Friday, April 30, 2010

Of Controllers, Correctors, and Castigators

Being deceived by pride.
Religious controllers, correctors, and castigators are not found only in the cloister. Very often they lurk in sacristies, piously fussing about, and, like the devil, "seeking someone to devour." In their eyes, nothing is ever rubrically correct. Every alb is either too long or not long enough, too lacy or too lacking in lace. Every candle is either crooked or too short. The incense is not of the right sort, or the right fragrance. Every chasuble is either of the wrong fabric or not quite the proper shade of whatever the liturgical colour happens to be. In his eyes the profound bows are never profound enough, and the mediocre bows insufficiently mediocre. They have an opinion about everything, generally negative, and will offer it without being asked. Saint Benedict knows what a plague such types can be and, in his monastery, he will have none of it.

Hope in the Grace of God

Guard your thoughts.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dangers of the Internet

A warning from the Pope. (Via Joshua Snyder)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Imitating Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Recognizing Calcutta in our midst.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Penance, penance, penance.

The time has come, and is, in fact, long overdue.
In 1943, Sr. Lucia wrote;  "God wishes that it be made clear to souls that the true penance he now wants and requires consists first of all of the sacrifice each one must make to fulfill his own religious duties and daily duties."
Later, in 1946 Sr. Lucia reaffirmed; "The penance which God now asks is this: the sacrifice which each person has to impose upon himself in order to lead a life of justice in the observance of his law.  He wishes this way to be made known to souls with clearness, for many consider the word 'penance' to be great austerities, and not feeling the strength or generosity for such, become discouraged and remain in a life of tepidity and sin." - Sr. Lucia of Fatima; Fatima Today - The Third Millennium, Fr. Robert J. Fox

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Angelo Paoli

A Carmelite priest was beatified today.
Born at Argigliano, Tuscany, Sept 1, 1642; died at Rome, January 17, 1720. The son of Angelo Paoli and Santa Morelli, he was particularly distinguished for his charity towards the poor. As a young man he spent the greater part of his leisure time in teaching Catholic doctrine to the poor children of Argigliano. At eighteen, he was admitted to the novitiate of the Calced Carmelites at Siena. After making his vows he spent six years at his studies, was ordained priest, and appointed to the community at Pisa, where he made rapid progress in perfection. He was subsequently transferred to Cupoli, Monte Catino, and Fivizzano.

Especially devoted to the Passion, he caused wooden crosses to be erected on the hills around Fivizzano (and afterwards in the Coliseum at Rome) to bring the sacred tragedy more vividly before the minds of the inhabitants. In 1687, he was called to Rome and stationed at the Convent of St. Martin. The remaining years of his life were divided between the care of the sick and poor in the city hospitals and the office of Master of Novices. He was called by the citizens “the father of the poor”. Many miracles were wrought by him both before and after his death.

His virtues were declared by Pius VI in 1781 to be heroic, and the general chapter of the order held at Rome, 1908, included his name among those Carmelite servants of God, the cause of whose beatification was to be at once introduced.

A miracle occurred in 1927 and the process for beatification for Angelo Paoli began in 1932. The cause remained inactive although the examination of the miracle by medical specialists had been completed. A cure that is spontaneous and lasting is considered to be a miracle. In this case, the experts concluded that there was no scientific explanation.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Interview with an Exorcist

The Memoirs of Fr. Amorth. (Via The Western Confucian) To quote:
Benedict XVI, as John Paul II before him, indicated the central battle of the Church in our times in the moral topics and the defense of life and of the family. It is a battle against the prevailing culture in a great part of the Western world, and above all in the media. The attempt to discredit the Church and the Pope precisely to weaken the impact of his teaching is evident. Also in an evidently instrumental and incorrect way, trusting in the negative effect of the attack on public opinion -- which often does not have the instruments or the time to carefully verify the veracity of the accusations.
And this is all the more extraordinary inasmuch as if there ever was some one who seeks -- who has always sought -- to cleanse the Church, it is precisely Joseph Ratzinger.

Public Penance

In the light of the scandals that are rocking the Church, public penance sounds good to me. Public sinners,  those responsible for giving scandal of any kind, even if they were kings or queens, once used to publically show that they were sorry by processing down the street in sackcloth and ashes, or kneeling at the doors of the church throughout Lent. I think every diocese should come up with something and that all Catholics be encouraged to participate, with the bishops leading the way. Everyone can learn to chant the Miserere for starters.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pious Frauds

Be on guard, for even the elect can be deceived.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

News and Events

On May 16, 2010 at 2 pm in Gardiner Social Hall of the Activities Center of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in State College, PA. I will be giving a talk about being a Catholic novelist in contemporary society. The discussion will be accompanied by a reading and book signing. Coffee will be served.

I will also be speaking at the Catholic Writers Conference Live during the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show, August 4-6, 2010 in King of Prussia, PA at the Radisson Hotel Valley Forge. I'll post more details about dates and times as I receive them.

The e-book of the Catholic Writers Conference Online 2010 is now available. I am honored to have my presentation included in it. Go HERE and click on the DONATE button on the right-hand side (third topic down). Donations of $10 or more get the e-book.

Reform of the Liturgy

The endless debates about what constitutes a proper hymn or song for Mass would be drastically reduced if we restore the Propers. I'm speaking now of the Novus Ordo which, unfortunately, is so very unstable in its present practice. This fact was reinforced one more time to me during Easter. By sticking to the Propers chanted at Mass, the Easter liturgy shone more brightly and more gloriously than had I had an army of instruments and flashy music. Imagine at the Introit, "Resurrexi, et adhuc tecum sim, Alleluia" being chanted while Father was censing the altar, Paschal candle and baptismal font. The unaccompanied chant immediately sets one in a time outside of time. Isn't that what worship is?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


The greatest enemy of spiritual joy.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Trinity and the Filioque

And the monarchy of the Father.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Trust in God

And follow His teachings. Our Holy Father says:
Remember, too, the question that the Risen Lord put three times to Peter: 'Do you love me?' That is the question He asks each of you. Do you love Him? Do you wish to serve Him through the gift of your whole lives? Do you long to bring others to know and love Him? With Peter, have the courage to answer, 'Yes, Lord, you know I love you', and accept with grateful hearts the beautiful task He has assigned you. The mission entrusted to priests is truly a service to joy, to God's joy which longs to break into the world.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Shroud

What do scientists say and where does the Church stand?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Just Little Things

 My dearest God, I pray for this,
That all through life I may find bliss
In little, oft unnoticed things:
The rippling song the river sings;
A cat at play; wee hidden blooms,
The fragrance of their quaint perfumes;
Small tender plants that fade and die;
Each different shade of summer sky;
Fresh swelling buds; dead floating leaves;
The nest some loving robin weaves.
Then, through the years, as I grow old
A joy unknown to fame or gold
Will fill a heart that ever sings
Of pleasure found in little things.

By a Carmelite Nun

Published with the kind permission of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Rochester, NY

(Artwork: "Spring" by Mark Senior)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Holy Child of Cebu

Ornament of the Far East.

On Easter Joy

The Lord's Easter is the supreme and insuperable act of the power of God. It is an absolutely extraordinary event, the most beautiful and mature fruit of the "mystery of God." It is so extraordinary that it cannot be recounted in its dimensions which escape our human capacity of knowledge and research. And yet, this is also an "historical" event, real, witnessed and documented. It is the event that founds the whole of our faith. It is the central content in which we believe and the principal content of why we believe.

The New Testament does not describe Jesus' Resurrection in its realization. It refers only to the testimonies of those whom Jesus met in person after resurrecting. The three Synoptic Gospels recount this announcement: "He has risen!" -- it is proclaimed initially by some angels. Hence, it is an announcement whose origin is in God; but God entrusts it immediately to his "messengers" so that they will transmit it to everyone, And thus it is these same angels who invite the women, who arrived in the early morning at the sepulcher, to go quickly to tell the disciples: that "he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him" (Matthew 28:7). Thus, through the women of the Gospel, that divine mandate reaches one and all so that, in turn, they will transmit to others, with fidelity and courage, this same news: beautiful news, joyful and bearer of joy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Free to Love

Negation in the doctrine of St. John of the Cross.
To begin with, the starting point for approaching John's negation spirituality is the experience of being loved by a God who desires to enter into a personal relationship of love with human beings and our response to that love. Any notion of self-denial, detach ment, renunciation, or emptiness that is not born of an experience of God's personal love makes no sense to John of the Cross. God always takes the initiative. "We love because he first loved us" (1 Jn 4:19). In the beginning of the Spiritual Canticle , which sings of and recounts the Christian journey toward union with God in terms of love, John writes that the soul is only able to begin the journey of love in search for union with God because she first had an experience of God's love, and as a fruit of that experience, came to an aware ness that love is the purpose of existence (C, 1, 1). It is this experience of God's love that ignites the fire of love within a person so that one can begin the journey towards union with God through love.
       Where have you hidden,
       Beloved, and left me moaning?
       You fled like the stag
       after wounding me;
       I went out calling you, but you were gone. (C, 1)
       For John, this experience of the transcendent but intimate loving nature of God, who takes the initiative and touches us with love, has a profound effect upon us; it begins a trans formation process that frees us to love God, ourselves, creation, and all of life in the way God created us to.
This experience of God's love is pivotal for understanding some of the radical statements John makes about the "nothingness" of creation and all things in comparison to God who is All. For instance:
       All the creatures of heaven and earth are nothing when compared to God. All the beauty of creatures compared with the infinite beauty of God is supreme ugliness. All the grace and elegance of creatures compared with God's grace is utter coarseness and crudity. (A, 1, 4, 3-7)
       To possess God in all, you should not possess anything in all. For how can the heart that belongs to one belong completely to the other? (Letter 17 to Magdalena del Espiritu Santo, July 28, 1589)

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Beauty of the Resurrection Light

Let us not be distracted from it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Feast of Mercy

If you but knew the gift of God.
Our Lord told St. Faustina that on the Feast of Mercy, "...are opened all the floodgates through which graces flow."  It is as if Jesus, "on the last and greatest day of the festival" cries out:  "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me; let him drink who believes in me.  Scripture has it: 'From within him rivers of living water will flow.'" - [John 7: 37-38]

"If only you recognized the gift of God, and who it is that is asking for a drink... Whoever drinks the water I give him will never be thirsty; no, the water I give shall become a fountain within him, leaping up to provide eternal life." - [Jn 4: 10-14] 

Can anyone of us ever be satiated and refuse to come to him?

"Blood and water flowing forth from the side of Christ, I trust in you."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Jesus as Teacher

A new book by a medical doctor offers some insights into the life of Our Lord based on his independent study of Scripture and history. (The article is secular but may be of interest to persons of faith.) To quote:
In the English translation of the Bible Joseph has always been described as a 'just man'. Dr Bradford discovered that the word 'man' has been added and is not in the original Greek text at all. He also found that the origins of the word translated into 'just' more accurately translates to describe Joseph's position in society- most likely as a scholar who helped teach the Torah and was involved in the judiciary. 

Further to this, Dr Bradford re-examined Joseph's position as a carpenter. Again, he concluded there had been a mistranslation and that the Greek word 'tekton'- which describes Joseph's work- more accurately means master builder or architect. 

Dr Bradford claims this would explain why Jesus, who would have been brought up in his father's trade, made so many references to building in his teachings.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Joys of Heaven


The following is an excerpt from Fr. Martin von Cochem's The Four Last Things:
Now that we have meditated upon the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of God, we will proceed to consider the happiness which the Saints who dwell therein enjoy, both in regard to body and soul. It is true as yet they have not their bodies, as a general rule, but at the Last Day they will all have them again, and those bodies will then be so beauteous, that nothing in the world can compare with them. And this will principally be because every member will be endowed with four qualities or attributes, namely: beauty, impassibility, agility, and subtlety. By reason of its beauty or glory the body of each one of the elect will shine like a star, yet, as one star differs from another in glory, so the Saints will shine with greater or less splendour, according as their lives upon earth have been more or less holy. In these glorified and radiant bodies the blessed will be so inexpressibly beautiful, that if a mortal man were now to behold one of these resplendent beings, he would be dazzled by its brilliance and be ready to expire for joy of heart.
In her revelations to St. Bridget, the Blessed Mother of God once said: "The Saints stand around my Son like countless stars, whose glory is not to be compared with any temporal light. Believe me, if the Saints could be seen shining with the glory they now possess, no human eye could endure their light all would turn away, dazzled and blinded." Think what happiness it will be for thee, when thy body shines like the sun at midday. Everything that lives and moves rejoices in the light and warmth of the sun: it gladdens all the face of nature. In like manner thy body will be a joy and delight to thyself and all around thee in Heaven, because of its beauty and its glory.
The second attribute is impassibility, for the glorified body is incapable of suffering. It will never be sick or infirm, it will not grow old or unsightly. It will never again be inconvenienced by hunger or thirst, by heat or cold, by draught or dampness. It can nevermore be burned by fire, drowned in water, wounded by the sword or crushed beneath a weight; it will be immortal, unchangeable, eternally endowed with perfect health and unfailing strength. If any one on earth could purchase this gift of impassibility, how gladly would he give all he possessed to obtain it!
The third attribute is agility. The glorified body will be able to traverse the greatest distance with the speed of thought. In one moment it can come down from Heaven to earth; in one moment it can pass from one end of the Heavens to the other, without labour, without fatigue, without difficulty. We often wish that we could fly like the birds, that we could speed on our way like clouds on the wings of the wind, that we could follow thought in its rapid flight. If it were possible to purchase this power, every one would part with all his worldly wealth for it, if only to obtain it for one single year. How is it, then, that thou dost take so little trouble to ensure for thyself the possession of this gift for all eternity?
The fourth attribute of the glorified body is subtlety, which consists in the faculty of penetrating all matter, of passing in and out wheresoever it will. No wall is so thick, no iron gate so massive, no mountain so great as to form an obstacle to the glorified body. As the sun s rays pass through glass, so the bodies of the redeemed as they are in Heaven, penetrate all matter, however dense and solid it may be. They can also make themselves visible or invisible at will. What wouldst thou not give to become possessed of such a faculty? How great is Thy bounty, almighty God, towards Thine elect ! Thou bestowest upon them precious and sublime gifts, that no amount of this world’s riches can purchase. Who would not gladly spend his life in Thy service and suffer afflictions in this world in order to possess these inestimable gifts to all eternity? Ask this poor frail body if it would not fain shine as the light, be exempt from suffering, move with the speed of thought, be unfettered as a spirit? To own such powers would indeed be a joy and a consolation unspeakable. Wouldst thou not consent to have a hard penance laid on thee for a whole year, if at the end these attributes were bestowed on thee?
If so, then do not esteem it a grievance to lead here below a life of penance, in the hope that these fair gifts may be thine during all eternity. See that here on earth thou love the light, the light of good works; bear all pain and tribulation with patience, be prompt and zealous in the service of God; mortify within thyself more and more all sensual desires, and thou wilt assuredly be the happy possessor hereafter of these four attributes of the glorified body.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Aqua Sapientiae

The water of wisdom.
The Aqua sapientiae, the water of wisdom, reaches us, and irrigates our souls, through the channels of the sacraments. One who stays away from the sacraments will suffer from spiritual drought. The fruits of the Holy Spirit will become scarce. Those that do appear will be paltry and, in the end, will dry up. Sin creates a blockage in the irrigation of the soul. Confession and absolution removes the obstacles that clog the flow of grace. Many of you are looking toward the festival of Divine Mercy this coming Sunday: the Sacrament of Penance renews the grace of Baptism, and opens the heart to the living water that flows from the pierced Heart of the Merciful Christ.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Days of Milk and Honey

Fr. Mark meditates upon the mystery of joy, saying:
In the book of Exodus these words are spoken by Moses to the people; in the liturgy, they are spoken by our new Moses, our leader and true liberator, Christ. They hearken back to the events of the great Vigil. The passover, the cross-over, the transitus, the liberation has indeed taken place. The promised land flows with milk and honey! The milk is the Word of God by which the neophytes are to grow strong and solid in the faith. In the honey, they recognize an allusion to the psalm that, in the ancient Church, always accompanied the Communion procession, “O taste and see that the Lord is sweet” (Ps 33:8). Thus do we find, in today’s Introit, as we shall find it in Wednesday’s Gospel of Emmaus, the fundamental pattern of Christian worship: word (milk) and sacrament (honey).

Spiritual Combat

Now it begins.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Tale of Two Grandmothers

An article about my grandmothers and how they inspired my faith. (Catholic Exchange welcomes similar stories about inspiring women.)

Easter Monday

The Easter season is the season of the martyrs, for it is belief in the Resurrection which gives the hope and courage to sacrifice one's life for love of God. In the liturgy of Paschaltide we read the Acts of the Apostles. The following is a meditation excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, by Fr. Pius Parsch:
"In those days: Peter standing up in the midst of the people, said: You know the word that hath been published through all Judea: for it began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached, Jesus of Nazareth: how God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost, and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things that He did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed hanging Him upon a tree. Him God raised up the third day, and gave Him to be made manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses preordained by God, even to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose again from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead. To Him all the prophets give testimony, that through His name all receive remission of sins who believe in Him." — Acts 10

St. Peter spoke these words to Cornelius, the centurion, and to the household and friends of this gentile, who had called them together to receive the Apostle whom God had sent to him. He had come to prepare them for Baptism, and thus make them the first-fruits of the gentile world, for up to this time the Gospel had been preached only to the Jews. Let us take notice how it is St. Peter, and not any other of the Apostles, who throws open to us gentiles the door of the Church, which Christ has built upon him as upon the impregnable rock.

This passage from the Acts of the Apostles is an appropriate Lesson for this day, whose Station is in the basilica of St Peter: it is read near the confession of the great Apostle. Let us observe, too, the method used by the Apostle in the conversion of Cornelius and the other gentiles. He begins by speaking to them concerning Jesus. He tells them of the miracles He wrought; then, having related how He died the ignominious death of the Cross, He insists on the fact of the Resurrection as the sure guarantee of His being truly God. He then instructs them on the mission of the Apostles, whose testimony must be received—a testimony which carries persuasion with it, seeing it was most disinterested, and availed them nothing save persecution. He, therefore, that believes in the Son of God made Flesh, who went about doing good, working all kinds of miracles; who died upon the Cross, rose again from the dead, and entrusted to certain men, chosen by Himself, the mission of continuing on earth the ministry he had begun—he that confesses all this, is worthy to receive, by holy Baptism, the remission of his sins. Such is the happy lot of Cornelius and his companions.

More on Easter Monday HERE.

A Strength Not Our Own

A meditation from Irenikon.
But now the power of Easter has burst upon us with the resurrection of Christ. Now we find in ourselves a strength which is not our own, and which is freely given to us whenever we need it, raising us above the Law, giving us a new law which is hidden in Christ: the law of His merciful love for us. Now we no longer strive to be good because we have to, because it is a duty, but because our joy is to please Him who has given all His love to us! Now our life is full of meaning!

… To understand Easter and live it, we must renounce our dread of newness and of freedom!

From: Seasons of Celebration by Thomas Merton (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York 1986), Pages 145-46.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pray for Our Pope, Pray for Our Priests

And pray for those who have suffered. Some facts, HERE.
And, from the Archbishop of NY, “What deepens the sadness now is the unrelenting insinuations against the Holy Father himself, as certain sources seem frenzied to implicate the man who, perhaps more than anyone else has been the leader in purification, reform, and renewal that the Church so needs...No one has been more vigorous in cleansing the Church of the effects of this sickening sin than the man we now call Pope Benedict XVI. The dramatic progress that the Catholic Church in the United States has made — documented again just last week by the report made by independent forensic auditors — could never have happened without the insistence and support of the very man now being daily crowned with thorns by groundless innuendo. "

A survivor speaks. (This is powerful.)
Related Posts with Thumbnails