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Sunday 9 February 2014

Thinking Outside The Establishment Box

When the American and English Catholics decided to either be more American or English than Catholics, we lost the cutting edge. I see more and more the danger of not thinking outside the box. Catholics use to think outside the box, and be Catholics first, rather than Americans or English first, as we were marginalized and especially in these two countries, which are Protestant and have been either, as in the case of the Americans, from the very beginning, or turned so in the Protestant Revolt.

I have told my seminarian friends over and over that the "middle class" mentality has weakened the Church from within.

Ironically, the Catholics have been weakened by this selling out of Catholicism to the larger culture, to the point where Catholic homes no longer reflect the Catholic domestic church. Do not most Catholic houses on the inside look the same as either Protestant or secular homes?

I have written about this quite a bit in the home schooling series.

The problem is this. When Catholics become complacent and want to identify with the establishment in any way shape or form, they lose both the ability to be the salt of the earth, and they lost their salvation, possibly.


To think like a Catholic is not merely to conform to a Christian world view. The Christian world-view is not the Catholic world-view. Let me repeat that: the Christian world-view is not the Catholic world- view.

Catholics, by definition, think in universal terms. Our Church is not a "national" Church. We are not called the Polish, or German or French National Church. We are NOT the American Catholic Church, as the heresy of Americanism was condemned.

To think outside the box of nationalism is to be a Catholic.

Many Americans do not understand my love affair with Europe. Hilaire Belloc rightly said, "Europe is the faith and the faith is Europe.”  But, the overall European Faith was never confined to nationalism. Christendom America is and always has been a Protestant nation. Those who have invested too much time and energy is becoming American, has lost the Catholic identity. Whether the remnant can re-discover that is another question.

It is interesting that the Catholics jumped into home schooling very early on, in the early 1980s. I got married in 1987, and one of the discussions my fiance and I had that year, obviously before we were married, was on my desire to home school. Thankfully, my husband-to-be agreed and was excited about the projects we discussed. 

I saw the rot of the school system from the inside, even teaching at two prestigious universities.

And, I met many other wonderful home schooling parents, who were either Catholic or anti-establishment "free thinkers". In England, where I started home schooling, I did not meet Evangelicals who were home schooling, which was the case in America.

But, something happened, and I have apologized to two young families, as we did not seem to pass down the information on the rot of the schools, which began in the seventies. Now, to come to our defense, there have always been spots where there were good Catholic schools and, of course, NAPCIS has a long list of the newer excellent ones.

But, a discontinuity happened for several reasons. 

First, is that the Baby Boomers, who started home schooling, were busy in their own worlds setting up the alternative domestic churches. Those Baby Boomers who were selling out to the culture at large thought we were weird.  Second, those who insisted on staying in the establishment world, did not want to hear the message of counter-culture. The "Great Lie" of the 1980s was a complex selling out  to wealth and complacency. Even some Catholics sold out to the lie of the "American Dream" or later "The Blair Effect" in England. The Gen-Xers experienced the upturn and the good life. They experienced the peak of prosperity in America and England, and many lost their faith as result. Wealth and social standing became idols, replacing Christ. The feminist lie of women having to be in the workplace and not be stay-at-home moms complicated this process. 

To think outside the box of the establishment is to think like a Catholic. To think like a Catholic is to always think like an immigrant. 

The remnant is made up of those who understand this and will be living to live this.

1 Peter 2:11-12

11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, to refrain yourselves from carnal desires which war against the soul,
12 Having your conversation good among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by the good works, which they shall behold in you, glorify God in the day of visitation.
One has to decide to be a Catholic or to be part of the establishment. One cannot be both. This is what it means to be in the world, but not of the world.

Perfection Series II xx

Monday, 29 April 2013

"Build a cell inside your mind, from which you can never flee."

The title of this post is Catherine's advice on becoming a contemplative in the world.

Although she had great gifts of prayer and mystical experiences, God sent her into the world. Please remember, dear readers, that she was a lay person, a lay person who is a Doctor of the Church.

I have already written about Catherine, the great Doctor of the Church here in the perfection series and in other posts. I repeat a few here below.

Before I do that, I would like to note that out of all the Doctors of the Church, she seems particularly important for our times, and I find myself quoting her more than the others.

If you have not read her Dialogue, stop and do so. Here are some of my back entries on this great saint

08 Feb 2013
I close this section on Catherine of Siena with two notes. First of all, she was a lay person, not a nun or a sister. So those who think the way of perfection is not for us only have to look at her own life. God gives His graces to the ...

01 Feb 2013
Second selection from St. Catherine of Siena on bad priests. Posted by Supertradmum. Because of the news from .... Third selection of message to St. Catherine Siena ... Second selection from St. Catherine of Siena on ba.

01 Feb 2013
Last reference to The Dialogues and other writings of St. Catherine of Siena. Posted by Supertradmum. In some translations of her treatises and Dialogue, the sins referred by Christ regarding His priests point to the fact that if 

08 Feb 2013
Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux and Hildegard of Bingen. I am concentrating on their holiness and some of the writings. The reason a person is declared a Doctor of the Church is sort of like an honorary ...

01 Feb 2013
Christ words in the Dialogues of St. Catherine of Siena on good and bad priests: “You should love them therefore by reason of the virtue and dignity of the Sacrament, and by reason of that very virtue and dignity you should ...

21 Jun 2012
The Delphic Oracle and St. Catherine of Siena have something in common, which is not unusual, being that God works through many means to bring us all to perfection. Garrigou-Lagrange in the post yesterday, was ...

28 Jan 2013
The entrance into the illuminative way, which is the second conversion described by St. Catherine of Siena, Blessed Henry Suso, Tauler, and Father Lallemant, is called by St. John of the Cross the passive purification of the ...
By Batoni, who did my favourite Sacred Heart; thanks to wikimedia

18 Nov 2012
St. Catherine of Siena was a great player in the world, despite or because of her intense interior life. How can we do this, while working or studying, or commuting? Of course, the singing of the seven hours and the silence is ...

18 Jul 2012
Posted by Supertradmum. St. Catherine of Siena's Mystical Marriage. To you, young people, I say: if you hear the Lord's call, do not reject it! Dare to become part of the great movements of holiness which renowned saints have...

30 Jul 2012
Catherine of Siena is quoted by Garrigou-Lagrange. She states, " O cursed pride, based on self-love, how hast thou blinded the eye of their intellect, that while they seem to love themselves and be tender to themselves, they...

23 Feb 2012
It is crucial for the entire world that the Papacy remains independent of any other country or nation. St. Thomas Becket knew this. St. Catherine of Siena knew this, which is why she begged Pope Gregory XI to leave Avignon,

With St. Lawrence

Perfection Series II xix

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Perfection Series continued-Prayer is a Necessity; not a Leisure Activity


It is a wonderful thing to meet a holy priest who has experienced the stages of perfection. Too bad I cannot have him as a spiritual director, but I shall be leaving Ireland soon.

The comfort of not being judged, knowing that God uses various events and people to move us towards Him, and the strength of a man who has encountered God are all priceless.

But, here is the bottom line.

We are loved by God for no other reason than He created us.

Our existence is an act of love.

Our salvation is an act of love.

Our response is prayer. Do we not want to talk to those who love us? Frequently?

Blessed Columba Marmion wrote this:  "It can be established that according to ordinary ways, our progress in divine love practically depends on our life of prayer."

Some commentaries have belittled the life of prayer for the laity. No prayer, no progress.

Marmion writes that "the life of prayer is transforming."

These quotation are from Christ, the Life of the Soul, English translation by "A Nun of Tyburn," Mother Mary St. Thomas, 1922.

The laity have no choice but to pray. And pray frequently. And move into the stages by ASKING for the graces. Do not be sheepish. Do not be afraid. 

There are great saints in the Church and too many lay people think that saints are born, not made.

Long homeschooling series

A reminder that there is long homeschooling series as well. Here are only a few. You can follow the tags on homeschooling and home education.

Mini-Series on Prayer

Thanks to wikimedia commons for painting by Julian Falat, Warsaw
Many months ago, I did a little prayer series. I shall start another series on prayer tomorrow. If you want to review the other prayer posts in the meantime, here is an incomplete list.

Bursting a Bubble

I talked with three friends in the past three months about whether the military would turn on the people of the United States, shoot whoever the government deemed were terrorists or round up people for concentration camps.

I have always personally believed that the military would not rebel against the President of the United States in any orders, but go ahead and fight against either the general populace or those deemed "terrorists".

A military man has recently told me that the army does not teach critical thinking but only obedience, unquestioning. There is oath for the enlisted and the officers in the army.

Here is the oath used for the enlisted personnel.

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

Here is the oath used for the officers.

"I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God." (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)

Notice the phrase "against all enemies, foreign and domestic" and "without any mental reservation or pupose of evasion."

These are oaths not to be broken. 

Sorry to burst bubbles.

Right and Good Part Two

I cannot do justice to this subject but will plunge ahead in order to describe and understand what is good and what is right. If a person is following their well-formed conscience will choose the good which is also what is "right".  Here is the CCC on the conscience:

1795 "Conscience is man's most secret core, and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths" (GS 16).
1796 Conscience is a judgment of reason by which the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act.
1797 For the man who has committed evil, the verdict of his conscience remains a pledge of conversion and of hope.
1798 A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. Everyone must avail himself of the means to form his conscience.
1799 Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or, on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them.
1800 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience.
1801 Conscience can remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgments. Such ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt.
1802 The Word of God is a light for our path. We must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. This is how moral conscience is formed.

A person who chooses what is right is choosing the good, especially if it is a spiritual discernment, for a spiritual good. All of us are given discernment as a gift in confirmation. This is merely the ability to choose with spiritual insight what is good, what is right.

To me, when one has a well-formed conscience, choosing the good would be choosing the right.

To be continued....

Right and Good Part One

I had a great discussion with a friend of mine this morning as to what is "right" and what is "good". Another discussion followed with another person, (both of these friends being men), concerning the same topic. Both are in their mid-forties and both completely disagreed at to what could be determined as "right" and what could be determined as "good".

This question of definitions is important as these words determine our journey to perfection. In fact, if we do not understand definitions, Catholics can be talking about the same words and mean something completely different.

Let me start with a simplified version of Aquinas' definition of the good.

"....corporeal good is whatever contributes to the perfection of the purely animal nature ;
spiritual good is that which perfects the spiritual faculty-knowledge, truth ;
useful good is that which is desired merely as a means to something else; 
the delectable or pleasurable good is any good regarded merely in the light of the pleasure it produces."

Westerners have for centuries used Plato, Aristotle and the Doctors of the Church for definitions of the good. And, of course, the Jews had a definition of good, as we see in the Book of Genesis.

So God created the world "good" as a reflection of Himself, as He is Good.

But, the goodness was marred by Original Sin.  So all the goods listed above were interrupted by sin.

How do we know what is good? The first way we know is from the teachings of the Catholic Church on natural and revealed law. The Hebrew word for good is tobh. The Greek idea of good was much more complicated. But, the idea of righteousness in the Old Testament,  tseh'-dek, is first and foremost, an attribute of God, as some of the Greeks thought "goodness" was as well, particularly the Platonists.

Now, righteousness is connected in the Old Testament with being upright, just, straight, innocent, true, sincere. Also, righteousness meant being in the Will of God. Abraham and Job are described as righteous because they had faith in God despite everything. Faith made gave them all the virtues described above.

Of course, as one sees in St. Paul, in Romans (my favorite epistle), 

Romans 1:17

Douay-Rheims 1899 
17 For the justice of God is revealed therein, from faith unto faith, as it is written: The just man liveth by faith.
This translation uses the word "just" for righteous. To be "just" and again, God is Just, which means He always does and is what is "right". Therefore, one sees an overlap of the idea of right and the idea o good.
When we use our intellect to determine what is good, we also use the cardinal virtue of justice, choosing that which is good for the other, following prudence, which is the virtue which determines that which is approriate and good.
In both instances, the intellect must be used to determine what is good, that which is truthful and that which is appropriate. The more one conforms one's mind to the mind of Christ, the more one is able to develop the virtues necessary to determine the good and the right.
To be continued....