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Saturday 20 September 2014

Hello to Readers in Luxembourg

I would love to visit there someday, as half of my ancestors are from this beautiful country.

Getting Help Spiritually

 One way of both feeling re-assured on our way to perfection and being assured of help
 is praying to the saints and asking our guardian angels for help daily.
 Recently, I have developed a devotion to little Blessed Jacinta of Fatima. I think I have pleurisy
 yet again, (I have had this many times), and she had this disease and worse in her dying days. Her acceptance of suffering
 provides us with a great example of love for souls through suffering. 
    Honour, revere and respect the Blessed Virgin Mary with a very special
   love; she is the Mother of our Sovereign Lord, and so we are her
   children. Let us think of her with all the love and confidence of
   affectionate children; let us desire her love, and strive with true
   filial hearts to imitate her graces.

   Seek to be familiar with the Angels; learn to realise that they are
   continually present, although invisible. Specially love and revere the
   Guardian Angel of the Diocese in which you live, those of the friends
   who surround you, and your own. Commune with them frequently, join in
   their songs of praise, and seek their protection and help in all you
   do, spiritual or temporal.

   That pious man Peter Faber, the first companion of Saint Ignatius, and
   the first priest, first preacher and first theological teacher of the
   Company of the Jesuits, who was a native of our Diocese, [43] once
   passing through this country on his way from Germany, (where he had
   been labouring for God's Glory,) told how great comfort he had found as
   he went among places infested with heresy in communing with the
   guardian Angels thereof, whose help had often preserved him from
   danger, and softened hearts to receive the faith. He spoke with such
   earnestness, that a lady who, when quite young, heard him, was so
   impressed, that she repeated his words to me only four years ago, sixty
   years after their utterance, with the utmost feeling. I had the
   happiness only last year of consecrating an altar in the place where it
   pleased God to give that blessed man birth, the little village of
   Villaret, amid the wildest of our mountains.

   You will do well to choose out for yourself some individual Saint,
   whose life specially to study and imitate, and whose prayers may be
   more particularly offered on your behalf. The Saint bearing your own
   baptismal name would seem to be naturally assigned to you.
 One must be reading Scripture daily, as many do, using the various booklets 
 now available. Reading the daily readings for Mass, even if one cannot get to
 Mass is an excellent devotion. I sometimes use Universalis.
 As Catholics, we have a duty to read, study, learn our faith. St. Francis' suggestions
 are superb..... 
  CHAPTER XVII. How to Hear and Read God's Word.

   CULTIVATE a special devotion to God's Word, whether studied privately
   or in public; always listen to it with attention and reverence, strive
   to profit by it, and do not let it fall to the ground, but receive it
   within your heart as a precious balm, thereby imitating the Blessed
   Virgin, who "kept all these sayings in her heart." [44] Remember that
   our Lord receives our words of prayer according to the way in which we
   receive His words in teaching.
You should always have some good devout book at hand, such as the writings of S. Bonaventura, Gerson, Denis the Carthusian, Blosius, Grenada, Stella, Arias, Pinella, Da Ponte, Avila, the Spiritual Combat, the Confessions of S. Augustine, S. Jerome's Epistles, or the like; and daily read some small portion attentively, as though you were reading letters sent by the Saints from Paradise to teach you the way thither, and encourage you to follow them. Read the Lives of the Saints too, which are as a mirror to you of Christian life, and try to imitate their actions according to your circumstances; for although many things which the Saints did may not be practicable for those who live in the world, they may be followed more or less. Thus, in our spiritual retreats we imitate the solitude of the first hermit, S. Paul; in the practice of poverty we imitate S. Francis, and so on. Of course some Lives throw much more light upon our daily course than others, such as the Life of Saint Theresa, which is most admirable, the first Jesuits, Saint Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan, S. Louis, S. Bernard, S. Francis, and such like. Others are more the subjects of our admiring wonder than of imitation, such as S. Mary of Egypt, S. Simeon Stylites, S. Catherine of Genoa, and S. Catherine of Sienna, S. Angela, etc., although these should tend to kindle a great love of God in our hearts.
I have many series on some of these saints and one can use this blog for meditations. 
Today's saints have been highlighted on this blog already. See tag saints and martyrs. 

Moving Farther Away from Christ

Yesterday, I had a talk with a friend of mine about our protestant friends. One thing we noticed was the strong Calvinist streak which is absolutely moving protestants farther and farther from the Gospel. Coupled with this is the opposite tendency, the tendency to be uber-liberal.

Protestants we know cannot get past contraception as a serious sin. They cannot work out that this sin of stopping conception, God's plan, is evil.

They cannot get, at least in America, beyond the confusion of gross nationalism, (my country right or wrong), and religion. They see Catholics are less American, which we are, because we place the laws and customs of Rome above those of America. As members of the one, true, holy, apostolic and Catholic Church, our loyalties are first with her.

Protestants judge people constantly here in the States. If one is poor, one has sinned, which is odd, as we have all sinned, as St. Paul notes, and fallen short of the glory of God. But, here, charity is not real, is not from the heart, but something one does. Sadly, our protestant brethren are becoming less charitable and more judgmental, seeing the poor among them as suspicious, less worthy of care, and non-persons.

How did these changes in attitude happen? Partly, the false idea of "once saved, always saved" creates a clique, a group which identifies only with that one-time grace and forgets about sin.

Sin is not in the vocabulary of most protestants I meet. Their goal has been reached. They are going to heaven according to their false presumption, and, therefore, they do not have to examine their lives.

It is ironic that the strict Calvinists hold hands with the uber-liberals at Sunday worship. Although they refuse to judge themselves, they lack the discernment to see that holding positions on divorce and remarriage, abortion, contraception, hyper-captitalism, nationalism, ssm, and prejudice against Catholics are serious sins.

To protest is to lack an obedient spirit. Pray, as the protestants in America are becoming so secular that they cannot see their own apostasy from even basic Christianity. Disobedience in one area leads to another.

And, they do not accept the concept of the sacraments, which are the ways to sanctifying grace, so most would be in mortal sin.

I am afraid most protestants have moved beyond even their own original ideals taken from the Gospel. One man said to me yesterday, that he wondered if Martin Luther could have foreseen how far away from the Gospel his Lutherans would have fallen, would he have insisted on splitting from Rome?

The Catholic Church is our safety net.

Moving from Mortal Sin Posts to Venial Sin Posts

 Again, apologies for spacing, which is because I cannot change errors easily now.

This past week, I have been concentrating on mortal sin and how deadly it really is.

Now, for the next few days, I shall concentrate on venial sins.

Some of my sources and my ideas have already been shared in the perfection series, but more emphasis is needed. This could be called an addendum to the perfection series.

If one is not working on venial sins, one is not on the road to perfection. Remember, only the perfect go to heaven when they die, and purgatory purges both venial sin and imperfections. Such imperfections as anxiety need to purged, as this and other weaknesses lead to sin.

Let me start with St. Francis de Sales, from his Introduction to The Devout Life. My comments are in blue.

CHAPTER XXII. The Necessity of Purging away all tendency to Venial Sins.

   AS daylight waxes, we, gazing into a mirror, see more plainly the soils
   and stains upon our face; and even so as the interior light of the Holy
   Spirit enlightens our conscience, we see more distinctly the sins,
   inclinations and imperfections which hinder our progress towards real
   devotion. And the selfsame light which shows us these blots and stains,
   kindles in us the desire to be cleansed and purged therefrom. You will
   find then, my child, that besides the mortal sins and their affections
   from which your soul has already been purged, you are beset by sundry
   inclinations and tendencies to venial sin; mind, I do not say you will
   find venial sins, but the inclination and tendency to them. Now, one is
   quite different from the other. We can never be altogether free from
   venial sin,--at least not until after a very long persistence in this
   purity; but we can be without any affection for venial sin. It is
   altogether one thing to have said something unimportant not strictly
   true, out of carelessness or liveliness, and quite a different matter
   to take pleasure in lying, and in the habitual practice thereof. But I
   tell you that you must purify your soul from all inclination to venial
   sin;--that is to say, you must not voluntarily retain any deliberate
   intention of permitting yourself to commit any venial sin whatever. It
   would be most unworthy consciously to admit anything so displeasing to
   God, as the will to offend Him in anywise. Venial sin, however small,
   is displeasing to God, although it be not so displeasing as the greater
   sins which involve eternal condemnation; and if venial sin is
   displeasing to Him, any clinging which we tolerate to mortal sin is
   nothing less than a resolution to offend His Divine Majesty. Is it
   really possible that a rightly disposed soul can not only offend God,
   but take pleasure therein?
    I write this as dawn breaks, and when one first wakes up one's thoughts
    should be on God, giving Him the new day. Venial sins weaken the will,
    allow bad habits to fester, and usually come from the predominant fault,
    which must be destroyed. 
   These inclinations, my daughter, are in direct opposition to devotion,
   as inclinations to mortal sin are to love:--they weaken the mental
   power, hinder Divine consolations, and open the door to
   temptations;--and although they may not destroy the soul, at least they
   bring on very serious disease. "Dead flies cause the ointment to send
   forth a stinking savour," says the Wise Man. [23] He means that the
   flies which settle upon and taste of the ointment only damage it
   temporarily, leaving the mass intact, but if they fall into it, and die
   there, they spoil and corrupt it. Even so venial sins which pass over a
   devout soul without being harboured, do not permanently injure it, but
   if such sins are fostered and cherished, they destroy the sweet savour
   of that soul--that is to say, its devotion. The spider cannot kill
   bees, but it can spoil their honey, and so encumber their combs with
   its webs in course of time, as to hinder the bees materially. Just so,
   though venial sins may not lose the soul, they will spoil its devotion,
   and so cumber its faculties with bad habits and evil inclinations, as
   to deprive it of all that cheerful readiness which is the very essence
   of true devotion; that is to say, if they are harboured in the
   conscience by delight taken therein. A trifling inaccuracy, a little
   hastiness in word or action, some small excess in mirth, in dress, in
   gaiety, may not be very important, if these are forthwith heeded and
   swept out as spiritual cobwebs;--but if they are permitted to linger in
   the heart, or, worse still, if we take pleasure in them and indulge
   them, our honey will soon be spoilt, and the hive of our conscience
   will be cumbered and damaged. But I ask again, how can a generous heart
   take delight in anything it knows to be displeasing to its God, or wish
   to do what offends Him?
  Talking too much, eating snacks which are not necessary, too much entertainment,
  which should not be daily, wasting time, buying unnecessary items, buying lottery tickets,
  and so on are imperfections and could be venial sins. So-called "white lies", disobedience 
  which is hidden, not saying daily prayers, not reading Scripture daily, harboring offenses, 
  these are all venial sins.  
 CHAPTER XXIII. It is needful to put away all Inclination for Useless and
 Dangerous Things.

   SPORTS, balls, plays, festivities, pomps, are not in themselves evil,
   but rather indifferent matters, capable of being used for good or ill;
   but nevertheless they are dangerous, and it is still more dangerous to
   take great delight in them. Therefore, my daughter, I say that although
   it is lawful to amuse yourself, to dance, dress, feast, and see seemly
   plays,--at the same time, if you are much addicted to these things,
   they will hinder your devotion,  (shopping, computer games, tv, 
   curiosity, talking about other people, interior critical spirit, not 
   order in the house, snacking, too much make-up or any, immodesty,
   even in a small way, not dressing for Mass, and so on....)
   and become extremely hurtful and
   dangerous to you. The harm lies, not in doing them, but in the degree
   to which you care for them. It is a pity to sow the seed of vain and
   foolish tastes in the soil of your heart, taking up the place of better
   things, and hindering the soul from cultivating good dispositions. It
   was thus that the Nazarites of old abstained not merely from all
   intoxicating liquors, but from grapes fresh or dried, and from vinegar,
   not because these were intoxicating, but because they might excite the
   desire for fermented liquors. Just so, while I do not forbid the use of
   these dangerous pleasures, I say that you cannot take an excessive
   delight in them without their telling upon your devotion. When the stag
   has waxed fat he hides himself amid the thicket, conscious that his
   fleetness is impaired should he be in need to fly: and so the human
   heart which is cumbered with useless, superfluous, dangerous clingings
   becomes incapacitated for that earnest following after God which is the
   true life of devotion. No one blames children for running after
   butterflies, because they are children, but is it not ridiculous and
   pitiful to see full-grown men eager about such worthless trifles as the
   worldly amusements before named, which are likely to throw them off
   their balance and disturb their spiritual life? Therefore, dear child,
   I would have you cleanse your heart from all such tastes, remembering
   that while the acts themselves are not necessarily incompatible with a
   devout life, all delight in them must be harmful.
   Too many peter pans and peter pams will never become holy because they are
   obsessed with trivialities.
  CHAPTER XXIV. All Evil Inclinations must be purged away.

   FURTHERMORE, my daughter, we have certain natural inclinations, which
   are not strictly speaking either mortal or venial sins, but rather
   imperfections; and the acts in which they take shape, failings and
   deficiencies. Thus S. Jerome says that S. Paula had so strong a
   tendency to excessive sorrow, that when she lost her husband and
   children she nearly died of grief: that was not a sin, but an
   imperfection, since it did not depend upon her wish and will. Some
   people are naturally easy, some oppositions; some are indisposed to
   accept other men's opinions, some naturally disposed to be cross, some
   to be affectionate--in short, there is hardly any one in whom some such
   imperfections do not exist. Now, although they be natural and
   instinctive in each person, they may be remedied and corrected, or even
   eradicated, by cultivating the reverse disposition. And this, my child,
   must be done. Gardeners have found how to make the bitter almond tree
   bear sweet fruit, by grafting the juice of the latter upon it, why
   should we not purge out our perverse dispositions and infuse such as
   are good? There is no disposition so good but it may be made bad by
   dint of vicious habits, and neither is there any natural disposition so
   perverse but that it may be conquered and overcome by God's Grace
   primarily, and then by our earnest diligent endeavour. I shall
   therefore now proceed to give you counsels and suggest practices by
   which you may purify your soul from all dangerous affections and
   imperfections, and from all tendencies to venial sin, thereby
   strengthening yourself more and more against mortal sin. May God give
   you grace to use them.
   Purification cannot be ignored. Using the stress and daily activities for purification is
   one way of changing. Not complaining about anything is one way of purification, as 
   is gratitude-being thankful for water, food, work and so on.
   We live in the West in an entitlement society which affects even the best people, who think
   they deserve the best or this or that. Look at your tendencies and you will find your
  to be continued....  

Any Comments?

From Whispers...

All in all, the choice serves to reflect of one of Francis' key emphases over his 18-month pontificate: that of a church geared toward the "periphery" as opposed to being locked in its "sacristies." Put another way, Cupich's experience before landing in the nation's third-largest diocese speak to another of the Pope's lead threads – a premium on missionary pastors for a missionary church.

More Later from St. Francis de Sales

Later today, I shall add more posts, but I am afraid I am coming down with something and am too tired to fight the Net.

Prayers, please

Again, on Obedience

CHAPTER XI. On Obedience. My comments in red...

   LOVE alone leads to perfection, but the three chief means for acquiring
   it are obedience, chastity, and poverty. Obedience is a consecration of
   the heart, chastity of the body, and poverty of all worldly goods to
   the Love and Service of God. These are the three members of the
   Spiritual Cross, and all three must be raised upon the fourth, which is
   humility. I am not going here to speak of these three virtues as solemn
   vows, which only concern religious, nor even as ordinary vows, although
   when sought under the shelter of a vow all virtues receive an enhanced
   grace and merit; but it is not necessary for perfection that they
   should be undertaken as vows, so long as they are practised diligently.
   The three vows solemnly taken put a man into the state of perfection,
   whereas a diligent observance thereof brings him to perfection. For,
   observe, there is a great difference between the state of perfection
   and perfection itself, inasmuch as all prelates and religious are in
   the former, although unfortunately it is too obvious that by no means
   all attain to the latter. Let us then endeavour to practise these three
   virtues, according to our several vocations, for although we are not
   thereby called to a state of perfection, we may attain through them to
   perfection itself, and of a truth we are all bound to practise them,
   although not all after the same manner.
I wrote about this before several times. The life of the monk and nun is one of perfection,
as the lifestyle is set up to be a shortcut for perfection.  But, as we are all called to be saints, our
way is not the same, and yet, we should strive to impose chastity, obedience, and poverty on ourselves.  
 There are two kinds of obedience, one necessary, the other voluntary.
   The first includes a humble obedience to your ecclesiastical superiors,
   whether Pope, Bishop, Curate, or those commissioned by them. You are
   likewise bound to obey your civil superiors, king and magistrates; as
   also your domestic superiors, father, mother, master or mistress. Such
   obedience is called necessary, because no one can free himself from the
   duty of obeying these superiors, God having appointed them severally to
   bear rule over us. Therefore do you obey their commands as of right,
   but if you would be perfect, follow their counsels, and even their
   wishes as far as charity and prudence will allow: obey as to things
   acceptable; as when they bid you eat, or take recreation, for although
   there may be no great virtue in obedience in such a case, there is
   great harm in disobedience. Obey in things indifferent, as concerning
   questions of dress, coming and going, singing or keeping silence, for
   herein is a very laudable obedience. Obey in things hard, disagreeable
   and inconvenient, and therein lies a very perfect obedience. Moreover,
   obey quietly, without answering again, promptly, without delay,
   cheerfully, without reluctance; and, above all, render a loving
   obedience for His Sake Who became obedient even to the death of the
   Cross for our sake; Who, as Saint Bernard says, chose rather to resign
   His Life than His Obedience.
So, wives, obey your husbands and children obey your parents in all things but sin. 

   If you would acquire a ready obedience to superiors, accustom yourself
   to yield to your equals, giving way to their opinions where nothing
   wrong is involved, without arguing or peevishness; and adapt yourself
   easily to the wishes of your inferiors as far as you reasonably can,
   and forbear the exercise of stern authority so long as they do well.

   It is a mistake for those who find it hard to pay a willing obedience
   to their natural superiors to suppose that if they were professed
   religious they would find it easy to obey.

   Voluntary obedience is such as we undertake by our own choice, and
   which is not imposed by others. Persons do not choose their own King or
   Bishop, or parents--often not even their husband; but most people
   choose their confessor or director. And whether a person takes a vow of
   obedience to him (as Saint Theresa, beyond her formal vow to the
   Superior of her Order, bound herself by a simple vow to obey Father
   Gratian), or without any vow they resolve to obey their chosen
   spiritual guide, all such obedience is voluntary, because it depends
   upon our own will.
This is why it is hard for singles to become holy-to whom are they obedient? To whom
do they daily defer and give up their wills? All singles need a spiritual director.
 Obedience to lawful superiors is regulated by their official claims.
   Thus, in all public and legal matters, we are bound to obey our King;
   in ecclesiastical matters, our Bishop; in domestic matters, our father,
   master or husband; and in personal matters which concern the soul, our
   confessor or spiritual guide.

   Seek to be directed in your religious exercises by your spiritual
   father, because thereby they will have double grace and virtue;--that
   which is inherent in that they are devout, and that which comes by
   reason of the spirit of obedience in which they are performed. Blessed
   indeed are the obedient, for God will never permit them to go astray.

Reality Time

If you have not watched this, please do.

Good for teen home schoolers.

Start of Worldwide Fast

Hope you use some of my recipes....

Start today.

Use the motto of the one army unit for your fast and your road to perfection. "Climb to Glory".

thanks to wiki

I cannot watch videos now, but I can this...

Now for something completely different

The Mink River Estuary and other areas around it have to be some of the most beautiful nature reserves in America. Wisconsin is a great state.

The Green-Eyed or Emerald Dragonfly lives in this area and has made a bit of a "comeback".

However, this post is not merely to point out some gorgeous creations of God, but to share an insight into obedience.

When I was in my twenties, living in Minnesota and camping in Wisconsin now and then, I was praying one day and saw a dragonfly in my imagination. One of the times I heard God had to do with the dragonfly. It is an insect, if you do not know, which can move up and down and sideways, as well as forward quickly. Imagine a natural helicopter.

One day I heard the voice of God saying quietly, "I love you because you are like the dragonfly. You change directions and move quickly when I tell you to do something. You respond."

Now, as you know, I have written on obedience ad nauseam for some, on this blog. Obedience is a key virtue in times of chaos, in times of the destruction of civilizations.

One cannot hem and haw about inspirations.

I told this story to some of you who know me. I had an old friend, who is now dead, who escaped from Czechoslovakia just before the Nazi army took over her village in 1939. The armies invaded and had set up camps near their village. She and her sister, both in their teens at the time, were quickly taken aside by their old father. He told them to get on bicycles and ride to Austria, and then to Switzerland. Quite a bike ride.

He said their lives were in danger and he could not escape.

Frantiska laughed and said she intended to bicycle over to the German army camp and see some of the soldiers.

Marketa listened carefully and went into the house immediately. She packed a small rucksack with food and some other things, kissed her father and left.

Frantiska got on her bike and waved, saying she was going to have a good time. No one ever saw her again.

Marketa made it to Switzerland with some help. She ended up in England, where she met her future husband. Eventually, the two immigrated to Canada, where they raised a family and are now both buried.

Marketa responded quickly. War changes situations daily. War causes one place to be safe one day and dangerous the next.

Learn to listen to God and be like the dragonfly, able to switch directions in an instant.

Be a Marketa, not a Frantiska, who was lost to history.

Here is St. Francis de Sales, from his Introduction to the Devout Life, on inspirations.

   In contracting a
marriage, the bride must be a party to three separate acts: first, the bridegroom is proposed to her; secondly, she entertains the proposal; and thirdly, she gives her consent. Just so when God intends to perform some act of love in us, by us, and with us; He first suggests it by His inspiration; secondly, we receive that inspiration; and thirdly, we consent to it: for, like as we fall into sin by three steps, temptation, delectation, and consent, so there are three steps whereby we ascend to virtue; inspiration, as opposed to temptation; delectation in God's inspiration, as opposed to that of temptation; and consent to the one instead of to the other. Were God's inspirations to last all our lives, we should be nowise more acceptable to Him, unless we took pleasure therein; on the contrary, we should rather offend Him as did the Israelites, of whom He says that they "grieved Him for forty years long, refusing to hear His pleadings, so that at last" I "sware in My wrath that they should not enter into My rest." [46] And (to recur to my first illustration) one who has long been devoted to his lady-love, would feel greatly injured if, after all, she would not consent to the alliance he seeks. The delight we take in God's inspirations is an important step gained towards His Glory, and we begin at once to please Him thereby; for although such delectation is not the same thing as a full consent, it shows a strong tendency thereto; and if it is a good and profitable sign when we take pleasure in hearing God's Word, which is, so to say, an external inspiration, still more is it good and acceptable in His Sight when we take delight in His interior inspirations. Such is the delight of which the Bride says, "My soul melted within me when my Beloved spake." [47] And so, too, the earthly lover is well satisfied when he sees that his lady-love finds pleasure in his attentions. But, after all, consent only perfects the good action; for if we are inspired of God, and take pleasure in that inspiration, and yet, nevertheless, refuse our consent to His inspiration, we are acting a very contemptuous, offensive part towards Him. We read of the Bride, that although the voice of her Beloved touched her heart, she made trivial excuses, and delayed opening the door to Him, and so He withdrew Himself and "was gone." [48] And the earthly lover, who had long sought a lady, and seemed acceptable to her, would have the more ground for complaint if at last he was spurned and dismissed, than if he had never been favourably received.
   Do you, my daughter, resolve to accept whatever inspirations God may
   vouchsafe you, heartily; and when they offer themselves, receive them
   as the ambassadors of your Heavenly King, seeking alliance with you.
   Hearken gently to their propositions, foster the love with which you
   are inspired, and cherish the holy Guest. Give your consent, and let it
   be a full, loving, stedfast consent to His holy inspirations; for, so
   doing, God will reckon your affection as a favour, although truly we
   can confer none upon Him. But, before consenting to inspirations which
   have respect to important or extraordinary things, guard against
   self-deception, by consulting your spiritual guide, and let him examine
   whether the inspiration be real or no; and that the rather, because
   when the enemy sees a soul ready to hearken to inspirations, he is wont
   to set false delusions in the way to deceive it,--a snare you will not
   fall into so long as you humbly obey your guide.

   Consent once given, you must carefully seek to produce the intended
   results, and carry out the inspiration, the crown of true virtue; for
   to give consent, without producing the result thereof, were like
   planting a vine without meaning it to bear fruit. All this will be
   greatly promoted by careful attention to your morning exercises, and
   the spiritual retirement already mentioned, because therein you learn
   to carry general principles to a special application.