Monday, August 31, 2009

Spiritual Goals

For the Year of the Priest. (via The Crescat)
Considering the damage done to the priesthood by sins of calumny, detraction, and tale-bearing, you can resolve to refrain from all critical, unkind, and judgmental speech (and blogging) concerning priests, and also resolve never to repeat disedifying comments, anecdotes, or gossip concerning priests, their sins, and their failings.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Songs of a Housewife

Under the Gables discusses Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' poems about household chores. It is an excellent meditation for lay Carmelites. According to Mrs. Rawlings:
I was brought up to believe in the modern myth that housekeeping is only drudgery, and the housewife is a downtrodden martyr. I thought that any seemingly contented housewives were only 'making the best of it.' When I first began housekeeping in my own home, I felt that I had entered the ranks of the mistreated.

After a time I began to realize, to my amazement, that I didn't feel at all downtrodden, and that I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I began to look at other domestic 'martyrs' from a new angle, and I have learned many things.

I have found that there is romance in housework: and charm in it; and whimsy and humor without end. I have found that the housewife works hard, of course--but likes it. Most people who amount to anything do work hard, at whatever their job happens to be. The housewife's job is home-making, and she is, in fact, 'making the best of it'; making the best of it by bringing patience and loving care to her work; sympathy and understanding to her family; making the best of it by seeing all the fun in the day's incidents and human relationships.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Novena to Blessed Mother Teresa

It begins today.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Film on Fatima

It sounds like a must-see.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beauraing: The Virgin of the Golden Heart

In 1932 Our Lady appeared to five Belgian children with a message of consolation.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Approaches to Modesty

Quotes from the catechism as well as some reflections from a young woman of faith, who says:
Modesty recognises the dignity of the human person and recognises in particular the sacredness of the love between men and women. This should be very relevant to us, living during times where human dignity is ignored and sexual love is perverted. It’s convenient to dismiss the question of how modesty applies to our exterior actions and dress and insist that we’re doing fine if our hearts are in the right place; but personally I think that every little thing that can be done to support human dignity should be done... even if it’s as simple as deciding what we’re going to wear each day.

For the Life of the World

A meditation on the Holy Eucharist.
Sometimes we can feel small, like a little grain of sand on a beach and yet we are not small. We, when assimilated into Christ's body, are anything but small. What wonders can be worked in us, what goodness can flow like streams through the darkness of the world, what lights we carry, what lights we become when assimilated into that one light that gives Himself to us in the Eucharist, for the life of the world.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Blessing of Herbs and Flowers

In honor of Our Lady's Assumption, as some of us will keep the celebration going for the next eight days. To quote Fr. Mark:


Christians of both East and West have, from very early times, blessed herbs and fruit on the Feast of the Assumption. Thus blessed, these creatures become sacramentals of the Church and portents of divine protection from dangers to soul and body. In some places the herbs were placed on the altar, and even beneath the altar linens, so that from this proximity to the Most Holy Eucharist they might receive a special hallowing, beyond that conferred by the blessing prayers of the Church.

The prayers of the rite suggest that this custom of the Church hearkens back to the ancient customs ordained by God through Moses. According to Christian tradition, when the Apostles accompanied Saint Thomas, who had been absent at the time of the Blessed Virgin's death, to her tomb, upon opening it they discovered that her body was not there. Instead, they found the tomb filled with fragrant herbs and flowers. Blessed herbs recall the lingering fragrance of the virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Church.


I find it a bit confusing when perusing the Catholic internet and finding that "piety" has become a dirty word. I have sometimes seen writings of Catholic authors praised for being free of piety. It seems that people have forgotten that piety is a gift of the Holy Spirit. According to Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.:
By means of the gift of piety, the Holy Spirit gives a new touch to our spiritual life, a touch of delicacy and sweetness which perfects and simplifies our relations with God and our neighbor....Under its influence our prayer will become more affectionate, more filial, and we shall attend with greater facility to all that concerns the divine worship. Let us ask for this gift, especially when we seem to be very dry and cold, so that in times of trial and interior suffering by its help we shall go to God as a child to its Father. Furthermore, our diligent, constant application to prayer, notwithstanding the lack of sensible devotion, is one of the best dispositions for bringing upon us the life-giving breath of the gift of piety. ~ Divine Intimacy, pp.910-911
So genuine piety is a precious gift, something to cultivate and pray to God for. I think what many people may react against is not piety but the "pietism." Pietism is, according to
  1. Stress on the emotional and personal aspects of religion.
  2. Affected or exaggerated piety.
Perhaps some people would classify any work of devotion or traditional piety as being "pietistic." But there is another side to it as well. With the upheavals in the church in the past forty years, many people have replaced solid doctrine and spirituality with emotional experiences. It is easy for feelings to take the place of authentic faith, faith which is often unfelt, especially in stressful times. Feelings do play a part in the spiritual life and the journey of prayer, as long as it is kept in mind that feelings "do not have brains," as a priest once told me. If given free rein, feelings can lead down the primrose path to moral laxity and spiritual disaster.

Piety, however, can counteract pietism, but it requires some participation on the part of the free will. To quote Fr. Gabriel once more:
The gift of piety perfects justice in our relations with others by helping us smooth over differences and overcome feelings of reserve and coldness which, in spite of ourselves, may remain in our conduct, particularly to those who are disagreeable and unfriendly. The gift of piety inspires a sense of the divine paternity, not only in respect to ourselves, but in respect for others....

If we wish to respond to the inspirations of the gift of piety, we must make every effort to be kind and gentle, and to form the habit of seeing in everyone, even in those who may be opposed to us, a child of God and our brother. ~Divine Intimacy, p. 911

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Monastery in Tulsa

Here is some wonderful news as well as uplifting words from our friend Fr. Mark:

The Most Reverend Edward J. Slattery, bishop of Tulsa, Oklahoma, intends to establish in his diocese a monastery of Benedictine Monks (Adorers of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus, O.S.B.) dedicated to adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist, intercession and reparation for priests, and the spiritual support of the clergy through hospitality, days of recollection, and retreats.

In This Year of the Priesthood

The project takes on a compelling relevance in the context of this Year of the Priesthood. It is moreover a direct response to the Letter of Cardinal Hummes, Prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy, dated 7 December 2007. Will we be able to break ground for the new Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle during this Year of the Priesthood? Much depends on the generous donations of the faithful. Until now we have not been able to obtain the financial support necessary to launch this noble and worthy work....

The Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle in the Diocese of Tulsa will be a place wherein priests and deacons may go apart for one thing only: to seek God. And where is God to be found except in Christ? "The knowledge of the glory of God," says Saint Paul, "is given to us in the Face of His Christ" (2 Cor 4:6).

Yesterday's Introit is the liturgical expression of this spirituality of the Holy Face. "Thou hast said, 'Seek ye my Face.' My heart says to thee, 'Thy Face, Lord, do I seek.' Hide not thy Face from me" (Ps 27:8-9a). The Holy Spirit works in lectio divina and Eucharistic adoration to reproduce in us the traits of the Holy Face of Christ. Pope Benedict XVI has recommended that both forms of seeking the Holy Face -- lectio divina and Eucharistic adoration -- be part of one's daily rhythm of prayer....

At Holy Mass, priest, deacon, and people together ascend the mountain with Christ. In the reading of the Scriptures, Our Lord reveals His Face; and in the hearing of the Word we go, as the Vulgate puts it, "from clarity to clarity." Today, Moses and Elijah attest to Christ, the fulfillment of the Law and of the Prophets, and point to the mystery of His Exodus by way of the Cross and tomb, from the regions of darkness and of death into the very light and life of the Father.

Passing in every Mass from the Liturgy of the Word to the Liturgy of the Holy Sacrifice, we, like Peter, James, and John, see his glory, not with eyes of flesh, but with the eyes of faith and by the light of the Holy Spirit. We know Him really present in the bread become His Body and in the wine become His Blood and, like Peter, cry out, "Master, it is beautiful to be here" (Lk 9:33).

The altar of the Holy Sacrifice is our Mount Tabor. Over the altar resounds the voice of the Father, "This is my Son, the Chosen One; listen to him" (Lk 10:35). Invisibly yet truly; mystically yet really, the altar -- and all of us who from it partake of the Body and Blood of Christ -- are enveloped in the cloud of the Holy Spirit and assumed into the grand priestly prayer of Christ to the Father.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Appreciating St. Joseph

Esther has a lovely post on the foster father of Our Redeemer.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Where Elijah slept

Concord Pastor has a wonderful, very Carmelite post about Elijah in the desert. We have all had such moments. The hearth cake is a figure of the Holy Eucharist, which can keep us going, giving endurance to those who are properly disposed.
4 And he went forward, one day's journey into the desert. And when he was there, and sat under a juniper tree, he requested for his soul that he might die, and said: It is enough for me, Lord, take away my soul: for I am no better than my fathers. 5 And he cast himself down, and slept in the shadow of the juniper tree: and behold an angel of the Lord touched him, and said to him: Arise and eat. 6 He looked, and behold there was at his head a hearth cake, and a vessel of water: and he ate and drank, and he fell asleep again. 7 And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said to him: Arise, eat: for thou hast yet a great way to go. 8 And he arose, and ate, and drank, and walked in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights, unto the mount of God, Horeb. ~ 3 Kings 19:4-8 (Douai version)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Assumption Novena

The Assumption novena begins today. (Artwork by Titian.)

Mary, Queen Assumed into Heaven, I rejoice that after years of heroic martyrdom on earth, you have at last been taken to the throne prepared for you in heaven by the Holy Trinity.

Lift my heart with you in the glory of your Assumption above the dreadful touch of sin and impurity. Teach me how small earth becomes when viewed from heaven. Make me realize that death is the triumphant gate through which I shall pass to your Son, and that someday my body shall rejoin my soul in the unending bliss of heaven.
From this earth, over which I tread as a pilgrim, I look to you for help. I ask for this favor: (Mention your request). When my hour of death has come, lead me safely to the presence of Jesus to enjoy the vision of my God for all eternity together with you. AMEN.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Pilgrimage to Lourdes

In 2009.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


And St. Peter in Chains. Recta Ratio discusses old, half-forgotten seasons and feasts that are deeply linked with the turning of the year.
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