28 July 2015

Not That El Camino: or, God Can Speak through Tee Shirts, Too

I wanted to write about the El Camino I saw on Saturday-- the feast of St. James the Greater, or as he is also known, Santiago Matamoros (St. James the Moorslayer).  

And I will tell you up front that this post will be rather long-- I haven't posted in eight days, so deal with it.

I speak not of the official car of 1970s Arnold, MO, but, rather, of el Camino de Santiago, the ancient pilgrimage route to the tomb of St. James the Greater in Santiago de Compostela.  I should say "routes", because there are several main ones, with the most popular one being the Camino Frances, which begins (for most) at the town of St. Jean Pied-de-Port in France.  It crosses the Pyrenees into Roncesvalles, and continues in the northern third of Spain through Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, and Astorga, finishing in Galicia. 800 km in all, or about 500 miles.

A list of famous pilgrims on the Camino would be long, but St. Francis of Assisi took it, and St. Ignatius of Loyola took it. That is inspiring. Perhaps slightly less inspiring, so did Jenna Bush.

The full Camino Frances can take five weeks or so.  That is hard for a working lawyer to arrange.  In fact, it is hard for a non-working lawyer to arrange. At best, I could arrange two to three weeks, allowing for my practice; allowing for children's care, I could allow zero.  So, though I have long had the desire to make this pilgrimage, here I am in my late forties still unpilgrimized.

Those pilgrims who can verify (through walk-acquired stamps in their pilgrim credentials) that they walked at least 100 km receive a Compostela, a document issued by the Church at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, which is rather impressive indeed.  So, many pilgrims who are pressed for time but who like validation, begin the journey at a spot along the Camino Frances to match the time they have.  The shortest distance places the pilgrim at the town of Sarria.  Some people with two weeks begin in Leon.  

I would not criticize anyone's starting point; the commitment to pilgrimage (for many on the way still hold this as a religious pilgrimage) is laudable, even for a walk of three to five days.  But since the Camino Frances is so hallowed, and because I pray to walk it from start to finish before I die, starting in the "middle" or near the end, doesn't satisfy somehow. 

But, there are other routes, as I said.  And so, I have set my sights on the Camino Portugues, which has its own famous pilgrim-- St. Isabel (Elizabeth) of Portugal.  The route can start in Lisbon, but Porto, where St. Isabel began, is also a traditional starting point.  It takes roughly twelve days of walking to go from Porto to Santiago, passing through Barcelos and crossing the Rio Minho into Spain at Tui. Hence, one can walk a "complete" route in the time of a typical American vacation.

A couple of years ago, my wife and I, and two of our friends, made tentative plans to go on this pilgrimage to ask God for a cure for a friend who was very ill.  We only had a minimum of time, and planned on a whim, so we thought to do the bare minimum walk from Sarria to Santiago on the Camino Frances.  As it turned out, we couldn't make that plan work, and so we refrained.

Now, on to the title of my post.  As I said, Saturday, July 25, 2015, the Feast of St. James the Greater, I saw a sign I believe to be from God.  Yes, it was on a tee shirt.  I was driving back home from taking my daughter to dance class, and as I neared an intersection I saw a young boy walking his bicycle, waiting to cross.  His tee shirt was yellow and red-- the color of the Spanish flag.  I looked at what was written on it: it read "El Camino".  Below some image was written "de Santiago".

I hear my brother scoffing as he reads, but I ask you: is it impossible for God to speak through tee shirts?  No, sir.  And I choose to take this unlikely tee shirt, worn by a child in St. Louis, MO, of all places, on St. James' very feast day, of all times, as a sign that time is wasting.  It is time to go walking.

It is time to make a real pilgrimage.  If I could arrange it, I would make it coincide with the Synod against on the Family this October. Certainly my sins have contributed to this mess, and a little (or more like a lot) expiation would do me good, and maybe, in God's providence, do some good for the Church.  If God wants that plan to come about, He will have to act in a practically obvious way to clear my schedule, because otherwise I see it as unlikely.

But I wanted to "go public" with my plan to walk the Camino Portugues in 2016.  If the Synod goes horribly, expiation is called for.  If it miraculously goes well, thanksgiving is in order.  And, really, I would like to dedicate it to my wife in thanksgiving for 25 years of a wonderful marriage, and to seek forgiveness of all of my failings towards her over the years.

Now, far be it from me to suggest anything to the Institute, but wouldn't it be great to have a priest to offer the traditional Mass along the way?

However it may go, I want to go.  And with God's help, I will go.


Still True

is this excellent analysis of the situation from Patrick Archbold, published last year.

21 July 2015

October Song: The Church Must Do Her Duty by the Truth

Bishops must lead and ought to lead, but we must maintain the faith in the face of everything hell can throw at us. Excellent post at Rorate Caeli:



The Catholic Church then is, and always will be, violent and intransigent when the rights of God are in question. She will be absolutely ruthless, for example, towards heresy, for heresy affects not personal matters on which Charity may yield, but a Divine right on which there must be no yielding. Yet, simultaneously, she will be infinitely kind towards the heretic, since a thousand human motives and circumstances may come in and modify his responsibility. At a word of repentance she will readmit his person into her treasury of souls, but not his heresy into her treasury of wisdom; she will strike his name eagerly and freely from her black list of the rebellious, but not his book from the pages of her Index. She exhibits meekness towards him and violence towards his error; since he is human, but her Truth is Divine.  (Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson, Palm Sunday Homily, Paradoxes of Catholicism).

October's Synod approaches...


God Bless America?

There are no words to describe the putrescence of the baby murderers at Planned Parenthood and those who cooperate with them. In any decent country they would be rounded up and executed. Yes, executed: capital punishment for capital crimes is well within the bi millennial teaching of the Church. Justly punishing the murderers of babies is pro-life.

Why in the world is God so merciful with us, still giving us time to repent? This of course shows His love and His greatness, but at some point you have to think time will run out.

20 July 2015

The Maniturgium

Congratulations to Long-Skirts, the sometime commenter poet, whose son was ordained to the priesthood this July.  She wrote several poems on the occasion, which you can read at her site.  This one spoke to me.  It concerns the maniturgium, which is used to bind the ordinands hands during the rite.* In the photo taken from her site, her son is on the right, I believe.
 

THE
MANITURGIA

Linen-wrapped hands
Cloth-wrapped in tomb
First signs of life
Wrapped in the womb.

Hidden, veiled,
Cloaked away
Sacredness
Gold in gray.

Bursting bright
From slate shroud cloud
Gilded sun
Brilliant, proud.

Fingers anointed
Then set free
As from her womb then tomb
For thee.

The Bread of Angels
From His wheat
Seeds sown deep
In loam and peat.

Forever his fingers
Consecrating
Hidden Jesus
Elevating.

The maniturgia,
Now tucked away
To wait for mother’s
Deathly day

When in my coffin,
Hopefully shrived,
My linen-wrapped hands
When I have died

Will reach out begging,
Though I am least,
Lord have mercy
My son’s a Priest!!

 _______________ 


MANITURGIUM: A fine linen cloth, often embroidered with fine lace or some insignia, used by a newly ordained priest after annointing with holy oils. ... This Maniturgium is then put aside by the priest to be used to place in the hands of his deceased mother before burial. (The Church Visible by James-Charles Noonan, Jr.)

The Optimistic Pessimist, or the Pessimistic Optimist?

I get all kinds of advice in my life.  Most I seek out, then ignore, like most people.  Don't get me wrong, I try to follow advice that I seek; nothing is more annoying than for someone to approach me for advice and then tell me it is worthless. But it is good to recall that one can choose not to follow advice, but that doesn't mean the advice wasn't considered and heeded.

Among the advice that I don't seek out, one stands out as most popular: don't be so pessimistic.

I try to reassure the advice-giver that I am not a pessimist at all.  In fact, I think I am usually a naive optimist trying for realism.  For example, I know that Christ and His faithful triumph in the end.  I pray for the virtue of Hope.  But I still think that civilization as we know it is headed down the toilet.  Am I a pessimist?

Anyway, via The Tenth Crusade, this sermon by Fr. George Rutler hit home for me.  Enjoy:

_____________________________


FROM THE PASTOR
July 19, 2015

The pessimist and the optimist are much alike. Though the maxim has the pessimist seeing a glass half-empty and the optimist seeing it half-full, what they share is the confinement of their perspectives to the glass and what is in it. I’d rather be an optimist, because he tends to be more valiant. King Saul with his spear was a pessimist who though that Goliath was too big to be killed, and David with his slingshot was an optimist who thought that the giant was too big to miss. But the attitudes of both were psychological. The morose personality sees threat, and the buoyant personality sees opportunity, but reality for both is only perception. It has been observed that the pessimist is an unhappy idiot and the optimist a happy idiot, for the self and the self’s humor are the measure of all things.

There is agreement among both kinds of personalities that the world is going to end. Grimly or happily, they can cite physicists who expect that our own planet will be finished by the year 500,000,000,000 AD. But it will be too hot to sustain human life within a mere one billion years. These days, many seem to be pessimists who think that the world will end faster than expected, at least in terms of livable conditions affected by climate change. Some take this as a new Gospel, and skeptics are treated as heretics facing an opprobrium as harsh as it is capricious and as capricious as it is vicious. The argument is declared settled, even though no true science is ever settled.

No less a brain than that of Isaac Newton was confident that the world would end in 2060 AD. The jury is still out on that. Now some Russian scientists complicate things by predicting that a 60% drop in solar activity will cause a mini-ice age from 2030 to 2040, similar to the freeze from 1645 to 1715. We do know that Paul Ehrlich’s book, The Population Bomb, predicted in 1968 that long before now 4 billion people would have starved to death, including 65 million in the United States. He continues to lecture to well-fed students at Stanford University.

Grigori Rasputin contaminated Russia with his pessimism, predicting that the world would end on August 23, 2013. That only happened in places like Detroit. He was the opposite of P.G. Wodehouse’s blithe Madeline Bassett who thought that “the stars are God’s daisy chain,” and “every time a fairy blows its wee nose a baby is born.”

The only settled science is that of the soul. It is neither pessimistic nor optimistic. It is the realism of Christ who is the Eternal Logos, reason itself. Against pessimism and optimism it posits the virtue of hope. By hope, one trusts God will grant eternal life and the means to attain it if one cooperates with the divine will, while recognizing the difficulties that lie in the path toward that blissful eternity. Hope has no patience for its dark enemy pessimism, nor for its gossamer imitation optimism.
 
Faithfully Yours in Christ,
Fr. George W. Rutler

Meatless Friday Monday: Curmudgeonly Sunday Shopping, Apparel, and Social Engineering Edition

I know what you're thinking:  "This blog doesn't have enough posts about shopping on Sunday or how people dress, and their relation to the Greek banking crisis."

Wrong.

19 July 2015

Pope Reminds Clergy of the Necessity of Dignified Comportment

“In order never to be guilty of any unedifying act, the priest must regulate his actions, his movements and his habits in harmony with the sublimity of his vocation. He who on the altar almost ceases to be mortal and takes on a divine form, remains always the same, even when he comes down from the holy hill and leaves the temple of the Lord. Wherever he is, wherever he goes, he never ceases to be a priest, and the serious reasons that compel him always to be grave and appropriate accompany him with his dignity everywhere.

“Hence he must have that gravity that will ensure that his words, his bearing, and his way of working arouse love, win authority and excite reverence. For, the very reasons that oblige him to be holy make it a duty for him to show it by his outward acts in order to edify all those with whom he is obliged to come into contact. A composed and dignified exterior is a powerful eloquence which wins souls in a much more efficacious manner than persuasive sermons. Nothing inspires greater confidence than an ecclesiastic who, never forgetting the dignity of his state, demonstrates in every situation that gravity which attracts and wins universal homage.

“If, on the contrary, he forgets the holiness of the sacred character which he bears indelibly impressed and engraved on his soul, and if he fails to show in his outward conduct a gravity superior to that of certain men of the world, then he causes his ministry and religion itself to be despised. For when gravity is wanting in its leaders, the people lose respect and veneration for them.”

-- Pope St. Pius X, that is


h/t Tradition in Action

17 July 2015

2T2


[1] And we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of our gathering together unto him: [2] That you be not easily moved from your sense, nor be terrified, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by epistle, as sent from us, as if the day of the Lord were at hand. [3] Let no man deceive you by any means, for unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, [4] Who opposeth, and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God. [5] Remember you not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things?



[6] And now you know what withholdeth, that he may be revealed in his time. [7] For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way. [8] And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, him, [9] Whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, [10] And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: [11] That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.



[12] But we ought to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, beloved of God, for that God hath chosen you firstfruits unto salvation, in sanctification of the spirit, and faith of the truth: [13] Whereunto also he hath called you by our gospel, unto the purchasing of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. [14] Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle. [15] Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God and our Father, who hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation, and good hope in grace, [16] Exhort your hearts, and confirm you in every good work and word.

--2 Thessalonians 2