16 September 2014

Novena to St. Blaise

Novena in Honor of St. Blaise 
     
Preparatory Prayer  
     
ALMIGHTY and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy Heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy Divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the Saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy Divine Son.
 
Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saying, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen.
 
Prayer in Honor of St. Blaise
 
O GOD, deliver us through the intercession of Thy holy Bishop and Martyr Blaise, from all evil of soul and body, especially from all ills of the throat; and grant us the grace to make a good confession in the confident hope of obtaining Thy pardon, and ever to praise with worthy lips Thy most holy name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
Invocation of St. Blaise
 
ST. BLAISE, gracious benefactor of mankind and faithful servant of God, who for the love of our Savior didst suffer so many tortures with patience and resignation; I invoke thy powerful intercession. Preserve me from all evils of soul and body. Because of thy great merits God endowed thee with the special grace to help those that suffer from ills of the throat; relieve and preserve me from them, so that I may always be able to fulfill my duties, and with the aid of God's grace perform good works. I invoke thy help as special physician of souls, that I may confess my sins sincerely in the holy Sacrament of Penance and obtain their forgiveness. I recommend to thy merciful intercession also those who unfortunately concealed a sin in Confession. Obtain for them the grace to accuse themselves sincerely and contritely of the sin they concealed, of the sacrilegious Confessions and Communions they made, and of all the sins they committed since then, so that they may receive pardon, the grace of God, and the remission of the eternal punishment. Amen.
 
Prayer 
     
My Lord and God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the Saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.
 
Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer. Amen.

15 September 2014

Courage

The more a soul loves God, the more courageous it will be in undertaking any work, no matter how laborious, for love of Him.  Fear of fatigue, of suffering and of danger, is the greatest enemy of fortitude; it paralyzes the soul and makes it recoil before duty.  Courage, on the contrary, is invigorating; it enables us to confront anything in order to be faithful to God.  Courage, therefore, incites us to embrace death itself, if necessary, rather than to be unfaithful to duty.  Martyrdom is the supreme act of Christian fortitude, an act which is not asked of all, yet one which it is well not to ignore as a possibility.  Every Christian is, so to speak, a potential martyr, in the sense that the virtue of fortitude, infused into him at Baptism and Confirmation, makes him capable, if necessity requires it, of sacrificing even his life for the love of God.  And if all Christians are not actually called upon to render to the Lord this supreme testimony of love, all should, nevertheless, live like courageous soldiers, accustoming themselves never to desert any duty, little or great, through fear of sacrifice.

[...]

"O Lord God of hosts, You said in Your Gospel, 'I am not come to bring peace but the sword'; provide me then with strength and weapons for the battle.  I burn with desire to fight for Your glory, but I beseech You, strengthen my courage.  Then with holy King David I can exclaim: 'You alone are my shield, O God; it is You who prepare my hands for war.'" (St. Teresa of Avila)

--from Divine Intimacy, by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

Suffering Through







hard to decide which is the more beautiful landscape, as my daughter struggles to make it through the semester...


14 September 2014

Exaltation of the Holy Cross; Canon Avis and Canon Ueda, Take a Bow




On today's Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we of the Oratory said goodbye to Canons Avis and Ueda, who move on to their next assignments. They will be missed. On the bright side, the Oratory welcomed one of its two new Vicars, Canon Andrew Todd, who was just ordained by Cardinal Burke in August. The other new Vicar, Canon Antoine Boucheron, will join the Oratory soon, after completing his assignment in St. Brieuc, France.

To quote the wise philosopher-frog Kermit, "Life is a series of meetings and partings. That is the way of it."

Please continue to pray for all of our dear priests in the Institute, and priests everywhere.

Today's feast in many ways contains the encapsulation of our entire faith. The glory of Resurrection comes only through the Cross of Christ. It is a package deal. Many Christians would like to skip over the rather unpleasant fact of the Crucifixion and get right to fruit of that Sacrifice. As Catholics, we know that this cannot be. In God's time, each moment and all moments together of the life, passion, death, and resurrection of Christ are before Him always.

For eternity, Christ triumphant in Heaven will still be the victim Lamb of God, triumphant on the Cross, where is located His throne. The suffering leads to the glory.

This is the key to the mystery of redemptive suffering, and in His goodness Christ allows us to assist in this mystery by the offering up of the sufferings and crosses we endure. Even then, He assists us, and makes it possible for us to share in His redemptive work.

As men limited by time and space, we encounter this reality through the power of God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Calvary is actually made present-- not just in symbol, but in reality and power-- each and every Mass. We participate in the graces won by our Lord on the Cross, and we feast upon the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the King of Kings.

Our priests, through the crucified Christ they serve, are our link to the sacraments that bring Our Lord to us.


12 September 2014

The Prodigal's Last Chance

So good as to lift in its entirety, from the blog Deo Volente ex Animo:

No doubt Father Barron would be miffed to find me using his movie review to make a point about the present malaise in which our world finds itself, but his is the most attractive argument I've come across to date to help me make my point. Anarchy, evil is raising its ugly head these days in almost apocalyptic fashion (I am purposely understating the case) and a world which has downplayed the centrality of the Gospel message to life and culture finds itself exposed, judged, marked by the Cross of Christ or the sign of the beast.

Most people paint the Ukrainian-Russian War of 2014, the menace of the ISIS Caliphate, and the ravages elsewhere in the world left by failed states and frozen conflicts in terms of conflicting world views struggling for a win, as if there were such choices outside the realm of the truth which comes to us from God in Jesus Christ and saves the world darkened by the fall of our first parents. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Apart from coming home to God in Christ, the prodigal has long since exhausted his options. The utopia/distopia dilemma is false; it is no more than false money, a two sided coin that flip it as you will, what comes up is always a flight from God's Face and from Christ's gentle yoke.

The fundamental existential question for every man and woman on the planet is one and has no variations: Why did God make me? God made me to know, love and serve Him in this life, so as to be happy with Him in the next and for all eternity.

In these trying times, Europe, once Christian, once Catholic Europe, is being called to remember, to remember the God-Man and to come home to itself. Neither North nor South America is excluded from helping Europe come home to itself. No corner of the globe should be deprived of the light of the Gospel and of coming to know its Savior.

PROPERANTES ADVENTUM DIEI DEI






11 September 2014

The Truth. In Charity.

I am late in noticing this absolutely true and absolutely beautiful essay by Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago.

Some of the ideas therein I tried to express in my last post, but His Eminence does it much, much, better. God bless him; items like this keep me going. And many thanks to the friend who sent it to me.

Excerpts (but read the whole thing by all means):

A tale of two churches

Once upon a time there was a church founded on God’s entering into human history in order to give humanity a path to eternal life and happiness with him. The Savior that God sent, his only-begotten Son, did not write a book but founded a community, a church, upon the witness and ministry of twelve apostles. He sent this church the gift of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of love between Father and Son, the Spirit of the truth that God had revealed about himself and humanity by breaking into the history of human sinfulness.

This church, a hierarchical communion, continued through history, living among different peoples and cultures, filled with sinners, but always guided in the essentials of her life and teaching by the Holy Spirit. She called herself “Catholic” because her purpose was to preach a universal faith and a universal morality, encompassing all peoples and cultures. This claim often invited conflict with the ruling classes of many countries. About 1,800 years into her often stormy history, this church found herself as a very small group in a new country in Eastern North America that promised to respect all religions because the State would not be confessional; it would not try to play the role of a religion.

[...]

There was always a quasi-religious element in the public creed of the country. It lived off the myth of human progress, which had little place for dependence on divine providence. It tended to exploit the religiosity of the ordinary people by using religious language to co-opt them into the purposes of the ruling class. Forms of anti-Catholicism were part of its social DNA. It had encouraged its citizens to think of themselves as the creators of world history and the managers of nature, so that no source of truth outside of themselves needed to be consulted to check their collective purposes and desires. But it had never explicitly taken upon itself the mantle of a religion and officially told its citizens what they must personally think or what “values” they must personalize in order to deserve to be part of the country. Until recent years.

In recent years, society has brought social and legislative approval to all types of sexual relationships that used to be considered “sinful.” Since the biblical vision of what it means to be human tells us that not every friendship or love can be expressed in sexual relations, the church’s teaching on these issues is now evidence of intolerance for what the civil law upholds and even imposes. What was once a request to live and let live has now become a demand for approval. The “ruling class,” those who shape public opinion in politics, in education, in communications, in entertainment, is using the civil law to impose its own form of morality on everyone. We are told that, even in marriage itself, there is no difference between men and women, although nature and our very bodies clearly evidence that men and women are not interchangeable at will in forming a family. Nevertheless, those who do not conform to the official religion, we are warned, place their citizenship in danger.

When the recent case about religious objection to one provision of the Health Care Act was decided against the State religion, the Huffington Post (June 30, 2014) raised “concerns about the compatibility between being a Catholic and being a good citizen.” This is not the voice of the nativists who first fought against Catholic immigration in the 1830s. Nor is it the voice of those who burned convents and churches in Boston and Philadelphia a decade later. Neither is it the voice of the Know-Nothing Party of the 1840s and 1850s, nor of the Ku Klux Klan, which burned crosses before Catholic churches in the Midwest after the civil war. It is a voice more sophisticated than that of the American Protective Association, whose members promised never to vote for a Catholic for public office. This is, rather, the selfrighteous voice of some members of the American establishment today who regard themselves as “progressive” and “enlightened.”

The inevitable result is a crisis of belief for many Catholics. Throughout history, when Catholics and other believers in revealed religion have been forced to choose between being taught by God or instructed by politicians, professors, editors of major newspapers and entertainers, many have opted to go along with the powers that be. This reduces a great tension in their lives, although it also brings with it the worship of a false god. It takes no moral courage to conform to government and social pressure. It takes a deep faith to “swim against the tide,” as Pope Francis recently encouraged young people to do at last summer’s World Youth Day.

Swimming against the tide means limiting one’s access to positions of prestige and power in society. It means that those who choose to live by the Catholic faith will not be welcomed as political candidates to national office, will not sit on editorial boards of major newspapers, will not be at home on most university faculties, will not have successful careers as actors and entertainers. Nor will their children, who will also be suspect. Since all public institutions, no matter who owns or operates them, will be agents of the government and conform their activities to the demands of the official religion, the practice of medicine and law will become more difficult for faithful Catholics. It already means in some States that those who run businesses must conform their activities to the official religion or be fined, as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law.

[...]

How does the tale end? We don’t know. The actual situation is, of course, far more complex than a story plot, and there are many actors and characters, even among the ruling class, who do not want their beloved country to transform itself into a fake church. It would be wrong to lose hope, since there are so many good and faithful people.

Catholics do know, with the certainty of faith, that, when Christ returns in glory to judge the living and the dead, the church, in some recognizable shape or form that is both Catholic and Apostolic, will be there to meet him. There is no such divine guarantee for any country, culture or society of this or any age.






If You're Waiting for the Neocatholics to Join You...

...You will be waiting quite awhile.  

Forget all of your past surprise over various members of the hierarchy throwing Catholic teachings in the dustbin-- you know the teachings that in the good old days, LIKE TWO YEARS AGO, seemed pretty clear.  

Forget that in nearly every case, your favorite neocatholic blogger failed to be alarmed.  Sudden radical Papal sanations via the telephone game.  The constant drumbeat to just-shut-up-already-about-the-Gospel-because-it-embarrasses-our-worldly-friends.  Your love of the Mass of the Ages, that just seven years ago was acknowledged to have been in full force and effect from early days until now, well that's unreasonable nostalgia.  Other religions are just as good as yours, or at least good enough on their own.  Lighten up.

The dark hints that the hierarchy will join the Jews of Sixth Chapter of the Gospel of St. John in rejecting the truth about the Eucharist, via amending the teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.  And what do those two teachings have in common?  They both were pronounced by the very mouth of Our Lord.

If Jesus Christ is considered hopelessly "out-of-date", what does it say for any Catholic?  Are you really prepared to go along to get along on the rejection of Christ's own words in order to remain comfortable for a time?

But if you NOTICE any of this weirdness, any of this horrific confusion, any of the many ways our bishops of all ranks are leading us to accommodate the world at the expense of the faith, YOU are a PHARISEE.

You see, you are the problem.  I am the problem.  Catholics are a big problem.  You noticed that homosexuality is listed in the New Testament as a crime crying out to Heaven for vengeance? You bigot.  You noticed Christ said marriage is not severable by man, and that those who "remarry" after a divorce are committing adultery?  You pharisee; mercy trumps all!  And God help you if you notice that encouraging sacrilegious Communion by "remarried" couples is a gravely sinful matter, for both the receiver and the encourager.  

I have been really struggling to find blogging material in the past while for two reasons:  1) I obviously think things are in bad shape in Rome and the world.  You know that too, if you read here.  So, while it is necessary to sound the alarm for those who are still unwary or are honestly seeking the key to reconciling all this, it can get to be so much warning and doom as to be spiritually depressing-- for you and me; and, 2) I don't for the life of me have it figured out myself, except to continue to be Catholic and pray for the graces of Faith, Hope and Charity.  My prayer life is not particularly satisfying at the moment.

In the end, as Christopher Ferrara stated well, I am trying to pick my spots, commenting when I think it can't go unmarked, but otherwise trying to keep my peace of mind.  I don't want to be like the man in the great Bob Dylan's Lonesome Day Blues, who says, 'I keep thinking that something's coming, but it never does.'

So, on to today's post.  One of the ringleaders of the Neocatholic Brute Squad, Elizabeth Scalia, seeks to exonerate Cardinal Dolan for being the source of dismay to faithful Catholics in New York and elsewhere who have had the Church's back for so many years on the subject of the St. Patrick's Day Parade.  She exonerates him for encouraging those attached to the sin of sodomy that they are A-OK just the way they are.  She exonerates him for following the winds out of the Vatican that we don't really care whom or what people interact with in imitation of the marriage act.

In short, my current opinion is that there is NO ENORMITY that will awaken the brute squad to complain.  Books to sell!  Articles to write!  Faithful religious orders to crush!  And don't forget the Quest to Find the Elusive Reverent Novus Ordo  (It's out there!).

Here is a link to her article, if you can stand it.  The siren call of capitulation is seductive-- you can be so smart and holy and world-friendly, all at the same time!  Open the windows wide to the world, let in the fresh air.  Don't be a pharisee!


10 September 2014

Prayer of St. Bernard to the Virgin Mother of God




O MARY, blessed lady who found grace, mother of our life and our salvation, may we have access to thy Son through thee, so that He who was given to us through thee, may receive us through thee. May thy purity excuse the fault of our corruption. May thy humility, which is pleasing to God, implore pardon for our vanity. May thy abundant charity cover the multitude of our sins, and may thy glorious fruitfulness confer upon us an abundance of merits. Our Lady, our Mediatrix, our Advocate, reconcile us to thy Son, commend us to thy Son, and present us to thy Son. O blessed Lady, through the grace thou hast found, through the prerogatives thou hast merited, through the mercy thou didst give birth to, grant us that by thy intercession, He, who deigned to share in our infirmities and misery, will makes us sharers of His glory and blessedness, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord, who is above all blessed God forever. Amen.

09 September 2014

In Gratitude to the Most Holy Trinity

O DEITAS aeterna, o aeterna Trinitas, quae per unionem divinae naturae fecisti tantum valere pretium sanguinis unigeniti Filii tui! Tu, Trinitas aeterna, es quoddam mare profundum, in quo quanto plus quaero, plus invenio; et quanto plus invenio, plus quaero te. Tu quodammodo instabiliter animam satias; quoniam in abysso tua ita satias animam, quod semper remaneat esuriens atque famelica, te, Trinitas aeterna, peroptans desideransque te videre lumen in lumine tuo.

GUSTAVI et vidi cum lumine intellectus, in lumine tuo abyssum tuam, aeterna Trinitas, atque pulchritudinem creaturae tuae: propter quod intuendo meipsam in te, vidi me fore tuam imaginem: donante videlicet mihi te, Pater aeterne, de potentia tua et de sapientia tua, quae sapientia Unigenito tuo est appropriata. Spiritus vero Sanctus, qui procedit a te Patre et Filio tuo, dedit mihi voluntatem, per quam me facit aptam ad amandum.

NAM tu, Trinitas aeterna, factor es, et ego factura: unde cognovi, te illuminante, in recreatione quam me fecisti per sanguinem unigeniti Filii tui, quod amore captus es de pulchritudine facturae tuae.

O abyssus, o Trinitas aeterna, O Deitas, o mare profundum: et quid maius mihi dare poteras quam teipsum? Tu es ignis qui semper ardes et non consumeris; tu es qui consumis calore tuo quemcumque proprium amorem animae. Tu es iterum ignis qui tollis omnem frigiditatem, et illuminas mentes lumine tuo, quo lumine fecisti me cognoscere veritatem tuam.

IN huius luminis speculo cognosco te summum bonum, bonum super omne bonum, bonum felix, bonum incomprehensibile, bonum inaestimabile, pulchritudinem super omnem pulchritudinem, sapientiam super omnem sapientiam: quia tu es ipsa sapientia, tu cibus angelorum qui igne caritatis te dedisti hominibus.

TU vestimentum cooperiens nuditatem meam, pascis nos famelicos tua dulcedine, qua dulcis es absque ulla amaritudine. O Trinitas aeterna!

-- St. Catherine of Siena