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Monday 29 December 2014

Making Saints Part Three

One of the most deadly tendencies of pastors, teachers, and parents must be the denial of sin and the consequences of sin.

The false ideology of "universal salvation", very popular among those who have fallen away Catholic children or grandchildren, pushes Catholics into fake positions of mercy which ignores justice.

Those who suffer from evil people, (who make, even daily, evil decisions), hope and pray for justice, and share the recognition that consequences follow sin.

Temporal punishment due to sin is a teaching of the Catholic Church. Saints understand that hell is real and that even they could go to hell. The making of saints has become more difficult because of the clouding of minds, hearts, souls regarding who is saved and who is not.

Who is saved? Those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, states John in the Book of Revelation.

Who is not saved? Those who refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and keep His commandments, states Paul in the Epistle to Titus and in other places.

Simple....the saints are those who love and obey Christ.

Those leaders in the Church should be in the business of making saints.

Are they? Do they? Do we?  

Prayers, Please

Down to low 40s and no heat as I cannot afford to run it for long....

The flat is too drafty and the heat goes away as soon as the monster-electricity meter-eater is off.

Two duvets, a sweater, a coat and a hot water bottle, sleeping in jeans and a turtle neck and I am still cold.

STS calls me the "Salamander". I am reminded of W. H. Auden, who when visiting Vienna, was so cold, he took the pictures off the wall and put them on top of him. I sympathize entirely....

 You can find part two......

Why A Certain Kid Got Weird Pressies for Christmas

In 1998, when STS was ten, his Christmas pressies included an adult cookbook and a complete tool kit. I told him I did not want him to grow up being a helpless male. His daddy's idea of fixing something was calling in a handyman. Well, I ended up fixing things, like loose doorknobs, toilet handles and bulbs, blinds, both Roman and Venetian, and various things in the kitchen. I also did all the painting and decorating.

STS can do tons of useful stuff, plus he makes computers.

Well, a kid does not have to grow up helpless. We also had jars of screws, nails, bolts, nuts and other bits, never throwing out what could be useful. We had two drawers, called "Miscellaneous Drawers" of things to re-use and for fixing up other things-like those extra metal clips one gets in Pier One flat furniture for example.

We can fix most small things and figure out bigger things. We ripped old carpet off of oak floors and redid them with rubbing and wax. We decorated with wallpaper and paint and stencils. We stripped doors or other things, fixed back and front steps, drawers, various bits of furniture and so on.

We could fix broken phones, radios, and tvs. It is in the blood, I think, to do such things, but parents have to let kids experiment and have fun making and mending things.

We had two large sets of drawers with computer pieces and bits to fix printers and speakers.

Why not?

One learns to be creative as well as handy. I taught myself rosemaling and stenciling, painting, and removing wallpaper, stripping doors, sanding and varnishing. (I do have a background in studying art, but my dad let me help do such things).

Fun, and good therapy for intellectuals.

I heard a parent say that he did not want his boys to learn how to do manual labor.


STS has helped me lay out four flower gardens from scratch, lay a patio down in the back, make a stone garden path, put up fencing, build a shrine, make alpine and rock gardens, in addition to herbal borders and work with trees and bushes.

He can clean drains, clean outside gutters, fix windows, and basically figure out what he does not know.

Why? Math and physics, plus a mom who wanted him to be capable.

Such skills teach patience, logic, and give confidence to kids.

To be a snob an not let your child do anything creates an adult child.....

We can cook Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Tex-Mex, Ukrainian, Czech, Indian, English and American.

Giving STS a cookbook opened up a new love for him-cooking. And we learned how to work together in the kitchen without killing each other-a real feat.

Part of cooking is learning to shop for food, and I hear from the diocesan grapevine, that such a skill is desired in the rectories where that certain sem has worked.

To know kale from lettuce from romaine from chicory from lolla rosa from radicchio is a learned skill, as well as learning how to use spices.

Well, you all get the point. Of course, as a Montessori mother, I let STS cut carrots when he was two, pour real liquids using glass jugs and cups, and basically hit the sensitive time for learning practical skills an fine motor movement skills. Toddlers can help with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner prep, including oiling down or buttering down the turkey and making cookies and fruit breads. Two to three year olds can chop peppers, cut celery and carrot sticks, pour water into the glasses, help make stuffing, mash potatoes and so on. They can also grind herbs and cut green spring onions.

Being a mom is fun, and having a child who can do things is also fun.....

What happened to parents?

Statistics Rolling In for New Year's Eve!

Sad day for Britain--Retreat!

What happened to the good, old Blighty spirit?

link now works....for me at least and hope so for the readers

Sad day for Malta

The banner headline in today's Times of Malta is this: "Church doesn't have to take a central role."

This was said by the Apostolic Administrator Bishop Charles Scicluna in response to the President Marie-Louis Coleiro Preca's Republic Day comment in her main speech that the Church was "no longer central to Maltese Society."

Sad, sad, sad. The role of the Church is to guide and inform the State. Without Catholicism, any States becomes rudderless and will soon be ruined on the rocks of socialism, (most Catholics here do not get that socialism is wrong and dangerous), and secularism. To denigrate the role of the Church in Malta is to acknowledge the death of a culture, of a unique civilization.

The bishop tried to gloss over the statement by saying that a light illumines a room if it is in a corner, as well as in the middle of the room. False analogy.

Without Catholicism, the one true religion, societies fall quickly into relativism, subjectivism, selfishness, greed, and all the other capital sins.

If Christ is not the center of social and political life, chaos follows.

Already, Malta has legalized same-sex marriage and divorce. Pro-abortion legislation is just a matter of time, as most of the non-Muslims here contracept.

I am disappointed in Bishop Scicluna's reponse. He should have challenged the president head-on. Catholics do not need to ameliorate deceit and evil. He should have made a much stronger statement. Without strong, masculine, aggressive clergy at the top of the hierarchy, Catholicism will fade away, disappear, and churches will close.

Malta will no longer be Malta.

Of what are these churchmen afraid?

Restaurant Check in Malta

Before STS left, he treated me as part of my Christmas pressie ( a book, other part, of course), and birthday pressie, to the best restaurant I have ever had the pleasure of eating in here in Malta.

Tarragon is in St. Paul's Bay. The food is superb, the wine excellent, and the service amazing. The waiters are quiet but efficient. None of this horrible Maltese habit of hovering over one while one is trying to eat and discuss St. Augustine's views on massa damnata.

I learned that in my absence, STS has, under the normal tutelage of seminaries and good older friends, become an expert in wines.

We had a South American white wine, which name escapes me and yummy food overlooking the very rocks on which St. Paul crashed.

I mentioned that I wondered what he would think of this place and STS assured me that he knew how to abound and how to be abased. STS made sure I had a night of abundance.

Recommended by STM and STS, Tarragon...

I have just heard that the owner has opened another place, more like a cafe, in St. Julian's. Perhaps, I can share info on that place....

Making Saints Part Two

Holy communities with real saints for abbots or prioresses or whoever, would make for excellent followers.

The same is true for families. If the leader, that is the dad, is holy, the chance for vocations and holiness in the children seems more likely.

Some people say saints are born, not made. Yes, God does decide through Divine Providence and predestination, who will have more grace and what types of grace. One can follow my other posts on grace and predestination on these points.

But, environment must be an issue of importance. Children raised in godless households, totally spoiled and without virtue training, can become saints, but it is much harder. One cannot count on a St. Augustine.

The newer orders may have a better chance of nurturing saints than the older ones, and many older ones are dying out. The vocation numbers reflect both the charism of the founders, such as Dominic or John Bosco, but also those in current authority.

Of course, if the older orders embraced the Latin Mass, I am convinced we would see a renewal of the traditional orders.

to be continued...

An Epiphany

Thinking of St. Thomas Aquinas today, and Becket, and many of the great leaders of our Church who have been canonized, it dawned on me how hard it is for a family, a community, and a society to help create a saint.

A person becomes a saint within a context, and not in a vacuum. We know that some saints, including Aquinas, became holy against the wishes of their parents. St. Damien of Molokai did not have the support of his parents, either. Saints born and growing in adversity may be called to live in adversity, hence, the training from youth.

Some saints are nurtured in the home to become holy, such as St. Therese the Little Flower, and St. Etheldreda, who seems to have so many saints in the family one loses track of the names. SS. Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa were brothers, and another brother, Peter, as well as the mother, Emilia, the grandmother Macrina, the sister Macrina, and the sister Theosebia are all saints. We honor SS. Augustine and Monica, as well as SS. Bernard of Clairvaux, his holy mother Blessed Aleth, his brothers Blesseds.

My epiphany today involves the fact that saints are not made without tender loving care or great fighting within a family. The nature of the saint is not to be mediocre, but strong and independent of the world. A saint becomes so either in adversity or in the great nurturing of a holy family, a theme about which I have written on this blog before, especially in the home schooling series and virtue series.

But, this light on the nurturing of saints reveals that those born in adversity to holiness or to expectations which are not "holy", still need nurturing, such as in a religious order, or a good convent or excellent seminary.

This is the problem. The Catholic Church is lacking in holy institutions. Holy institutions are made when holy men and women create or carry on the original vision of holiness, such as that of SS. Benedict, Stephen Harding, Dominic, or God Himself, as in the vocation to marriage.

I shall continue this later.

Te Deum

The Kindness of God

In today's reading from the Divine Office, St. Bernard writes of the kindness of God, referring back to St. Paul's note, that kindness and mercy brought about the Incarnation.

Kindness. a virtue, as well as an Attribute of God, is fast disappearing from this earth. One cannot measure kindness in terms of Christmas gifts, or party invitations, or coffee-dates. One measures kindness in such movements of the soul as forgiveness, love, and peace.

Too many religions and too many people fall into hatred, seeing this great evil as a strength rather than a weakness. Mercy comes from a strong heart, not a weak one. To forgive and to forget indicates an inner peace, most likely won through suffering and death of self.

Kindness comes from the soul when a person looks at another in mercy. Sometimes this is hard, as when one is insulted or worse, purposefully injured. But St. Bernard today reminds us that this type of deep mercy is what God gives us in Christ, in the Baby in the manger and on the Cross. Can we not attempt to do the same, measuring kindness by the stick of mercy?

When we become kind, we think of the suffering of the other more than our own. When we become kind, we see the suffering Christ in the face of the other. When we become kind, we have wrestled with our own sins, begging God to purify us through His mercy and grace.

In the fullness of time there came also the fullness of God from St. Bernard
The kindness and love of God our saviour for mankind were revealed. Thanks be to God, through whom we receive such abundant consolation in this pilgrimage, this exile, this distress.
  Before his humanity appeared, his kindness lay concealed. Of course it was already in existence, because the mercy of the Lord is from eternity, but how could men know it was so great? It was promised but not yet experienced: hence many did not believe in it. At various times and in various different ways, God spoke through the prophets,saying I know the plans I have in mind for you: plans for peace, not disaster.
  What reply did man make, man who felt the affliction, and knew nothing of peace? ‘How long will you keep saying “Peace, peace” when there is no peace?’ And so the angels of peace weep bitterly saying Lord, who has believed our report?
  But now at last let men believe their own eyes, because all God’s promises are to be trusted. So that it cannot escape the notice of even troubled eyes, He has set up his tabernacle in the sun. Behold, peace is no longer promised, but conferred; no longer delayed, but given; no longer predicted, but bestowed. Behold, God has sent down to earth a bag bulging with his mercy, a bag that, at the passion, is torn open so that our ransom pours out of it onto us. A small bag, perhaps, but a full one: for it was a small child that was given to us, but in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead.
  After the fullness of time had come, there came too the fullness of the Godhead. He came in the flesh, so that at least he might make himself manifest to our earthly minds, so that when this humanity of his appeared, his kindness might also be acknowledged. Where the humanity of God appears, his kindness can no longer be hidden. In what way, indeed, could he have better commended his kindness than by assuming my flesh? My flesh, that is, not Adam’s, as it was before the fall.
  What greater proof could he have given of his mercy than by taking upon himself that very thing which needed mercy? Where is there such perfect loving-kindness as in the fact that for our sake the Word of God became perishable like the grass? Lord, what is man, that you make much of him or pay him any heed?
  Let man infer from this how much God cares for him. Let him know from this what God thinks of him, what he feels about him. Man, do not ask about your own sufferings; but about what God suffered. Learn from what he was made for you, how much he makes of you, so that his kindness may show itself to you from his humanity.
  The lesser he has made himself in his humanity, the greater has he shown himself in kindness. The more he humbles himself on my account, the more powerfully he engages my love. The kindness and humanity of God our Saviour appeared says St Paul. The humanity of God shows the greatness of his kindness, and he who added humanity to the name of God gave great proof of this kindness.

The Lashing of The Tail

Quite a while ago, a priest told me that when we experience a victory over evil in our lives, or in the lives of someone for whom we are praying, and, especially if we have asked Mary, Our Mother to intercede, we sometimes get negative feedback from the devil.

He called it the "lashing of the tail".  This holy man explained to me that Mary stands on the head of satan, but the tail moves back and forth, hitting those who have been instrumental in interceding for a spiritual victory.

The lashing of the tail may result in an illness, or injury. It may result in the loss of some material object or objects. It may result in a misunderstanding among friends-anything which God allows the devil to inflict on those who pray, fast, work for the Kingdom.

My guess is that many of you readers have experienced the lashing of the tail and have wondered why, after answers to prayers, something, or some things seems to go wrong. If we are not experiencing negative feedback, we are not doing our job as Catholics.

Years ago, I complained to God about this lashing of the tail after a particular prayer was answered for someone else. I said to the Father that I was upset that such devilish activity was surrounding me.

A little voice, a quiet voice, said "You do not see what my Hand is holding back. You do not see how you are protected."

Well, I do now not question the lashing of the tail. Nor do I expect such. But, if God allows a few war wounds, I rejoice.

However, you all can still pray for me, and for those who have gotten lashed by the tail.