even though it has changed so much since I lived there in the 1980s. However, I feel strangely a home in London, whereas Malta is a foreign country despite the Western places, like shops and restaurants. One noticeable change is that inflation has horribly hit the stores and prices of things.

Real Estate is up as well from last year. Another noticeable thing here in Malta, and one may question this, is the feminization of the younger men. I was out latish with a friend and we saw many, many groups of drunken young men in the St. Julian's area. The styles of clothing for men under a certain age are gangsta plus lots of jewellery. It is not stylish and not British, but then Malta is not British any more. One can go all day and not hear English spoken. God makes new doughnuts everyday.

Thoughts on Sunday morning

When I was in the monastery, I was allowed time for reading and personal discernment. I read many books, mostly on the nature of the religious life and the way of perfection. As a person seriously considering and being considered, I had to write notes to Mother Prioress on my progress. We only spoke rarely, but it is the duty of the postulant or seeker to share insights and problems. However, for that order, as explained to me, the Rule of St. Benedict lived daily provides discernment, as well. If one manages to live by the Rule and is inspired by the Holy Spirit the Rule is actually a daily way of examination of conscience which happens immediately, all day long. For me, obedience was not difficult. But, God deals directly with a person under obedience in two ways. One way is directly through the Rule and, in one's superior. The second way of obedience is through one's direct relationship with God especially in deep prayer. The Tyburn order has the great advantage of daily long hours of Adoration, providing time for the postulant to wait on God for insights and direction. Lectio Divina and one's personal reading and to spiritual growth and formation. A lay person seeking this perfection, which we are all called to do, must do. to be continued... By the way, I heard a fantastic sermon this morning which I shall share in the next post.