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Thursday 22 August 2013

What I am reading...

Father Z. always has list of what he is reading. Here is mine at this time:

Father Phelim on St. John of the Cross (need to find more stuff of his-finished now)

Dialogues of St. Catherine of Siena, again, third time

Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, again, for the umpteenth time.

Windswept House, first time and it is really boring, cardboard characters and nothing I did not know

None Other Gods, Benson for the third time

Inferno, by Dante, for the umpteenth time classic

An Introduction to Counselling by McLeod-sections on values, ethics and morals to see what the seculars are thinking; and I am concerned about the standards of some so-called charismatic counsellors, so I am checking standards.

The Child in the Church, Montessori, starting that tomorrow, as I am borrowing a rare copy

Dark Night of the Soul, John of the Cross, umpteenth time

Dublin and Irish Collections, on line and will get more tomorrow from another source

Transcripts and on line sources on the trial of King Charles I-fascinating and timely

Deus Caritas Est, third time found here, btw

Paper on Suarez, because I do not have his books with me found here

Lectio Divina, Gospel of Matthew and Numbers (just finished that again)

Histories on line of the architecture and history of Valletta

and other stuff as comes up....

"Democrats have got to shake off the Clinton albatross and find new blood."

Not my words, but of the leftist darling Camille Paglia. Interesting article.


Anonymous comments, as indicated on the side, either good, bad, or indifferent, do not get posted. Sorry. Some have been excellent, such as a comment on the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, which I attended for three years, but rules are rules here for more than one reason.

Small Tour of Dublin-Dutch Billys

I took an architectural and archaeological tour of some areas south of the River Liffey this afternoon, and I shall have three posts on the tour tomorrow or Saturday. The tour guide, Nicki Matthews of the Dublin City Council was fantastic. It included the old monastic areas, Dutch Billys and the Royal College of Surgeons.

More to come later...Sadly most of the Flemish influenced houses have been destroyed. I found this photo on line of a street with some still standing in the 1950s on the north side of the river. The vast majority were destroyed in the 1960s to make room for public housing. Dutch Billys have a fascinating roof structure in a cruciform style of building. Th insides, according to Ms. Matthews, would have been built around a central core, with rooms all ensuite, attached to each other by doors.

One I saw today was 9 Aungier Street, here seen with the double-gabled roof from the back.

For more information on Dutch Billys, see this site, from which all these photos here are. 

Relics of SS. Therese, Louis and Zelie Martin

On this feast day, the celebration of the Queenship of Mary, and for two more daysthe relics of SS. Therese, the Little Flower and her parents are on loan to Whitefriars Street Carmelite Church.

These saints provide very powerful friends and guides for our troubled times. St. Therese herself is the patron of my personal journey through Europe. And, her saintly parents give us a great example of love and fortitude in suffering. As a cancer survivor, I am particularly drawn to Bl. Zelie Martin, who died so young of breast cancer.

I prayed for all my readers, my twitter friends, (and enemies), my e-mail buddies, priests, seminarians and would-be sems.

In the small exhibition in the community center and at the side of the church, one of the most striking items is a Benedictine cope embroidered by Sister Celine, St. Therese's sister.

Remember that Mary was of the House of David herself and married into the House of David, hence a royal house, although depleted.  Hail, Queen of Heaven and Queen of our hearts. Bless us this day, Dear Queen.

Luke 1
26 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
31 Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.
33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
35 And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren:
37 Because no word shall be impossible with God.
38 And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her

On Free Will and Free Love

One really knows something when it is in the head, the heart, and the soul. And, how joyful that knowledge can be for a person who comes to know in the depths of being a truth.

Once in awhile, one has an epiphany which illuminates a mystery of faith one may have not appropriated.

In the last 24 hours, I have had an epiphany---a long unwinding of light, like strings of bright pearls, on the real meaning of freedom.

God gave us free will, which sets us apart from the animals, and is part of how we are made in His Image and Likeness.

We are called, especially those of us who are baptised, to know, to love, to serve God in this world and to be happy with Him in the next, which is the old, but true catechism answer as to why we were created.

Epiphany moment: only free love is real love.  Love which is manipulated or a reward, or given reluctantly, or coerced, is not love. Love which has ANY expectations is not true love.

Love must be the purest act of freedom we can give to another person. And, to God...

I love, but do not expect any love in return. Can you love someone with joy, and let them not love you?

This is what God wants from us. Love without expectations, ... love in the Dark Night.

God loved us like this on Calvary. Sacrificial love expects nothing back. And, it is still freely given, even when one knows it will not be returned. That is real freedom.

But, here is the key. If one loves freely. one MUST allow the other freedom NOT to love in return; that is true sacrificial love-the highest love of all. That type of real love brings joy. This love is the love of God.

That is what God wants of us-free love. And, this is not the same as the sacrificial love of a mother for her child. That is a love tied by flesh and blood.

This free love is Bridal Love.  I adjure you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and the harts of the, fields, that you stir not up, nor make the beloved to awake, till she please. Song of Songs, 2:7 DR

Dark Night of the Soul Part 42

Remember that Judas was chosen to be one of the twelve. He had gifts. He was in the inner circle of Christ's companions. In this ancient drawing, he is in hell with Lucifer, as described by Dante. This is a warning to those of us who might think we are holy, as presumption is one of the sins needed to be purged in the Dark Night.

The goods labelled sensual, moral, supernatural and spiritual need to be examined briefly. Again, Father Phelim's pamphlets help me.

Vanity, or vainglory impede the growth of virtues. But the deep sins of gluttony, drunkenness, luxury, spiritual laziness, sensuality and the lack of penance lead one directly out of the Dark Night. This can happen.

Satan tempts and only vigilance keeps one from falling.

The moral goods also need to be purged. Father Phelim warns against edifying people who do good. He quotes St. John of the Cross,
"Many Christians today accomplish great acts which will profit them nothing for eternal life, because they have not sought in them the glory and honour which belong to God alone."

Harsh words, indeed. One must work entirely out of love for God alone.

If one relies, as Father Phelim notes using John, on the esteem of men and praise or recognition, there will be no recompense in heaven for such good moral works. One must work without praise and in a state of doing one's duty.

The next two categories are the most difficult for many Catholics, especially charismatics. Please note Father Phelim's words here.   The supernatural goods given for the building up of the Body of Christ " not imply holiness in those who exercise them."

God's gifts and charisms are NEVER a sign of holiness or purity of heart.

Frequently, charisms are misused, as Father emphasizes Two things help one in this regard-one, complete detachment from gifts and, two, the reluctance to use them. Father and St. John are clear on these two points.  One need not feel any rejoicing or emotions regarding the use of gifts and most likely, those who are doing so in a showy manner when exhibiting gifts lack holiness.

Lastly, spiritual goods, such as statues, medals, beautiful music and churches, and all manner of Christian art can become idols. One must realize they are there to help our faith and are not substitutes for holiness. I have see much magical thinking with regard to holy things which is dangerous.

The important aspect of spiritual goods is that these build our faith, increase our hope and encourage us in love.

The last warning on the use of goods pertains directly to charismatics and those prone to prayer meetings. St. John of the Cross writes, "We must not be anxious to cling to ceremonial inventions which are not approved by the Church. We must leave the method and manner of saying Mass to the priest whom the Church sets in her place giving him her orders as to how he is to do it."

Father Phelim warns us,  by reminding us that St. John  of the Cross rebukes those who experiment with new methods, "as if they knew more than the Church and the Holy Spirit."  Wow!

To be continued....

Readers, more questions....

Are you having family meetings at least once a week in order to build up trust and communication?

Can you organize your neighborhood for an emergency without relying on public services?

Do you understand that money may be useless?

Are you forming yourself and your children with a strong interior life to withstand economic collapse and isolation?

Do you have family drills for emergencies? You should.

Are you discussing safety, defense, flight plans?

Are you discussing alternative places to live?

Parents, are you forming your children to have independent, Catholic minds and be wise in dangerous situations?

Are you teaching the entire family not to gossip or talk about things which happen at home?

Are you combating the general softness of society by training yourself and your children not to fall into the dullness of sensuality and spiritual torpor?

Are you practicing penances and training your children to do likewise?

And, most importantly, are you learning yourselves to listen daily to God's counsel and teaching your children how to do likewise?

Do you know how to listen to God and reflect on what He is telling you?

Readers, answer these questions tonight with your family or by yourself

In the last great war, the enemy was without. What if the enemy is already within?

One, if the Net went down completely, do you have an alternative way of getting real news, not the television?

Two, do you have access to a land-line and not merely a cell phone?

Three, in the event of a total electronic communications shut down, do you have friends and family around to help?

Four, do you have a short-wave radio?

Do you have weapons?

Do you have first aid kits?

Do you have local leaders you can trust, or are they all in the hands of the central government of your country?

Do you have a local priest who is not a socialist or communist and who is intelligent about the persecution to come?

Are you prepared to move if needed, quickly?

Do you have a network of friends or family who can communicate verbally without phones?

Do you have television, if so get rid of it NOW.

Can you exist in an electronic free zone?

Do you have alternatives to cars, such as bicycles?

Do you have Bibles, catechisms, and rosaries?

Plan for two things-one, a shut down of electronic communications, and two, a shut-down of free movement.

The Doctor of Divine Love and The Dark Night Part 41

Father Phelim lists six categories of goods, as he writes,"which tend to claim the soul's attention and very often fragment and waste its energies. This list follows: temporal goods, natural goods, sensual, moral, supernatural and spiritual.

As Father Phelim states, the soul must transcend all goods in order to focus on God. This first category covers "riches, rank, high offices, titles , status". Father Phelim writes that these are the thorns in the passage of the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. To be greedy is the old sin of idolatry.

The person who is free of such goods, has, as Fr. Phelim lists "great liberty of soul, a clarity of reason, tranquillity, and confidence in God. Not a bad list of virtues to have.

Natural goods, notes Father Phelim, are "bodily beauty, good looks, and comeliness of figure." Also, natural discretion, discernment, and understanding. Of course, these are gifts from God, but one must hold these things lightly in one's hands, as it were.

The evils which result in attachment to these gifts are vanity, presumption and "the lack of esteem for others." What is hard to read, is this phrase from Father, "Some even reach a stage where the things of God are tedious, troublesome and abhorrent."

When one gets to this stage of hating the things of God, one has chosen hell over heaven, sadly.

The great need of a person who wants to break away from such sins is that of detachment.

Detachment allows one to ignore praise, esteem and status and only desire doing what pleases God.

The third category includes sensual  goods, those of the five senses.

Any pleasures which come through the senses do not lead us directly to God. I want to stop here and return to this in the next post.

To be continued...