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Wednesday 24 July 2013

from John Adams

“We have not government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” —U.S. President John Adams

A Serious Question for Women

One of my dear friends, a widow from the States, is pursuing the road to perfection. When we see each other once a year, we discuss everything we can in the few days we have to spare in our travels.

This woman, who I shall call Elizabeth, asked me a very excellent and perturbing question recently when we met up.

She said, and this is a paraphrase, "A woman cannot pursue this road to purification and perfection with a man, can she?"

I was taken aback, but she has a point. I do know of two women who have husbands who allow them to pursue perfection in their marriages. The husbands acknowledge that Christ comes first and is the True Bridegroom, and they are there to help themselves and their wives become saints.

My friend was dubious. I do not blame her. Elizabeth is very beautiful and was married twice. Both of her husbands died; one of a heart attack and one of cancer. I knew her second husband, a great Christian man, but not a Catholic. She said, "In my experience, all most men want is sex. I finally realized this, and will not marry again."

Brave and focused woman.

But, the question is real. And, disturbing. To find a male person who would not be jealous of Christ, who does not see that the real purpose of marriage is procreation, and the leading of each other to heaven, is almost impossible.

Many of my young female friends want to marry, but they cannot find holy men. They will settle for nothing less.

Good. A marriage must be based on Christ and the goal of all Catholics-life everlasting.

When Christ is first in a marriage, this means that both partners have a relationship with Christ and with the Church.

I refer you to other posts somewhat connected. And here is one,

Comments welcomed.

Readers, read and weep-the American Church at its worst

I wonder what Jane would think of this...

The Naivete of American Catholics

I have been reading and watching some of the comments coming out of WTD today, and I am astounded at the naivete of Americans who are lay people, clergy, and even bishops.

Noise, yelling, emotional euphoria do not constitute either leadership or religious belief. These are connotative of emotion. That is all.

Many of the young people do not have strong male role models in their immediate families and the Pope provides this. We also have the 21st century danger of the cult of leadership, which is exemplified all over the world and hyped by the media.

Now, I love our Pope, but I am not into rock star presentations. If youth need such media hype to pay attention to the Gospel, I am afraid this is not necessarily a good beginning of conversion, which demands listening to the still small voice of God, and repenting.

Apparently, the American ambassador made a link between the anarchists, waging class warfare in the streets, and the WYD crowds. How incredibly naive.

How stupid.

Anarchists may be demonstrating against Brazilian corruption and the money spent on the Pope's security, but to make a link and to assume these anarchists will become leaders is absurd.

Anarchy hates hierarchies and laws of any kind.  Anarchists are tools of communists and Marxists, who have always waited in the wings until the anarchists have done their jobs of violence, and then stepped in.

I am ashamed at the naivete of at least one bishop. Anarchy is evil, period.

Nothing comes from nothing, except creation from the Hand of God.

These comments are embarrassing and show how out of touch with the real world our leaders really are.

I think some adults are just too fearful to face the truth of our world.

A Prayer Reminder

Fr. Felix Cappello SJ  is the saint we are all praying to for Thomas Peters, at his father's request. Do not forget, please.

Our Lady of Aparecida Day

Just a bit of the sermon by the Pope today at the Shrine to Mary at Aparecida. Timely thoughts...three attitudes he is reminded of today.

1. Hopefulness. The second reading of the Mass presents a dramatic scene: a woman – an image of Mary and the Church – is being pursued by a Dragon – the devil – who wants to devour her child. But the scene is not one of death but of life, because God intervenes and saves the child (cf. Rev 12:13a, 15-16a). How many difficulties are present in the life of every individual, among our people, in our communities; yet as great as these may seem, God never allows us to be overwhelmed by them. In the face of those moments of discouragement we experience in life, in our efforts to evangelize or to embody our faith as parents within the family, I would like to say forcefully: Always know in your heart that God is by your side; he never abandons you! Let us never lose hope! Let us never allow it to die in our hearts! The “dragon”, evil, is present in our history, but it does not have the upper hand. The one with the upper hand is God, and God is our hope! It is true that nowadays, to some extent, everyone, including our young people, feels attracted by the many idols which take the place of God and appear to offer hope: money, success, power, pleasure. Often a growing sense of loneliness and emptiness in the hearts of many people leads them to seek satisfaction in these ephemeral idols. Dear brothers and sisters, let us be lights of hope! Let us maintain a positive outlook on reality. Let us encourage the generosity which is typical of the young and help them to work actively in building a better world. Young people are a powerful engine for the Church and for society. They do not need material things alone; also and above all, they need to have held up to them those non-material values which are the spiritual heart of a people, the memory of a people. In this Shrine, which is part of the memory of Brazil, we can almost read those values: spirituality, generosity, solidarity, perseverance, fraternity, joy; they are values whose deepest root is in the Christian faith.

2. The second attitude: openness to being surprised by God. Anyone who is a man or a woman of hope – the great hope which faith gives us – knows that even in the midst of difficulties God acts and he surprises us. The history of this Shrine is a good example: three fishermen, after a day of catching no fish, found something unexpected in the waters of the ParnaĆ­ba River: an image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Whoever would have thought that the site of a fruitless fishing expedition would become the place where all Brazilians can feel that they are children of one Mother? God always surprises us, like the new wine in the Gospel we have just heard. God always saves the best for us. But he asks us to let ourselves be surprised by his love, to accept his surprises. Let us trust God! Cut off from him, the wine of joy, the wine of hope, runs out. If we draw near to him, if we stay with him, what seems to be cold water, difficulty, sin, is changed into the new wine of friendship with him.

3. The third attitude: living in joy. Dear friends, if we walk in hope, allowing ourselves to be surprised by the new wine which Jesus offers us, we have joy in our hearts and we cannot fail to be witnesses of this joy. Christians are joyful, they are never gloomy. God is at our side. We have a Mother who always intercedes for the life of her children, for us, as Queen Esther did in the first reading (cf Est 5:3). Jesus has shown us that the face of God is that of a loving Father. Sin and death have been defeated. Christians cannot be pessimists! They do not look like someone in constant mourning. If we are truly in love with Christ and if we sense how much he loves us, our heart will “light up” with a joy that spreads to everyone around us. As Benedict XVI said: “the disciple knows that without Christ, there is no light, no hope, no love, no future” (Inaugural Address, Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, Aparecida, 13 May 2007, 3).

Text from page
of the Vatican Radio website 

and, thanks to V for Victory blog

Pope John Paul II's Prayer to Our Lady of Aparecida

Lady Aparecida, a son of yours who belongs to you unreservedly "totus tuus" called by the mysterious plan of Providence to be the Vicar of your Son on earth, wishes to address you at this moment. He recalls with emotion, because of the brown color of this image of yours, another image of yours, the Black Virgin of Jasna Gora. Mother of God and our Mother, protect the Church, the Pope, the bishops, the priests and all the faithful people; welcome under your protecting mantle men and women religious, families, children, young people, and their educations. Health of the sick and Consoler of the afflicted, comfort those who are suffering in body and soul; be the light of those who are seeking Christ, the Redeemer of all; show all people that you are the Mother of our confidence. Queen of Peace and Mirror of Justice, obtain peace for the world, ensure that Brazil and all countries may have lasting peace, that we will always live together as brothers and sisters and as children of God. Our Lady Aparecida, bless all your sons and daughters who pray and sing to you here and elsewhere. Amen.

Comment of The Week

"Man, your blog is good. A fountain of Orthodoxy." 

Makes it all worthwhile....

Another Blog Poem-see more on the tag

The Pool of Fire and Ash
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact.
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!

Janie, Irish lady in her seventies,
elegant in her pale blue linen suit,
sat on her velvet rose chair, swishing

flies, away in the heat of the south.
We spoke of tea, and travel, and love,
which she claimed only lasted six months.

But, I, of long memory, knew better, like
one watching the shores of Ithaca for ships.
The heat reminded me of Mississippi, where

Shards of sun hit the face like ice in mist
in Iowa; but here, in the upper room of
her flat, the heat sank upon us like bedding.

I wanted to correct her views on love, but
being younger, and she so wise and good, I
merely listened. But, her impatience led me

Astray. I should have waited and kept silent.
Put me as a seal upon thy heart, 
as a seal upon thy arm, 

for love is strong as death, 
jealousy as hard as hell, 
the lamps thereof are fire and flames.

But, she seemed to know nothing of death,
fully alive in her confidence that truth makes
love happen, not understanding that some

flee from truth, always, in a habit of self-
delusion, running, running until death.
I listened, and deferred.  So soon

had loved died in the other, that my
head could not absorb the pain
which was in the hidden heart.

So, Janie, passing me a cup of tea,
resembling one of the Moirae, only
beautiful, but inclined to sewing,

gave me the advice of the world,
her world, not mine, as mine is
on the edge always, by the pool

of Mnemosyne, and I learned too
late that one cannot discuss love
with those who live in the pragmatic

and do not know the forests of Logres.

Part Two

For when our fathers were led in Persia, 

the priests that then were worshippers of God 
took privately the fire from the altar, 
and hid it in a valley where there was a deep pit without water, 
and there they kept it safe, But when many years had passed, 
and it pleased God that Nehemias should be sent 

by the king of Persia, 
he sent some of the posterity of those priests that had hid it, 
to seek for the fire: and as they told us, 
they found no fire, but thick water.
Then he bade them draw it up, and bring it to him: 
and the priest Nehemias commanded the sacrifices that were laid on, 
to be sprinkled with the same water, both the wood, 
and the things that were laid upon it.  
And when this was done, and the time came that the sun shone out, 
which before was in a cloud, 
there was a great fire kindled, so that all wondered.

I put my hand in the pool and pulled out
the nephthar of God, for healing, for
purification of the senses, like the pool

of John's Dark Night, nada, nada, nada.
But, the flames came again and again,
lighting the passages of time and memory.

Moving between the dark columns of
Nehemiah's temple, ruined by greed,
the selling of the people down river

as slavery is always the same. But, 
faith triumphed and the wandering stopped.
Still, I am that merry wanderer of the night.

The people applauded the flames 
licking the summer night, soon to
fail, except in beating hearts. Not his,

but why the closed heart, I do not know,
I do not understand those who alone
do not take at least one chance, one

step towards the arms of Morpheus,
So quick bright things come to confusion.
Love cannot grow in the fearful mind,

and certainly not in the timid heart.

Part Three

Be whole, absolved and atoned!
For I now will perform your task.
O blessed be your suffering,
that gave pity's mighty power
and purest wisdom's might
to the timorous fool!

I bring back to you
the holy Spear!

O supreme joy of this miracle!
This that could heal your wound
I see pouring with holy blood
yearning for that kindred fount
which flows and wells within the Grail.
No more shall it be hidden:
uncover the Grail, open t
he shrine!

Blanche Fleur had to wait a long time.
Waiting is old, out of fashion, tedious
for the young, impatient heart. One

can remember a later girl like a
pink flower, not white, hurried
in love and romance. But, those

days of longing fade from the
time of instant passion-no hidden
love, no charms of the chase,

only madness, hurling youth down
a senseless path of disappointment,
but they try, like Parsifal, to find,

seeking in the wrong places, not
having the map in their heads, or
the guide in their hearts. I should be

better, child of Gurnemanz, where
reason meets faith in the northern
spheres. But, like unoffending shadows

I hope all is mended and made part
of the tapestry of dreams, I am better
on the outside, as inside all is damp,

cold and full of error. Still, one 
desires to be a member of a tribe,
or at least pretend to hold the cup

at the fireside, after the battles,
watching the celebrations a little sadly
from a safe nook- how Love fled

No one writes one man loved the pilgrim 

Soul in you, unlike the silent lady 
of the white flower, with virgin eyes.

Some one called it oil-spot strategy.
My job behind the lines. Spilling
and watching the flow of naptha.

Great flames crackled in Jerusalem,
but the fire only lasted a short while.
The people still had to go to war.

But, I am old and full of sleep, the 
orchid has no song for me now.
And, he walks on stone pavements,

his face amid a crowd of stars. 
So goes the wounded king
into the pale night of no healing.

The mind absorbs his image, but
not his likeness...