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Thursday 3 January 2013

Letter to Mothers of Priests and Seminarians

CARDINAL MAURO PIACENZA WRITES TO MOTHERS OF PRIESTS, SEMINARIANS Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy Notes Role of Family in Forming Vocations Ann Schneible ROME, January 3, 2013 ( Writing on the occasion of the solemnity of Mary Mother of God (January 1), Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, addressed a letter to mothers of priests and seminarians. "In welcoming the Eternal Word into her immaculate womb," he wrote, "Mary Most Holy gave birth to the Eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the world… By adhering to God's Will, Mary participated in a unique and unrepeatable way in the mystery of our redemption, thereby becoming the Mother of God, the Gate of Heaven and the Cause of our Joy." Cardinal Piacenza continued: "In a similar way, the entire Church looks with admiration and deep gratitude upon all mothers of priests and of those who, having received this lofty vocation, have embarked upon the path of formation." Cardinal Piacenza noted the role of the family in helping young men to be receptive to the call of the priesthood. In particular, he continued, "the participation given to mothers of priests is quite unique and special. For unique and special are the spiritual consolations which they derive from having carried in the womb one who has become Christ's minister. Indeed, every mother cannot but rejoice in seeing the life of her son not only fulfilled but also clothed with a most exceptional divine favor which embraces and transforms it for all eternity." Even though the separation between a mother and her son is more "radical than any other separation," he continued, "the Church's two thousand years of experience teaches us that when a man is ordained a priest, his mother 'receives' him an a completely new and unexpected way; so much so that she is called to see in the fruit of her own womb a "father" who by God's will is called to generate and accompany a multitude of brothers and sisters to eternal life. Every mother of a priest mysteriously becomes a 'daughter of her son.' Towards him, she may therefore also exercise a new motherhood through the discreet yet extremely efficacious and inestimably precious closeness of prayer, and by offering of her own life for the ministry of her son." "This new 'fatherhood' - for which the Seminarian is prepared, which the priest has been given, and which benefits all God's People - needs to be accompanied by assiduous prayer and personal sacrifice, in order that a priest's free adherence to the divine will may continually be renewed and strengthened, that he may never tire in the battle of faith, and that he may unite his own life ever more completely to the Sacrifice of Christ the Lord." Cardinal Piacenza concludes: "Mothers of priests and seminarians thus represent a true and veritable 'army,' which from earth offers prayers and sacrifice to heaven, and from heaven intercedes in even greater number so that every grace and blessing may be poured out upon the lives of the Church's sacred ministers."

Trust in God

Today a priest in Malta, who has never seen me before, confirmed two aspects of the call of my life which I clearly discerned while praying during those months in the monastery. It is humbling to know that the Holy Spirit moves in His holy priests in order to guide us. I gave the priest absolutely no information, and yet, he read my soul. He knew nothing of my quest in prayer, nor my writing. He spoke purely from the Holy Spirit. I have been told he is a holy priest, although young. He is more orthodox than most. My vocation is my penance for the rest of my life. Imagine being given your vocation as penance. I was so stunned, I had to ask him to repeat what he said.

 Now that I know the big overall plan, I must trust in Divine Providence to work out the details. I do not have the ability to do such. First, I am called to intense daily prayer, specifically contemplative prayer. Contemplative prayer is a combination of struggling with one's humanity, the old man, and daily entering into the Love of God. This means living in strict simplicity, relying completely on Divine Providence and being not conforming. I have known this for a long time but could not see how it fit in the world.

 So far, so good. Allowing God to take one deeper into prayer is usually the call of the contemplative nun, and all of us to a certain extent, as necessary for perfection a la my long series. But, here is the second part of this call of mine.....Hosea 4:6...My people are starving for want of knowledge. This is the real reason God sent me out, as He could have given me strength for the schedule, had it been His Will. I clearly discerned before the Blessed people are starving, feed my lambs, feed my sheep. And, a stranger, a priest in Malta plus a writer, and the Holy Spirit, confirmed these inspirations. I must pray many hours of each day, write, and blog.

God will have to take care of the physical details, but at least now I can stop wasting time looking for the ministries God is not calling me to do. Prayers, please, dear readers. The where and how take great trust in God.

Comedy and Tragedy--for Sarah, four

Aristophanes was making fun of something in The Clouds. His play is the first in the world which is a comedy of ideas. Can you imagine if Aristophanes had not invented this form? In the play, a man places his son in an academy called a "thinkery", the "Phrontisterion"to learn how to think because he is in debt to many creditors. Ah, if we had such schools today. But, I digress. And, the school fails miserably  but that is another discussion.

The point of the comedy was to make fun of the intellectual life of Athens. It would be as if we were writing a play about the Nobel Prize committee. What is the point of comedy? To shine a light on the foibles of humans, on revealing the silliness of some societies in certain areas and to correct by fun.

That this play was not popular at first is obvious. Who wants a social critic in the capitol? But the point of the artist, and in this case, one of the best in the world, is that we must look with love and reality on ourselves in order to better ourselves.

It is not an anti-intellectual play, but criticizes the false use of intellectualism. Also, in the original, it is thought that the Clouds, the deities who are the patrons of thinkers, came in singing, like chorus girls. Hence, the making of this play into a musical.

If we cannot laugh at ourselves, we are doomed to extinction. I always thought the dinosaurs ended their long reign because they could not smile or laugh. But, then, they had no immortal souls. Those of us who are artists must be able to stand back and laugh. Not merely in derision, but in the quiet knowledge that we all fall short of the glory of God.

By the way, in the Genesius production, Plato was added to the philosopher Socrates just for fun.......

Supertradson on the left; 2008
Supertradson second from left as Plato in The Clouds
Supertradson as Plato in The Clouds; 2008

Art and the eternal--for Sarah, three

Supertradson  is on the right

The idea that societies can be secular and survive is a myth. Even the great ancient civilizations, such as Assyria, the Alexandrian Empire, Greece, Rome, China under the emperor, Japan under the emperors, etc., had religion as the cohesive bond of the people.

All civilizations have art, as both an expression of nationalism or empire and as an expression of religious belief.

The civilizations to which I refer had a center of power and money, an army and a religion which bond the people together in a common vision.

Supertradson is on the right

Art comes from vision. Although the artist is the prophet is an society, but only if he is religious, he must speak to a people, a community, who can understand his language, whether that of poetry or painting or sculpture or drama.

Greek drama is still some of the most sublime in the world, revealing the depth of human psychology, growth and death more than perhaps any drama in world history. That we still watch and learn from Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and others is the triumph of a civilization which because it was tied to religion was tied to universal truths.

Only universal truths, the shared natural law and shared dreams of humans are worthy of art.

Supertradson is in the middle

Some individualists want to destroy the vision of what it means to be human. We are not merely animals, but animals with immortal souls.

The role of the artist is to hinge the inspiration involving that immortality with the universal experience of all men and women.

Why are some plays "eternal"? I can watch Seven Against Thebes or the Oresteia, or the Oedipus Cycle endless times, learning something about myself and others each time.

The artist who is in touch with the universal is in touch with his soul.

David Jones wrote of the great break, which he claimed was the First World War, which split the West not only nationally or internationally, but caused the great schisms of imagery and metaphor.

We no longer understand each others language. Why study Gawain if the Chalice of Christ is not important and if purity is no longer a desired virtue?

The artists who want to ignore the universal do so at their own peril. Art, like all work, life anything "techne" has a purpose. The purpose is not merely entertainment but the revealing of the human soul for the purpose of exhilaration and growth.

To see art as merely a means of personal healing or personal engagement with the world is like taking a newborn baby and putting him in a dark room, denying him the experience of others and the world God created. The universal experience of life is not all negative and those who are wounded can decide to break out of the dark room in to the light by looking at their brother and sister artists.

Read, watch, learn, study, pray, make...........create something other than yourself.

That is what Satan does, create things in his own image and likeness and that is death.

Supertradson is on the right

By the way, the Genesius Guild in Illinois in the Quad Cities is the only drama group which uses the traditional masks yearly in the summer stock. My own son has played in Aeschylus.  Sometimes one must celebrate the honor of the human experience in both tragedy and comedy.

Supertradson is on the right
Art explores and celebrates. It helps us understand who we are and where we are going. It is universal and spiritual, if the artist is in touch with his soul.

The Memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus

Today is the memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus. This day celebrates the Name given by the angel from God the Father.

The Word Made Flesh was given a sacred name meaning Saviour. The root is Joshua, the great warrior, strategist, leader, prophet and priest of his people.

 He was a type of Christ. Christ has both a human and sacred name. And, when we love someone, is not that person's name numinous?

 I remember being eighteen and writing the name of my favorite boyfriend over and over in calligraphy. Do we, for various rational and emotional reasons, for reasons of family, not love certain names?

 Love the Name of Jesus. Love Him above all else.

Prayers and Winter in Iowa

Today is my birthday, and the 65 wedding anniversary of my dear parents, who are alive, well, active and quite independent. I ruined my parents anniversary by coming early. I am always early for things, even today. Offer them a prayer and congratulations for being such a good couple, and for the fact that they passed down the Holy Catholic Faith to me.

Please pray for me, as a strange situation has occurred in my life here and it needs a positive resolution. Ah, but what is new?