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Thursday 3 April 2014

Kenyan Bishops' Statement on Vaccinations

Thanks to LifeSite News for this heads-up.

At The Coffee Shop

A person I know was complaining of how several fallen away Catholics she meets regularly at the local coffee shop go on and on about how horrible the Catholic Church is and has been.

I told her on Wednesday that listening to these people was a chance for her to evangelize. She thought about that, but told me that those speaking against the Church had used contraception and one husband had gotten a vasectomy. Yet, this couple was going on and on about all the evil in the Church, especially the evils of the clergy.

Sad, but this woman could not stand up to the group. She felt "ganged up upon" as she told me.

I wish I could have had coffee with her and defended the true Church, the Bride of Christ.

This person also told me that all these people, this coffee group, felt impelled to talk against the Church at almost every meeting.


Obsession indicates troubled souls. I explained to her that many people speak out against the Church as they are angry at themselves, their own lives, their own apostasies. I also explained that until one becomes humble and looks at one's own sins, the tendency is to "project" sins onto another person or group.

Humility brings peace and mercy to the soul, not condemnation and arrogance.

Pray for this Catholic woman, so that she can find a way to speak the truth to these people.

It is sad she is alone in her Faith in the face of this arrogant group of lapsed Catholics.

Patriotism Gone?

Those who know me well, know how much I love Great Britain, especially England. Now, I am not English by birth, but American. My ancestry is both from the Czech Republic and from Luxembourg.

When I first went to England in 1980, I felt immediately I was in my earthly "spiritual home". Of course, having, among other degrees, a specialist Master's Degree in English Literature, with all the credits for a doctorate in English and Irish poetry, I had been studying for years the culture and mindset of the people.

But, that does not explain the love affair with this small island. To feel "at home" is more than understanding literature or a culture. It is fitting into an entire set of unseen, unspoken rules and manners. I knew from the age of fourteen that I had a special connection to England's green and pleasant land in my heart.

How odd that I ended up in the Theology Department at Bristol, teaching there and then moving to London, another place I know and love.

What I sensed last year in England created a sadness in me. From 1980 to 2013, I sensed a falling off of the great love the English had for their own country. Patriotism seemed to be dying, and not with nobility.

Many Catholics may not know that patriotism is one of the minor virtues. To love one's country or a country is to be grateful for freedoms and to have a sense of place.

Knowing that one's life is short and one's real goal is heaven should not minimize the love of country, or the role of duty to one's country.

The youngest among us are growing up without such a love of country, such a connection to place.

Why, I am not sure. Perhaps narcissism destroys patriotism. Perhaps globalism has won the hearts of some young people.

Patriotism is not nationalism. It is not connected to a political party. In the Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas writes this:

"The principles (or origins) of our being and governing are our parents and our country, which have given us birth and nourishment. Consequently man is debtor chiefly to his parents and his country, after God. Wherefore, just as it belongs to religion to give worship to God, so does it belong to "pietas," in the second place, to give worship to one's parents and one's country." 

People ask me why I do not love America. But, I do. However, I am passionate about England in a way I am not about America. England is my adopted country, with all its beauty and even its ugliness. No place this side of heaven is perfect.

But, I hope God allows me to return to the place I call "home". It may be, as some tell me, that I am just more European in general. as I do feel at home in some European countries. I never feel like a tourist in France, or Italy, or Malta, or Ireland, or even Germany. 

I fit in.

It may have to do with the fact that the maternal side of my family held on to European traditions for a long time after coming to America. These traditions were and are Catholic.

Perhaps identifying with Catholicism rather than Protestantism is also identifying with Europe.

Belloc's famous phrase, "Europe is the Faith, and the Faith is Europe", a phrase repeated by both Blessed John Paul II and the Pope Emeritus, resonates in my soul.

I long for the old Catholic Europe, as one cannot long for old Catholic America, as it never was and never will be "Catholic".

The soil I love was Catholic. And, it is Mary's Dowry, England.

America is not Mary's Dowry. How strange that Mary claims England, but she does.

And, I do as well, just a little patch, please.

Heaven is our true home, and those of us in the Church Militant fight daily for the Kingdom of God on earth as well as for our own salvation. But, we fight within a context. 

That context is our country.

Interesting News from Malta

“Help those who kiss the cross (as MPs do when they are sworn in) remember not to go against it,” one of the members proclaimed to the heavens." 

Cordial, but.....

While differences over the ordination of women as priests and bishops, the blessing of homosexual unions in some Anglican communities and questions regarding the ordination of openly gay bishops have challenged Catholic-Anglican unity talks, the dialogues continue both on the local and international level.
"The heads of different Christian churches in the United Kingdom are in constant contact and talk to each other a lot," Baker said. "I think it's no coincidence that actually during her reign, ecumenical dialogue has developed extraordinarily in Britain."
And ecumenical dialogue has experienced a huge set-back with the Queen signing into law the ssm ruling.

Interesting Saints Today

Devotion to Guardian Angels

In a week of synchronicity in conversations, several people have brought up the fact that they did not keep up with a devotion to their guardian angels, despite being either cradle Catholics or long-time converts.

This fact has prompted this post on the necessity and beauty of conversing with one's guardian angle.

Perhaps the most recent expert on guardian angels is St. Padre Pio. Padre Pio saw his guardian angel from youth and noted on several occassions the importance of acknowledging one's guardian.

This great saint noted that the angel of God sent to Christians is a sensitive and obedient creature.

Padre Pio also reminds us to "use" the guardian angel for "chores" which are holy.

For example, I pray to my angel and ask him, (although he is without gender), to go here and there, to inspire someone to convert, to tell someone that she is loved, and so on. The saint writes that the guardian angels want to be used, to be active.

Also, for the lonely, Padre Pio reminds all that one is never alone.

"Do not forget this invisible companion, always present to listen to you; always ready to console you." 

"For people that live alone there is the Guardian Angel." 

"For whomever is alone, there is his Guardian Angel."

As an old woman told me yesterday, she is becoming closer to her guardian angel as she approaches death. I am sure her angel will be by her bedside when she dies.

As for me, I have had a special devotion to my angel(s) for a long time. For some reason, I believe I have two and can tell you the time when a second one joined the other. I do not know why I have now two, but I have had two since 2009. Perhaps, this has to do with the fact that in that year, my son went to seminary for his pre-formation year.

I do not see my guardian angels, but I sense the presence of these heavenly beings, especially at some Masses I have attended. They worship Christ in the Eucharist. I do not know if this is my imagination or not, but these two heavenly beings impress their presence upon me as having color. One, I send on errands of love. The other is always with me. Of course, as angels are spirits and out of time, one cannot judge their interplay with time and distance. But, I know that since 2009, there was a length of time when one was "gone" some place and now is back. I do not understand these things, of course, but trust in God and trust in my angels.

Talk to your guardian angel, and ask him to do things for you.

Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God Love, commits me here, ever this day, be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

As Padre Pio said, it is less expensive than shoes or a stamp to have your angel take a message to someone.

And, he also reminds us that the angels keep us from evil harm and from temptation.

Today, stop and thank your guardian angel for his help. Thank him for his service to you, daily.


The Cold War Warms Up

Second Poem of April

He asks why he is still alive at 91,
why he must wait for the other to
pass on first, as he feels he must

care for the long partner of his long
life. Yet, he is unhappy, with age,
with weakness, with the loss of keen

memory, although his eyesight is near
perfect and his hands strong as when
forty. Still, he sleeps more and wonders

why his life rolls on in familiar grooves.
I cannot teach him, as it is not my place
to instruct the old, and those who have

gone before me in wisdom and strength.
I can only watch and hope that some
spirit of guardianship will grant insight.

Those given at entrance into grace, those
who watch over us, guide us, protect us
do they wait as well in some state of

wondering, or do they share in the secret
of death, the day of death of the beloved
ones for whom they care?  Are they waiting,

or as creatures out of time, do they merely
stand at attention, perfectly content in their
immortality and lack of mortality? These

angels crowd the rooms of the old, I can
feel this presence, this hunger for completion.
God bless this man today, on his birthday

and may God speak softly as to the meaning
of his long life edging towards the shadows.

Poem for April

April proves a month for lovers.
calm couples sitting in cafes, unaware
of those around them, watching, listening
to every word said by that special one.

April brings hope to such lovers, of
warmer days, joyful days of smiles and
inside jokes, the kind which irritate those
on the outside, but who cares?

April seems to jog the memory of youth,
of childhood, when spring days meant
bringing flowers to mum, flowers taken
from the edge of hedgerows, or even the

old neighbor's garden. She knew who picked
her tulips. April means the green blades will
call to the sky for growth, for fullness, and
the heart sings for newness in the air.

But, for some, April lies, and the mind reaches
back, back to some far away memory of love
and forgetfulness. When age settles into a
habit of acceptance, the soul either dies or

turns to rebirth. One make choices about the
past memories of love. One must move on, like
the river breaking out of ice and flowing daily
stronger to the south, singing of life and fertility.

As I move over the bridges, as I watch the
waters rise, and see the water birds returning to
old haunts, I stop and think of other waters, old
pools and even oceans, or seas which carry

memories out, out into unknown places far away.
April opens a door to life, but closes a door to past
hopes and dreams, as green shoots cannot bear lies
and unreality. Only the truth brings life, not deceit,

which only creates a false spring, without flowers,
without chicks, and the bubbling of the riverside.

Thanks to the Anon Well-Wishers

Get blog names, please...thank you.

A Long Winter, Continued

In the next week, temperatures in this area will not reach 60 Fahrenheit in the day and will be in the 30s at night.

For those of us anticipating a warm, flowery Spring, this news creates dismay.

The winter continues....

The Importance of Sources

Teaching for many, many years research skills to college students, I emphasized over and over again, the importance of excellent source material.

Peer reviewed articles make good bibliographies. Primary texts make excellent bibliographies.

Now, too many Catholics are following sources which are not reliable for their information on religion.

Reliable sources must be sought out and not marginal or idiosyncratic sources. The list of reliable sources for a Catholic are the teachings of the Catholic Church, including doctrines, dogmas, and the encyclicals.

Apostolic letters from the popes are reliable sources. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a reliable source, as are older versions of the CCC, such as the Baltimore Catechism.

The approved translations of the Scriptures are reliable, of course, as being the Word of God. In the Catholic Church, we have some choices of approved versions, the most exact being the Catholic version of the Revised Standard Edition. I recommend the Navarre Bible.

One must take care regarding source material. One cannot, for example, use sources, to find truth,  which have been condemned by the Church, such as the writings of the Modernists, or the heretics. Scholars may studied these writings in order to better refute error, but the common reader cannot indulge in reading such.

The same is true with authors from schismatic groups. Many separated writers have departed from the Teaching Magisterium of the Church and many people, especially trads, may not know they are being led astray.

Private revelation which has been condemned must absolutely not be read. Period.

There is a type of sin connected to curiosity which leads people astray and even to hell because of a perceived need to read condemned private revelations.

Be careful online as well. Some readers send me links from groups which are sedevacantism in origin. I do not read these. Readers, do not indulge in reading works by people not in union with the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

Your souls may be in danger. One should not read the works of priests who are denying the papacy of Francis, (Paul Kramer, for example).

Be watchful...there are several popular websites which can lead one astray.

One's safety is within the Catholic Church, only.

The Country of Purgation

Being in the country has not been good for one who is susceptible to asthma--neither is being in the Mississippi River Valley and neither is being in and around Maryville, Missouri.

Why, I do not know. Today, there were fires in the fields next to the farmhouse where I am staying. I bought masks to wear as not only do I have asthma, but I am allergic to smoke. That is one allergy which has been defined.

I am still praying to get back to sea air, which suits me just fine. But, God is allowing this suffering, as well as the complications in my eyes for a reason.

One becomes resigned to suffering after awhile. This resignation is part of the process of purgation. The purification of the soul, imagination, mind, body means that one must be taken to the brink of trust on a daily basis.

Patience comes out of resignation to God's Will, to His mysterious plan, to His perfection.

Humility comes out of patience. One is no longer in control and must give up all.

I am truly thankful for the sorrows which began in earnest on October 31st, 2013,  I know that suffering is a gift for my purification.

Thank you for your prayers, as I know that it is God's Will that I return to Europe. But, this time is not today.

Perhaps soon, but not today.

Thank God

I studied von Balthasar for seven years and finally decided he was a heretic in more way than one. That was a long time ago.

To convince others to break away from the writings of this man is very difficult in academia.

God has saved me from the brink so many times.

Good News

I do not need further surgery. Father Hardon answered my prayers. Readers, thanks so much for prayers.

Pray my eyes continue to heal properly. Be thankful for your eyes, Readers.

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