Monday, November 25, 2013

St. Catherine of Alexandria

Today is traditionally the feast of the virgin martyr St. Catherine of Alexandria, one of the saints who spoke to St. Joan of Arc.
From the tenth century onwards veneration for St. Catherine of Alexandria has been widespread in the Church of the East, and from the time of the Crusades this saint has been popular in the West, where many churches have been dedicated to her and her feast day kept with great solemnity, sometimes as a holy-day of obligation. She is listed as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers of mankind among the saints in Heaven; she is the patroness of young women, philosophers, preachers, theologians, wheelwrights, millers, and other workingmen. She was said to have appeared with Our Lady to St. Dominic and to Blessed Reginald of Orleans; the Dominicans adopted her as their special protectress. Hers was one of the heavenly voices heard by St. Joan of Arc.
Artists have painted her with her chief emblem, the wheel, on which by tradition she was tortured; other emblems are a lamb and a sword. Her name continues to be cherished today by the young unmarried women of Paris.
Fr. Mark has a magnificent post about this great saint, who was removed from the Roman Calendar but has been put back again. To quote:
Saint Catherine of Alexandria vanished from the reformed Roman Calendar in the reform of 1969 and, Deo gratias, reappeared in 2002. Why? Part of the answer can be found, I think, by comparing the lovely old Collect for Saint Catherine with the one newly composed for the 2002 edition of the Roman Missal. In the traditional liturgy, which we celebrate here at Silverstream Priory, on November 25th the Church prays:

O God Who gavest the Law to Moses on the summit of Mount Sinai,
and didst miraculously place the body of Thy blessed virgin-martyr Catherine in the selfsame spot by the ministry of Thy holy angels,
grant, we beseech Thee, that her merits and pleadings
may enable us to reach the mountain which is Christ.

The Collect focuses on the image of Mount Sinai, the sacred mountain which prefigures Christ himself. The first phrase of the prayer takes up Exodus 31:18, the inspiration of the Great O Antiphon that we will be singing on December 18th:
O ADONAI, and Ruler of the House of Israel, who appeared unto Moses in the burning bush and gave him the Law on the summit of Sinai: come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!
(Read more.)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Remedies for Sadness and Melancholy

From St. Francis de Sales:
Vigorously resist all tendencies to melancholy, and although all you do may seem to be done coldly, wearily and indifferently, do not give in.

The Enemy strives to make us languid in doing good by depression, but when he sees that we do not cease our efforts to work, and that those efforts become all the more earnest by reason of their being made in resistance to him, he leaves off troubling us.

Make use of hymns and spiritual songs; they have often frustrated the Evil One in his operations, as was the case when the evil spirit which possessed Saul was driven forth by music and psalmody.

It is well also to occupy yourself in external works, and that with as much variety as may lead us to divert the mind from the subject which oppresses it, and to cheer and kindle it, for depression generally makes us dry and cold. (Read more.)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Comets and Prophecy

From Unveiling the Apocalypse:
The recent outburst of activity in ISON has helped to dispel some of the fears that this comet will turn out to be a dud, and it still has plenty of potential to put on a spectacular display in December, as it emerges from its close encounter with the Sun expelling large amounts of dust and gas from the melting ice of its nucleus. Given that ISON is a "sun-grazing" comet, and that its course will bring it perilously close to to the Sun, there is a strong chance that it will break up during perihelion, before the full potential of its display is realised. If it emerges from perihelion intact however, it will have the potential to be one of the greatest comets of the 21st century. During perihelion on Nov 28th, when it makes its closest approach to the Sun, ISON will be practicably unobservable from earth, and will not be seen again until it emerges from the Sun's glare in early to mid December, and theoretically, it should be at its most impressive state when it makes it closest approach to earth on 26th December - the feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
If it does indeed put on its greatest display at this time, it will be tempting to link this the victims of the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, that took place on this exact date, and which I believe was connected in some way with the Signs in the Sky that appeared during the turn of the millennium, and may foreshadow events to come:
“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken". (Luke 21:25-26)
 (Read more.)
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