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Monday 14 October 2013

Romans in Malta

I spent the day with a friend in Rabat. This is the place where both Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI visited the Grotto of St. Paul. Fantastic Roman catacombs and a Roman villa allow one to see the influence of a long Roman occupation of Malta.

Here are a few photos.

There is also an art gallery and museum there which I shall need to visit again. I shall write about that tomorrow.

Too hot to write....

Please note this....

SACRED convergent YEAR
7 July 1952 1 )

As the year drew holy happily toward its end, after that by divine disposition was given to us to solemnly define the dogma of the Assumption body and soul into heaven of the great Mother of God, Virgin Mary, many from all over the world There expressed their vivid exultation, among them were those who did not, in sending thank you letters, begged so earnestly We consacrassimo the entire people of Russia, in distress of the present moment, to the Immaculate Heart of the same Virgin Mary.
This petition came to us extremely welcome, because if Our paternal affection embraces all peoples, especially caters to those that, although for the most part separate historical events from this Apostolic See, yet still retain the Christian name and are in a state that not only are they difficult to hear our voice and know the teachings of the Catholic doctrine, but are pushed with deceptive and pernicious arts to reject even the faith and the name of God

1. constant remembrance in prayer
As soon as we were elevated to the supreme pontificate, our thoughts turned to you, the people who make up a huge, famous in history for glorious deeds, for love of country, for hard work and thrift, for piety towards God and the Virgin Mary.
We never ceased to raise our prayers to God that always help you with His light and His divine help, and grant you all to be able to reach, along with the optimal material prosperity, even that freedom for which each you will be able to protect their human dignity, knowing the teachings of the true religion, and pay the debt to worship God not only in the depths of his own conscience, but also openly, in the exercise of public and private life.
After all you know that our predecessors, whenever he showed them a chance, nothing else had more at heart than to express to their goodwill and to offer you their help. Do you know that the Apostles of the Western Slavs, Saints Cyril and Methodius, who together with the Christian religion brought to the ancestors of those also civilization, they headed quest'alma city, because their apostolic activity was supported by the Romans popes. And while they make their entrance in Rome, our predecessor of happy memory Adriano III 'meets them in great witness of honor, accompanied by the clergy and people " 2 ) and, after approved and praised their work, not only elevates them to the episcopate, but he wants to consecrate himself with the solemn majesty of the sacred rites.

2. In a millennium from the first meetings
As for your ancestors, the Roman pontiffs, whenever circumstances permit it, tried to tighten or strengthen the bonds of friendship with them. Thus in the year 977 Our predecessor of happy memory Benedict VII sent his legates to the prince Jaropolk, brother of the famous Vladimir, and at the same Grand Prince Vladimir, under whose auspices shone for the first time among your people the name and civilization Christians, delegations were sent by our predecessors John XV in 991 and Sylvester II in 999, which was reciprocated by the same kindly Vladimir, who in turn sent messengers to the same Roman pontiffs. And it is noteworthy that at the time when this prince brought these people to the religion of Jesus Christ, the Christian East and West were united under the authority of the Roman Pontiff, as the supreme head of the whole church.
Indeed, not a few years later, in 1075, your prince Isjaslav Iaropolk sent his son to the supreme pontiff Gregory VII, and that Our predecessor of immortal memory, so he wrote to this prince and his august consort: "Your son, while visited the sacred thresholds of the Apostles, came to us, and because he wanted to get that kingdom for Our hand as a gift of Peter, having made ​​profession of allegiance to the same prince of the apostles, requested him with devout supplications, ensuring no doubt that the his request would have been ratified and confirmed by you, if he had the favor and protection of apostolic authority. Since these votes and these requests seemed legitimate, both for your consent and for the devotion of the applicant, we finally have accepted, and we delivered by the Government of St. Peter of your kingdom, and with this intention with this burning desire, that blessed Peter with his intercession with God will guard you, your kingdom, and all your stuff, and you do have that same kingdom in peace and with all honor and glory to the end of your life. .... " 3 )
Also, it is to be noted and taken into consideration that the sum Isidore, Metropolitan of Kiev, in the ecumenical council is Florence, signed the decree which was solemnly sanctioned the union of the Eastern and Western church under the authority of the Roman pontiff, and this throughout his ecclesiastical province, that is, for the entire kingdom of Russia, and that penalty units he, as far as he looked, he remained faithful until the end of his earthly life.

3. Pages admirable generosity and love
And if in the meantime, and as a result, because of an accumulation of adverse circumstances, on the one hand and on the other communications became more difficult, and consequently more difficult union of souls - although until 1448 did not have any documents public declaring your church separated from the Apostolic See - this, however, in general, not be attributed to the Slavic people, and certainly not our predecessors, who always surrounded it with a fatherly love these people, and when it was possible for them took care to support them and to help them in every way.
Let's leave out quite a few other historical documents from which it appears the benevolence of our predecessors towards your nation, but we can not fail to mention briefly what did the Popes Benedict XV and Pius XI, when, after the first European conflict, especially in the southern regions of your home, huge multitudes of men, women, innocent boys and girls were hit by a terrible famine and extreme poverty. They in fact, driven by paternal affection towards your fellow countrymen, sent to these people food, clothing, and money collected by the entire family of Catholics, to meet all those hungry and unhappy, and be able to ease some of their calamity. And they provided our predecessors, according to their ability, not only the physical needs, but also to the spiritual, in fact, you do not pay to raise supplications to God, the Father of mercies and the source of all consolation (cf. 2 Cor 1.3 ), wished they were also held public prayers for your religious condition so upset and disturbed by the deniers and enemies of God, I decided to uproot from souls the faith and the very notion of Divinity. So the Supreme Pontiff Pius XI in 1930 established that on the day of the feast of St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church, "were erected common prayers to God. . . in the Vatican Basilica for the miserable conditions of religion in Russia ', 4 ) and he himself wished to be present, surrounded by a thick and pious multitude of people. Also in the solemn speech consistory exhorted all with these words: "We must pray to Christ. . . Redeemer of the human race, so be restored to peace and freedom to profess one's faith to the unhappy children of Russia. . . and we want according to this intention, that is, for Russia, those prayers are recited which Our Predecessor Leo XIII of happy memory has forced the priests to say with the people after the Holy Mass, the bishops and the regular and secular clergy with care seek to inculcate the above for their loyal or anyone attending the Mass, and this often recall to their memory. " 5 )

4. Impartiality of the Supreme Pontiff
We gladly confirm and renew this exhortation and this command, since the religious situation in this with you is certainly not better, and because we feel towards these people animated by the same genuine love and the same concerns.
At the outbreak of the last long and terrible conflict, we did everything that was in our power, with the word, with the exhortations and action, so that the disagreements were healed through fair and just peace, and so that the people everyone, without distinction of race, would join a friendly and brotherly, and collaborate together to achieve greater prosperity.
Ever, even at that time, came out of our mouth a word that might seem unfair or harsh to a part of the belligerents. We have certainly tried, as you had, any iniquity, and any violation of law, but what we did in order to avoid with all diligence what he could become, though unjustly, due to higher afflictions for oppressed peoples. And when somewhere you did not pressure us because in some way, either verbally or in writing, we approve the war waged against Russia in 1941, we agreed never to do so, as we expressed it openly February 25, 1946, in his speech before the sacred college and all the diplomatic missions accredited to the Holy See. 6 )

5. For the freedom of souls and for justice
When it comes to defending the cause of religion, of truth, of justice and of Christian civilization, certainly not we be silent, to this however have always turned our thoughts and our intentions, namely, that not by force of arms, but with the majesty of the law all people are governed, and each of them, in due possession of civil and religious liberty within the borders of their own country, should be conducted towards harmony, peace and the life of work, for which individual citizens can obtain the necessary things to food, to housing, livelihood and the government of their own family. Our words and our exhortations riguardarono and concern of all nations, and then you, too, that you are always present at our heart, and with which we wish to disasters and alleviate According to our forces.Those who love not the lie but the truth knows that throughout the course of the recent conflict hard We demonstrated impartial toward all belligerents, and what we have often proved with their words and actions, and we understand in Our ardent love all nations, even those whose leaders professed enemies of the Apostolic See, and also those in which the deniers of God fiercely oppose anything that smacks of Christian and divine, and try to erase it from the minds of the citizens. In fact, by the command of Jesus Christ, who gave the whole of the Christian people flock to St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles (cf. Jn 21, 15-17) - of which we are unworthy successor - We love with intense love for all peoples and we wish to procure the earthly prosperity and eternal salvation of everyone. All, therefore, is at war with weapons, both in contention for serious disagreements, we are considered by many as beloved children, and want nothing else, nothing else we ask God in prayer for them, if not their mutual concord , the just and true peace and prosperity increasing. Indeed, if some, because deceived by the lies and slanders, profess openly hostile towards us, We are driven towards them by a greater sympathy and a more ardent affection.

6. Condemnation of error and charity for the erring
No doubt we have condemned and rejected - as required by the duty of our office - the mistakes that proponents of atheistic communism teach and strive to propagate with high damage and ruin of the citizens, but the erring ones, far from rejecting them, we want them to come back to truth and be brought back to the right path. We have indeed brought to light and try these lies, which often presented under a false appearance of truth, precisely because we feed paternal affection towards you and seek your good. For we have the firm belief that you can not derive from these mistakes that enormous damage, since not only take away from your souls that supernatural light and supreme comfort those who come by piety and devotion to God, but also strip you of human dignity and the rightful freedom due to the citizens.

7. The powerful defense of the Mother of God
We know that many of you will retain their Christian faith in that inner sanctuary of conscience, that in no way leave you induce to encourage the enemies of religion, but rather crave profess the Christian teachings, unique and sure foundations of civilized life, not only privately, but if it were possible, as befits a free people, even openly. And we still, with the utmost Our hope and great comfort, that you loved and honored with ardent affection the Virgin Mary Mother of God, and who worshiped his sacred images. It is known that in the same Clemlino a temple was built - now sadly removed from the divine worship - dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary assumed into heaven, and this is a clear testimony of the love that you bring your ancestors and to the great Mother of God
However, we know that can not be less than the hope of salvation where the spirits turn with sincerity and ardent devotion to the Most Holy Mother of God since, while men strive, as wicked and powerful, to uproot from the hearts of citizens of the holy religion and Christian virtue, though satan himself trying to promote by all means fight this sacrilegious according to the judgment of the Apostle: ". . . we have to fight against flesh and blood, but against the princes and powers, against the ruling ofthis dark world and against the spiritual evil. . . "( Eph 6: 12), but if Mary interposes his powerful patronage, the gates of hell will not prevail. In fact, it is the most gracious and powerful Mother of God and of us all, and never has been heard in the world, that anyone has made ​​use of appealing to her, and has not experienced his powerful intercession. Go on, then, as you are used to, to worship with fervent piety, to love passionately and to invoke her with these words, which are familiar to you: "To thee only have been granted, most holy and most pure Mother of God, to see you ever heard ' . (7 )

8. Fervent appeal for peace
We, too, together with you we raise our prayer to it, so that the Christian truth, dignity and support of human coexistence will be strengthened and vigoreggi between the peoples of Russia, and all the tricks of the enemies of religion, and all their errors and their perfidious arts are rejected far from you, so that the public and private morals again conform to the rules of the Gospel, especially to those among you who profess to be Catholic, though deprived of their pastors, resist with fortitude fearless against the assaults of wickedness up to death, so that just freedom which belongs to the human person, to the citizens and to Christians, all returned, as is their right, and first be restored to the church, which has the divine mandate to make disciples of all men in the truth religious and virtues, and finally, so that true peace may shine to your beloved nation and all of humanity, and this peace based on justice and charity direct happily fed by all nations for the common prosperity of the citizens and peoples that comes from mutual harmony of thought.
Is pleased with the benign Mother of our look with benign even to those who organize the ranks of militant atheists and give any boost to their initiatives. Want it illuminated with the light that comes from their minds, and direct with divine grace their hearts to salvation.

9. Consecration of the peoples of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
We, therefore, that more easily Our and your prayers are answered, and to give you a unique certificate of Our special benevolence, as a few years ago we consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mother of God, so now, so very special, consecrate all the peoples of Russia to the Immaculate Heart same, in the sure confidence that with the powerful patronage of the Virgin Mary happily come true as soon as the votes that we, that you, that all good form for a true peace, a fraternal harmony, and the due freedom for all and first of all to the church, so that, through prayer that we lift up together with you and with all Christians, saving the kingdom of Christ, who is "a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace ", 8) in every part of the earth triumphs and consolidate stable.
And with humble prayer pray the same merciful mother Mary, why assist each of you in these disasters and get to her divine Son to your minds the light that comes from heaven, and implore for your souls that virtue and the fortress, so that, sustained by divine grace, can successfully overcome all ungodliness and error.
Rome, at Saint Peter's, 7 July 1952, the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius, the fourteenth year of Our Pontificate.

1 ) PIUS PP. XII, Epist. Exhortation. Sacred convergent year universae Russorum gentis Immaculato Mariae de Cordi consecratione, [Ad Universos Russiae Populos], 7 Iulii 1952: AAS 44 (1952), p. 505-511.
2 ) LEO XIII, Epist. enc. Grande munus , 30 sept.1880: Acta Leonis XIII , II, p. 129; EE 3.
3 ) gregorii Registrum VII, 1, 2, n. 74: MGH Epist. select. II, I, p. 236.
4 ) AAS 22 (1930), p. 300.
5 ) AAS 22 (1930), p. 301.
6 ) cf. AAS 38 (1946), p. 154.
7 ) Acathistus Festi Patrocinii SS. Of Genitricis: Kondak 3.

8 ) Praef. festo in Iesu Christi Regis.

A Brief Thought

God grants miracles. We should ask for them. Father Z......

I need a few. Please pray for me.

Simplicity, Two

One of the inlaid tombs in the floor of St. John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta

To finish this description of simplicity, I shall add two more points.

Six, to become simple, allow God to show you the smallest imperfections of your being, as humility leads to simplicity.

Seven, to become simple, think now and then about death, your own death. Thinking of one's eternal destiny instantly simplifies life. In the long run, those trinkets on the mantle piece, or going to a special store for one's favorite chocolate, or spending too much time with cell phone apps, or computer games, or browsing the Net, are all activities and goals which will complicate one's life, rather than bringing simplicity. These things are really not that important. They distract us from prayer and from reflection.

I have now lived several weeks without a cell phone. I do not miss it. I can use skype if I need to, or a friend's land line for really, really important calls.

I do not miss it. The Net was down for over 20 hours this past week, and I did not miss it.

Simplify now, as this is part of the purification of the senses and the spirit. Where one spends eternity may be determined by how much one simplifies one's busy life.

Also, teach your children to become reflective. When they come home from school, after snack time, make them spend 20-30 minutes in their rooms in silence, thinking about their day.

This creates the beginnings of simplicity and purification of the mind, heart and soul. After a while, the children will be able to listen to the still, small voice of God, which is the goal of simplicity.

Reflection and examination of conscience daily lead to greater simplicity.


Someone asked me what simplicity actually was...

Can I list a few things to at least describe simplicity?

Here is a description, rather than a definition...

One, eat less and spend less than you actually are able to do. This is the meaning of temperance.
If one chooses less, one is denying one's appetites and inordinate desires.

Two, dress so as to not draw attention to yourself. Simplicity leads to modesty. Drawing attention to one's self, obviously, is not a sign of humility.

Three, simplicity may be revealed in one's house. Again, one rarely needs all the things one gathers. Too many people buy for the sake of buying, almost as if shopping is for entertainment rather for getting needs.

Four, simplicity in speech means not speaking of other people's business, not complaining.

Five, simplicity in mind means not living either in the past, nor in the future, but only in the present.

Luke 12:27-40
27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these.
28 Now if God clothe in this manner the grass that is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more you, O ye of little faith?
29 And seek not you what you shall eat, or what you shall drink: and be not lifted up on high.
30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek. But your Father knoweth that you have need of these things.
31 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.
32 Fear not, little flock, for it hath pleased your Father to give you a kingdom.
33 Sell what you possess and give alms. Make to yourselves bags which grow not old, a treasure in heaven which faileth not: where no thief approacheth, nor moth corrupteth.
34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

To be continued....

An award for Snowden

Tout Est Grace

A reader made the connection between all is gift and all is grace, the famous phrase from the writings of St. Therese the Little Flower.

Tout est grace in Therese's writings point to three elements of her spirituality.

First, the entire dependence of a person on God. This is the relationship of the child to the Father, the trusting servant to Providence. Therese herself, as an anxious and nervous child, had to learn this, but because of her close relationship with her father, this became a reality in her relationship with God. Trusting brings an openness to God and gives a person great freedom.

Second, the idea of complete dependence on God led to an understanding of giving all to Jesus as His follower. Her response to her vocation to Carmel was an acceptance of the call of Christ to be a bride. One can see the movement of a person recognizing the Indwelling of the Trinity, having a relationship with God the Father, and then, Christ, His Son. The all is grace here is the complete trust of following Christ into the unknown.

Third, the unity of this saint with the Holy Spirit would bring a near completion of this conception of  "all is grace".  Through intense suffering and death of the ego, Therese went through the purification of the senses and spirit into the state of Illumination, moving very quickly into the state of Contemplation and Union.  All is grace would describe one's entire life at that point.

Now, realize that one must work hard to get to these stages. Hard work which most people do not want to do....

Tout est grace.