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Tuesday 19 August 2014

Hand in Your Man Card Three

I did not expect the feedback about this subject.

One reader gave good advice for all husbands with have married into Man-Eating families, or men considering marrying into such a family.

First of all, do not marry into one of those families.

Second, if you have, take your family and move away from the family a.s.a.p.

Third, pray and fast, fast and pray.

Four, move away farther.

More later....

Father Z asks for prayers for the Pope's family

Hand in Your Man Card, Dude--Two

Having received amazing feedback on the first post with this title, I am sharing some of the insights from various readers, some of whom ask me not to publish their comments. But, I can share general input.

One, there are many men who married or married into families with "Man-Eaters". These men struggle with the balance of loving their wives and having to deal with sisters-in-laws and cousins who basically hate men.

Why has this happened?

Two, some men's wives "wake-up" and either move away from families, see them less or totally drop those who are attempting to undermine the marriage. Yes, that is what it is. These families see the husbands as threats to the Man-Eater Kingdoms.

Three, some wives suffer watching their husbands deal with this in the husband's families. In some cases, the M-E syndrome is inherited through certain ethnic groups, such as the Italians or Irish. Where there have been matriarchies in cultures, there seems to be Man Eaters.

Four, only God and the power of the Holy Spirit can heal, even deliver, these women from such hatreds. These feelings are connected to the rebelliousness of modern women and to ancient sins of witchcraft and disobedience.

Five, some men have said they did not know the families were going to demand handing in the man card until after the marriage.

Why did that happen? Where was the man's discernment?

Six, contraception and abortion are connected to the Man-Eater syndrome.

Seven, these men do not know what to do.

Well, when in doubt, go to your local priest, get a spiritual director, pray and fast.

I did not realize how common this syndrome was across generational lines. I thought it was a relatively new phenomenon. Not so, I am finding out.

I come from a family of dominant men and obedient wives. The men in the family on both sides definitely were and are in charge. None of my friends are the type to demand the emasculation of their husbands. On the contrary, most of my married friends and cousins, and so forth, support their husbands, sacrifice for them, and are excellent wives.

 One cannot underestimate the sins which are connected to the Man-Eater syndrome. I shall pray for those who ask for prayers and pray for young men not to marry such women. These women break up families on purpose.

maybe, to be continued...

Perfection Series IV: St. Bernard of Clairvaux Again in Part Eight

Those readers who have been following this blog know that St. Bernard is, after Our Lord and Our Lady, my favorite saint. Many, many posts are on his thoughts, sermons, prayers on this blog. His feast day is tomorrow.

In honor of him, I share this selection from this great Doctor of the Church. In his first sermon on the Song of Songs, St. Bernard shows that he understands first-hand the steps towards perfection.

But there is that other song, which, by its unique dignity and sweetness, excels all those I have mentioned and any others there might be; hence by every right do I acclaim it as the Song of Songs. It stands at a point where all the others culminate. Only the touch of the Spirit can inspire a song like this, and only personal experience can unfold its meaning. Let those who are versed in the mystery revel in it; let all others burn with desire rather to attain to this experience than merely to learn about it. For it is a melody that resound abroad by the very music of the heart, not a trilling on the lips but an inward pulsing of delight, a harmony not of voices but of wills. it is a tune you will not hear in the streets, these notes do not sound where crowds assemble; only the singer hears it and the one to whom he sings-the lover and the beloved. It is preeminently a marriage song telling of chaste souls in loving embrace, of their wills in sweet accord, of the mutual exchange of the heart's affection.

In this passage, from Sermon Four, Bernard refers to the illumined senses, which have been purified, and are now operating in grace.
The things we speak of are divine, totally unknown except to those who have experienced them. While still in this mortal body, while still living by faith, while the content of the clear interior light is still not made clear, we can, in part, still contemplate the pure truth. Any one of us who has been given this gift from above may make his own the words of St. Paul: "Now I know in part;" and: 'We know in part and in part we prophesy." But when the spirit is ravished out of itself and granted a vision of God that suddenly shines into the mind with the swiftness of a lightning flash, immediately, but whence I know not, images of earthly thin fill the imagination, either as an aid to understanding or to temper the intensity of the divine light. So well-adapted are they to the divinely illuminated senses, that in their shadow the utterly pure and brilliant radiance of the truth is rendered more bearable to the mind and more capable of being communicated to others. My opinion is that they are formed in our imaginations by the inspirations of the holy angels, just as on the other hand there is no doubt that evil suggestions of an opposite nature are forced upon us by the bad angels.

People ask me how one can enter into these states while being busy at work, in the home.

One hour a day of prayer can be set aside by all people. That would be a daily practice necessary for all who have been baptized.

Bernard states this about the love perceived in Illumination. The senses, the affections have been changed in order to accept the love of God.

This bond is stronger even than nature's firm bond between parents and children. 'For this', it says in the Gospel, 'a man will leave his father and his mother and cleave to his bride.' You see how strong this feeling is between bride and bridegroom-it is stronger not only than other affections, but even than itself. Sermon 83

to be continued...

Perfection Series IV: Part Seven: Simple Signs of Illumination

Garrigou-Lagrange points to three characteristics of a person in the Illuminative State, a person who has gone through the Dark Night of the Senses and Spirit. Of course, the freeing of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the life of the virtues point to a person living in the Illuminative State.

I want to enlarge on his points.

In such a life the soul loves God, no longer only "with its whole heart" in the midst of sensible consolations, but "with all its soul," with all its activities, not yet however "with all its strength," as will happen in the night of the spirit, nor as yet "with all its mind," for the soul is not yet established in this superior region. That it may be established there, the passive purification of the higher part of the soul will be needed, a purification that brings about the disappearance of all the spiritual or intellectual pride which still mingles in the facility for prayer and action, which we have just mentioned. The soul has still a long road to travel, like Elias who had to walk forty days and forty nights even to Mt. Horeb; but the soul grows, its virtues develop and become solid virtues, the expression of a love of God and souls, which is not only affective, but effective or efficacious.

One, the heart has been totally renewed and is centered on God Alone. No other attachments get in the way of God, His Will, His Providence.

But, beyond that, the soul, involving the intellect, memory, understanding and will, is focused totally on God. These two characteristic traits were achieved through the intense suffering of the Dark Night.

Only in the Illuminative State is the soul strengthened by the unleashing of the virtues and the Gifts. The mind is then taken over by the Holy Spirit, the mind which has been purified in the Dark Night of the spirit.

As the soul walk on, God shows His Love to the lowly, humble, purified person. Such is the second conversion referred to in other posts, and such is the beginning of the Illuminative State.

Have you ever seen a person like this? Totally focused on God, this person moves in the virtues. The soul avoids and perhaps does not commit even venial sins. She is free to love and love she does.

She radiates joy and love to all she meets. And, in her presence, evil cannot abide. In fact, evil sees the light of those in this state.

I am thinking of one young person I know like this. She is only 35. But, she has suffered and become humble. She was re-coverted to Catholicism after years of intellectual pride and error.

She is an example of the Illuminative State and God gives her love and infused knowledge. She works in a simple store and she is married. She and her husband live in Ireland. She will never be able to have children, and this is her cross. The fact that adoption costs about 20k Euros means that she and her husband will be childless, something they did not expect to happen in their excellent Catholic marriage.

When she goes to Holy Communion, she is in another world after reception. But, few noticed her deep goodness.

I have been privileged to meet her.

The virtues are natural to her and when she speaks of Christ, one knows she is one of His brides.

With her whole heart, and mind and soul, she serves Christ and others.

May God continue to bless her and her husband.

to be continued....

Perfection Series IV: Part Six; St. Augustine And Persecution

Garrigou-Lagrange refered to Augustine's Sermon on the Mount in his section on the Beatitudes, but before I had read the footnotes, I was reading some of Augustine's sermons and came across it myself. I have also been dipping into The Confessions again as well, and did not realize until I have been re-reading it after so many years how much Augustine has to tell us of the way of perfection in an immediate manner.

I love synchronicity. I had read this section in Garrigou-Lagrange and shared some of this with you almost, if not, two years ago, but the bringing about of the insights as to the reality of their meaning had to "sit" in me for awhile.

Here is the Dominican's footnote. He uses this sermon extensively in his section on the Illuminative State

26. St. Augustine, In sermonem Domini in monte (Matt. 5). De quantitate animae, I, chap. 33; The Confessions, Bk. IX, chap. 10; Soliloquia, I, chaps. 1, 12 f.
But, the topic of this post has to do with Augustine on persecution and the stages of holiness.

In Sermon 96, the great Doctor of the Church preaches on persecution, a reality in his day and the need for holiness.

As in the City of God, Augustine in this sermons talks about two worlds, the world of the good and the world of the bad. God created the world good, but men created the bad world.

He states that man made the world bad and Christ came and made it good. But, the world persecutes the world of Christ.

We see this daily. The main thrust of this sermon is on the renunciation of self, which happens in the Dark Night. Augustine points out that only the person who has already picked up his cross and is following Christ can face martyrdom.

The Church is the world reconciled to Christ and this is the Church which is persecuted by those who choose evil in the world.

What has to do with the Illuminative State? Those who have entered this level of holiness willingly accept the cross which Christ has given, in joy. Those in the Illuminative State do the work of God and not the work of their egos.

A true martyr dies for Christ, not for himself. A true martyr dies for the Church, the Pope, the redeemed world of Christ, which is His Church.

Only those who in some way have already died to self can face the ultimate test of the renunciation of the body, and the likely pain involved. The Illumination of the mind, the senses, the heart, the soul, the intellect allow one to freely choose, in joy, death.

In Sermon 296, Augustine tells his congregation to have patience, to grow in patience. This patience is connected to the Will of God.  He actually refers to the capture of Rome in this sermon. Augustine is preaching in a great time of persecution and diaspora.  He says, "What Christ is guarding for you, can the Goth take away from you?"

This is going to become one of my pet phrases. Die to self and you will be able to die for Christ. Allow God to bring you into the state of Light which will overcome any persecution.

Augustine notes that although it seems like the wicked prosper, in reality God is holding back correction because of His Just Wrath.

Those who have the Eyes of Christ, those who have put on the Mind of Christ, will withstand persecution to share in Christ's Glory.

Out of the Dark Night, comes such Light full of the virtues and graces to do the Will of God in the world.

The book I am using for these is St. Augustine, Essential Sermons, translated by Edmund Hill.

to be continued....

Perfection Series IV: Part Five; St. Augustine on The Beatitudes

Recalling Garrigou-Lagrange's dividing of the Beatitudes as seen in the previous posts, one can relate to St. Augustine's great sermon on the Sermon on the Mount. One can read the entire sermon here. The first one I have chosen is still one of the Beatitudes of the purgation of the Dark Night. One is stripped of self in the cleansing of the spirit. St. Augustine, as we shall see in the section on the Unitive State, also divides up the Beatitudes according to the workings of the Holy Spirit in a person.

The second and third one chosen refers to the Illuminative State, wherein one is working for God. When one receives humility, one understands the mercy of God in one's life. When one lives in a mourning, one waits for the fullness of the love of God to the extent that one can be open to it on earth. The work of justice and mercy pour out of one when one is in the Illuminative State, working for God and not for one's self.

5. “Blessed are they that mourn:21 for they shall be comforted.” Mourning is sorrow arising from the loss of things held dear; but those who are converted to God lose those things which they were accustomed to embrace as dear in this world: for they do not rejoice in those things in which they formerly rejoiced; and until the love of eternal things be in them, they are wounded by some measure of grief. Therefore they will be comforted by the Holy Spirit, who on this account chiefly is called the Paraclete, i.e. the Comforter, in order that, while losing the temporal joy, they may enjoy to the full that which is eternal.22

6. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Now He calls those parties, lovers of a true and indestructible good. They will therefore be filled with that food of which the Lord Himself says, “My meat is to do the will of my Father,” which is righteousness; and with that water, of which whosoever “drinketh,” as he also says, it “shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.” 23

7. “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”24 He says that they are blessed who relieve the miserable, for it is paid back to them in such a way that they are freed from misery. 

I would think that one in the Illuminative State has some assurance of the coming union with God. Then the rest of the Beatitudes come into reality, the Beatitudes of Contemplation and Union, but I shall hold off on those until I have finished this part of this fourth series on the Illuminative State.
to be continued...

Good Stuff

1. Bishop Raymond L. Burke - On the Dignity of Human Life and Civic Responsibility
On 8 Jan 2004 Bishop Raymond L. Burke of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, published a pastoral letter to Catholics in his Diocese on their political responsibility in upholding the value of human life. The Bishop also issued a canonical notification that Catholic lawmakers who continue to support procured abortion or euthanasia may not receive Holy Communion. See also Bishop Burke's Notification.
2. Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. - How to Tell a Duck From a Fox
In his weekly column (14 April 2004) for the Denver Catholic Register, Archbishop Chaput warns Catholic voters that not all politicians claiming to be Catholic, act like Catholics in office, particularly in legislating against human life.

3. Bishop Samuel J. Aquila - 3rd Sunday of Easter, April 25, 2004
In view of Catholic politicians claiming to believe one thing while publicly supporting another, Bishop Aquila, of Fargo, North Dakota, presents the Church's teaching on the proper relationship between our faith and professional life.
4. Most Reverend Michael J. Sheridan - On the Duties of Catholic Politicians and Voters
In a Pastoral Letter to his Diocese (1 May 2004), Bishop Sheridan of Colorado Springs clearly states that not only Catholic politicians who advocate abortion, illicit stem cell research, euthanasia, and/or homosexual marriage, but those who vote for them, "jeopardize their salvation" and may not receive Holy Communion until they have repented of their sin and confessed it in the Sacrament of Penance.

5. Bishop Thomas Wenski - Politicians and Communion
Bishop Wenski, the coadjutor bishop of Orlando Florida, has published a pastoral statement (3 May 2004) in which he compares the position of some Catholic politicians, (personally opposed to abortion, but don't want to impose their views on others,) to the stance of Pontius Pilate, who was personally opposed to Christ's crucifixion.
6. The Most Reverend John J. Myers - A Time for Honesty
In a Pastoral Statement, printed in The Catholic Advocate (5 May 2004), the archdiocesan newspaper, Archbishop John Myers of Newark, wrote, "That some Catholics, who claim to believe what the Church believes, are willing to allow others to continue directly to kill the innocent is a grave scandal." Covered in his Statement were the personal and communal aspects of faith, the correct development of conscience and the nature of dissent, the meaning and purpose of the Eucharist, the dignity of human life from conception to natural death, and the grave injustice of abortion.

7. Most Reverend John Vlasny - Public Dissenters Should Themselves Refrain From Communion
In the 6 May 2004 issue of the Catholic Sentinel, Archbishop Vlasny, of the Portland, Oregon, addressed the problem of "reception of Holy Communion by those who stand in public opposition to church teaching" on abortion and other moral issues. They should themselves refrain from receiving Communion, rather than approaching the altar, since they are not living in communion with the Church.

8. Most Reverend Elden F. Curtiss - The Candidacy of John Kerry: A Dilemma for Catholics
In a pastoral letter of 7 May 2004, Archbishop Curtiss refuted the specious argument that a Catholic politician may have personal moral beliefs based on Church teaching, and yet support legislation directly to the contrary, as if that were required by the "separation of Church and State."
9. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick - If the World Loves You
In a statement dated 13 May 2004, Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington DC, demonstrates the impropriety of "pro-choice" Catholic politicians receiving Holy Communion, while placing the responsibility on them not to approach the Sacrament.
10. Cardinal Dulles on Communion and Pro-Abortion Politicians
Cardinal Dulles, Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham University, shared with ZENIT what important steps need to be taken to defend human life, protect the sacraments, uphold the teachings of the Church and respond to pro-abortion politicians.
11. Most Reverends John F. Donoghue, Robert J. Baker, and Peter J. Jugis - Worthy to Receive the Lamb: Catholics in Political Life and the Reception of Holy Communion
On 4 August 2004, the Archbishop of Atlanta and the Bishops of Charleston and Charlotte declared that
"Catholics serving in public life espousing positions contrary to the teaching of the Church on the sanctity and inviolability of human life, especially those running for or elected to public office, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in any Catholic church within our jurisdictions."
12. Bishop Robert J. Carlson - The Responsibility To Have a Well Informed Faith Life
In a recent bulletin to his diocese (August 2004), the Bishop of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, declared that "o
pposition to abortion binds every Catholic under pain of mortal sin and admits of no exceptions." Catholics need to have their consciences formed not by popular opinion or an article in a newsmagazine, but by Scripture and the teaching of the Church.
13. Most Reverend John F. Donoghue - On Conscientious Voting
In a Letter of 16 September 2004, to the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Archbishop Donoghue urged all Catholics, to vote their conscience in the General Election, and in all elections, and to form their conscience in light of the Word of God. In particular, there must be no formal cooperation with evil, by voting for a candidate who supports abortion (or other policy violating human life) precisely because he/she supports abortion.
14. Bishop Rene Henry Gracida - A Twelve Step Program for Bishops
The Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas, outlines a schema (published 4 October 2004) in which Bishops may remedy the crisis in which politicians, professing the Catholic Faith in theory while opposing it in practice, may be reconciled or disciplined by the Church.
15. Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke - On Our Civic Responsibility for the Common Good
Archbishop Burke, of St. Louis, addresses the dichotomy between the faith that many profess and the practice of their daily lives, with a particular concern for Catholic politicians and voters. They risk their eternal salvation by refusing to uphold the inviolability of the human person.
16. Most Reverend John J. Myers - The Moral Choices Faced by Catholic Voters
Archbishop Myers of Newark, in an article originally published in The Wall St. Journal (17 September 2004), examined the question of what "proportionate reason" could justify Catholics in voting for pro-abortion candidates. No other issue in American civil life bears comparison with the annual death of "1.3 million yearly abortions plus the killing that would take place if public funds were made available for embryo-destructive research."
17. Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap - Divided Hearts: Americans, Religion and National Policy
Archbishop Chaput of Denver shows the fallacy of arguing that Catholics are violating the separation of Church and State, when they try to impose their religious views on others. It ignores history, that religion has inspired political action in this country from the beginning, and provided the "
ideals that make us a nation and a people, rather than just a mob of individuals."
18. Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap - Faith and Patriotism
In a column published in the New York Times, 22 October 2004, Archbishop Chaput, raises the question of why people who support permissive abortion laws may impose their views on society, but those who oppose these laws may not.

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