Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our Lady of America

Some friends asked me about the vision of Our Lady of America. I knew nothing about it and so found this article informative. To quote:
History being what it was however, the United States consists primarily of English-speaking Anglo-Celtic peoples, with the exception of the Southwest corner of the United States, which is heavily Spanish-Mexican in language and culture.  That being clarified, let's get into what we know to be the prophecies of the coming era, especially as they relate to private revelation and the future of the United States.

Above I briefly mentioned the devotion to Our Lady of America.  This was canonically approved in 1963 by the Archbishop of Cincinnati, the late Paul Francis Leibold.  Because of some concern over this, the canonical approval was reviewed by canon lawyer Archbishop (now Cardinal) Raymond Burke in 2007.  (Cardinal Burke is now Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura at the Vatican.)  Cardinal Burke's letter of canonical review can be read here.  Cardinal Burke determined that Archbishop Leibold did indeed canonically approve the apparition and message according to the canonical norms of the Catholic Church, and that because of this, Catholics are free to practice what he described as this 'beautiful devotion.'  The message of Our Lady of America is long, but essentially simple in nature.  Basically, it involves a commitment to the indwelling presence of the Holy Trinity within the hearts of every Christian, and an absolute commitment to chastity and spiritual purity.  We are told in this message that this is God's will for the people of the United States, to lead the world in chastity and spiritual purity, and that failure to embrace God's will on this will only result in our national misery.  Not many details are given as to what this 'misery' entails.  We can assume that much of it is our own doing, since it is obvious that we Americans, as a nation, have not heeded the warning and reformed our lives accordingly.  We have seen American society unravel before our very eyes. (Read entire article.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Pope at Guadalupe

During his recent apostolic visit to Mexico Our Holy Father said:
Dear brothers and sisters, do not forget that true devotion to the Virgin Mary always takes us to Jesus, and "consists neither in sterile nor transitory feelings, nor in an empty credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led to recognize the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to filial love towards our Mother and to the imitation of her virtues" (Lumen Gentium, 67). To love her means being committed to listening to her Son, to venerate the Guadalupana means living in accordance with the words of the blessed fruit of her womb.

At this time, when so many families are separated or forced to emigrate, when so many are suffering due to poverty, corruption, domestic violence, drug trafficking, the crisis of values and increased crime, we come to Mary in search of consolation, strength and hope. She is the Mother of the true God, who invites us to stay with faith and charity beneath her mantle, so as to overcome in this way all evil and to establish a more just and fraternal society.

With these sentiments, I place once again this country, all Latin America and the Caribbean before the gentle gaze of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I entrust all their sons and daughters to the Star of both the original and the new evangelization; she has inspired with her maternal love their Christian history, has given particular expression to their national achievements, to their communal and social initiatives, to family life, to personal devotion and to the Continental Mission which is now taking place across these noble lands. In times of trial and sorrow she was invoked by many martyrs who, in crying out "Long live Christ the King and Mary of Guadalupe" bore unyielding witness of fidelity to the Gospel and devotion to the Church. I now ask that her presence in this nation may continue to serve as a summons to defence and respect for human life. May it promote fraternity, setting aside futile acts of revenge and banishing all divisive hatred. May Holy Mary of Guadalupe bless us and obtain for us the abundant graces that, through her intercession, we request from heaven. (Read entire post.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Blesseds Thomas Pilchard and Matthew Flathers

From Stephanie Mann. Not for the faint of heart.
Remember that hanging, drawing and quartering was live vivisection: a fumbling, inept executioner could prolong the suffering. It was a mercy if the hangman allowed the victim to die while hanging, or at least be unconscious. (Read entire post.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stephanie Mann on the HHS

From the Catholic Writers Guild:
CWG Member Stephanie Mann recently spoke at Discerning Hearts about the connection between the English Reformation and the struggle for religious freedom in the face of the current HHS mandates.
The wonderfully intrepid Stephanie Mann joins us once again to discuss “Supremacy and Survival:  How Catholic Endured the English Reformation”.  The lessons of the past have much to teach us today, especially those experienced in England during the times of the Tudors and Stuarts.  Religious liberty was the issue then, and is the issue today in many places throughout the world…even in the U.S.  It’s not just about freedom of speech, it’s about the freedom of religion.  What will they be writing about 500 years from now about the Catholics in America?  Interesting…
Go here to find the podcast and hear what Stephanie has to say. (Read entire post.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Suffering and Love

From Colleen Hammond:
First, suffering detaches from this world and obliges the heart to rise to heaven, by means of the discomfort which it makes it experience here below, and which proves to it that it is made for something better than the perishable enjoyments of this world, namely, for eternal bliss. Without suffering, our heart would be lost in the love of present things; suffering alone can break the deceptive charms which incline us towards the earth and make us recognize that God alone is the bed of our repose, that outside Him all is vanity and vexation of spirit. Second, suffering purifies virtue, disengages it from all alloy, and makes it enter into that blessed state where God alone is everything to the heart. This is why the more God loves a soul, the less He allows it to remain sleeping for a long time at its ease; He troubles it in its vain enjoyments, and does not permit its heart to be soiled by the current of the waters of Babylon, that is to say, by worldly pleasures, Second, suffering strengthens virtue and gives it the character of solidity which atone renders it worthy of God. As long as a soldier has not exposed himself to fire in the battle, his courage is open to suspicion. It is in the same way impossible to count upon an effeminate soul which has not been tried in the crucible of suffering. A contradiction, a loss, a want of the respect due to it, is sufficient to make it murmur and complain. It is a deceptive piety which is only a mockery of true piety, false gold which shines in the sun, but which cannot resist the fire and vanishes in the crucible. The soul which is tried by tribulation, on the contrary, is fashioned to suffering and contradiction, and is accustomed to sacrifice, remains calm amidst the trials of life, kisses the hand of God which strikes it, directs a glance of submission towards heaven, and rejoices even in its trials, in which it sees the guarantee of future happiness. Whatever our fantastic nature of human judgment may cause it to suffer, the inequalities of temper which oppose it, the deceptions of self-love, the disgust to or the fatigue consequent upon labor, it is firm and unshaken, and the more its heart is wounded and made to bleed through contradiction, the happier it is to be able to offer itself to God as a victim marked with the sign of the cross of His well-beloved Son. Are these our dispositions? (Read entire post.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Silence in Church

A novel conception. What don't we give it a try? To quote:
There is a simple truth at stake. There can be no real relationship with God, there can be no real meeting with God, without silence. Silence prepares for that meeting and silence follows it. An early Christian wrote, 'To someone who has experienced Christ himself, silence is more precious than anything else.' For us God has the first word, and our silence opens our hearts to hear him. Only then will our own words really be words, echoes of God's, and not just more litter on the rubbish dump of noise. (Read entire post.)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

St. John Ogilvie

A Scottish martyr. According to Fr. Hardon:
What ever else was true of Ogilvie he was never lacking, let's call it, daring. He figured, 'all right, I can't seem to do much in Scotland, I'll go to England.' He went to London, got in touch with King James I. He figured, I'll start at the top. The Jesuits in disguise in England said, "Look, in England we don't do it this way. You go back to Paris and get directions from superiors, this free-lancing, we've got enough troubles without you, get directions." So he went back to France to Paris, for directions. First of all, he was reprimanded. The biographers say he was strongly rebuked by his official French superiors for having gone to Scotland in the first place. He got permission to go. They told him, "when we let you go to Scotland, we didn't give you permission to come back." 'Well, the Jesuit superiors in England told me to go back.' "Well, we're telling you, go back to Scotland." So he went back to Scotland and he went to the Metropolitan See of Attenborough and then and again his ministry, very short, very (?) and ended on the gallows.
He would organize more groups of Catholics, always disguised. He specialized in visiting the Catholics who were imprisoned for their faith. Those in prison, he would encourage, the others he would minister with the Sacraments. We're told that he made a few, but very few converts. It might be well to mention here just in passing that Presbyterianism was introduced into Scotland through the murder of the Cardinal Archbishop, primate of Scotland.
More here, from Nobility.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Remembering Clement Shahbaz Bhatti

The first anniversary of a martyrdom has just passed.
He was a devout Catholic deeply committed to justice for those on the margins, especially the Christian minority,  who said not long before he died, I only want a place at the feet of Jesus. I want my life, my character, my actions to speak for me and say that I am a follower of Jesus Christ. (Read entire post.)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Stations of the Cross

They date back to the fourth century.
The emperor Constantine permitted Christians to legally worship in the Roman Empire in 313 after 250 years of persecution. In 335, he erected the Church of the Holy Sepulcher at the site where Jesus’ tomb was believed to have been. Processions of pilgrims to the church, especially during Holy Week, began soon after its completion.
A woman named Egeria, a pilgrim from France, described one such pilgrimage which took place in the fourth century. The bishop of Jerusalem and about 200 pilgrims began "at the first cockcrow" at the site of Jesus’ agony on Holy Thursday night. They said a prayer, sung a hymn, and heard a Gospel passage, then went to the garden of Gethsemane and repeated the procedure.
They continued to Jerusalem itself, "reaching the (city) gate about the time when one man begins to recognize another, and thence right on through the midst of the city. All, to a man, both great and small, rich and poor, all are ready there, for on that special day not a soul withdraws from the vigils until morning," Egeria wrote.
Pilgrimages eventually took a fixed route from the ruins of the Fortress Antonia, where Pilate had his judgment hall, to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. That route through Jerusalem’s Old City gained acceptance as the way Jesus went to his death and remains unchanged today. It is known as the Via Dolorosa, Latin for the "Sorrowful Way."
Stops developed on the way to note specific events on the road to Calvary. In many cases, the pilgrims could only guess where some incidents took place because Jerusalem had been almost completely destroyed by Roman armies in 70 A.D.
The pilgrims brought back oil from the lamps that burned around Jesus’ tomb and relics from the holy places, and sometimes tried to recreate in Europe what they had seen in the Holy Land. The Moslem conquest of Palestine in the seventh century made such shrines more significant, since it made travel to the Holy Land dangerous.
Devotions to the Way of the Cross began in earnest after 1342, when the Franciscan friars were given custody of the holy sites in the Holy Land. The Franciscans have been closely identified with the devotion ever since; for years, Church regulations required a set of the stations to be blessed by a Franciscan when possible.
The number of stations varied widely, with some manuals of devotion listing as many as 37. The term "stations" in describing the Way of the Cross was first used in the narrative of an English pilgrim, William Wey, who visited the Holy Land twice in the 15th century.
Depictions of the events described in the Stations did not start becoming common in churches until Pope Innocent XI permitted the Franciscans in 1686 to erect such displays in all their churches. He also declared that all indulgences given for visiting the sacred sites in the Holy Land would apply to any Franciscan or Franciscan lay affiliate visiting a set of stations in a church.
Pope Benedict XIII extended that privilege to all the faithful in 1726. Five years later, Pope Clement XII allowed all churches to have stations and fixed the number at 14, where it has been ever since. In recent years, many churches have included the Resurrection as a 15th station. Benedict XIV specifically urged every church in 1742 to enrich its sanctuary with stations. (Read entire post.)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

On Temptation

The Holy Father speaks:
As we read in the book "The Imitation of Christ," "as long as he lives man is never entirely free from temptation ... but it is with patience and with true humility that we become stronger than every enemy" (Liber I, c. XIII, Città del Vaticano 1982, 37), the patience and humility of following the Lord every day, learning to build our life not apart from him or as if he did not exist, but in him and with him, because he is the font of true life. The temptation to remove God, to create order in ourselves and the world by ourselves, counting on our own resources, is always present in human history.

Jesus proclaims that "the time is accomplished and the kingdom of God is at hand" (Mark 1:15), announces that in him something new is happening: God addressed man in an unexpected way, with a unique and concrete nearness, full of love; God becomes incarnate and enters into the world of man to take sin upon himself, to conquer evil and being man and the world back to God. But this announcement is accompanied by the request to correspond to a great gift. Jesus, in fact, adds: "convert and believe in the Gospel" (Mark 1:15); it is the invitation to have faith in God and every day to convert our life to his will, orienting every action and thought of ours to the good. The time of Lent is the propitious moment to renew and strengthen our relationship with God, through daily prayer, gestures of penance, works of fraternal charity. (Read entire post.)
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