30 November 2015

Advent: Spiritual Plan

Hello, everyone, and welcome back.  I hope you had a relaxing Thanksgiving break.  With Advent here I thought it might be helpful to some readers to have a clearinghouse of ideas for Advent spiritual reading.  I have in the past used Divine Intimacy, by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD, and will likely use it again this year for daily meditation in Advent and beyond.  I have also begun the classic, Spiritual Combat, which was a favorite of St. Francis de Sales.

Anybody else have an offering?

26 November 2015

Psalm 94


[1] Come let us praise the Lord with joy: let us joyfully sing to God our saviour. [2] Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; and make a joyful noise to him with psalms. [3] For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. [4] For in his hand are all the ends of the earth: and the heights of the mountains are his. [5] For the sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.

[6] Come let us adore and fall down: and weep before the Lord that made us. [7] For he is the Lord our God: and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. [8] Today if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts: [9] As in the provocation, according to the day of temptation in the wilderness: where your fathers tempted me, they proved me, and saw my works. [10] Forty years long was I offended with that generation, and I said: These always err in heart.

[11] And these men have not known my ways: so I swore in my wrath that they shall not enter into my rest.

24 November 2015

Ecclesiastes 12

1Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the time of affliction come, and the years draw nigh of which thou shalt say: They please me not: 2Before the sun, and the light, and the moon, and the stars be darkened, and the clouds return after the rain: 3When the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall stagger, and the grinders shall be idle in a small number, and they that look through the holes shall be darkened: 4And they shall shut the doors in the street, when the grinder's voice shall be low, and they shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall grow deaf. 5And they shall fear high things, and they shall be afraid in the way, the almond tree shall flourish, the locust shall be made fat, and the caper tree shall be destroyed: because man shall go into the house of his eternity, and the mourners shall go round about in the street. 6Before the silver cord be broken, and the golden fillet shrink back, and the pitcher be crushed at the fountain, and the wheel be broken upon the cistern, 7And the dust return into its earth, from whence it was, and the spirit return to God, who gave it. 8Vanity of vanities, said Ecclesiastes, and all things are vanity.

9And whereas Ecclesiastes was very wise, he taught the people, and declared the things that he had done: and seeking out, he set forth many parables. 10He sought profitable words, and wrote words most right, and full of truth.

11The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails deeply fastened in, which by the counsel of masters are given from one shepherd. 12More than these, my son, require not. Of making many books there is no end: and much study is an affliction of the flesh.

13Let us all hear together the conclusion of the discourse. Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is all man: 14And all things that are done, God will bring into judgment for every error, whether it be good or evil.


About Those Rigid Seminarians...

I found this link at Pewsitter, so I thank them for that.  It is the story of one vocation that was plucked from a modernist-run seminary.  An important insight into what one must believe is not an isolated case.  Excerpts below of the full article at Torch of the Faith:
 _________________



When I had been at Ushaw seminary for a few weeks, a student from several years higher up the house came to give me some well-meant advice. The conversation went something like this:-

''I've noticed that you go to Morning and Evening Prayer every single day.''

''Er... Yes. What about it?''

''I wouldn't do that if I were you.''

''Really! Why not?''

''Well, you see, the staff are going to notice that type of thing and they'll say that you're too rigid. That'll come back on you later on. It has already happened to other lads before you came here. It would perhaps be best if you have a sleep-in some days and skip going to chapel once or twice.''

I was as dumbfounded then as I was when another well-intentioned man came to warn me not to have my orthodox books or devotional material on open show on the bookcase in my room. I was astounded. If you could get labelled as ''rigid'' for just saying your daily prayers, or reading orthodox material, then what hope was there for your vocation, or even your faith, during 6 years in that atmosphere? You've got to remember, too, that I had worked in a high-street bank for 9 years before this. I'd had my own car, savings and everything. After about two days in the place, I phoned my Dad and said that it felt like I'd gone in a time-machine from 90's England to Hitler's Germany or something.

[…]

I had a good friend, a mature and highly educated young man, who got labelled as being ''scrupulous,'' for checking the palms of his hands for crumbs from the large, crumbly and powdered triangles of bread which were used for the Holy Eucharist; no receiving on the tongue in that regime.

Another good friend was labelled ''homophobic'' for quoting from the teaching about homosexuality in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, during a class discussion.

[…]

In Goodbye Good Men, Michael Rose exposes the fact that seminarians who began to stand up against the evils around them soon found themselves being labelled as 'rigid,' 'pre-conciliar,' or 'anticommunity'. Quoting from the famous Fr. John Trigilio, author of Catholicism for Dummies and co-host of EWTN's Web of Faith, Rose compares the kind of constant surveillance and persecution, which faithful Catholics received in Modernistic seminaries, to the type of psychological warfare employed by the KGB in Soviet Russia. In light of that, Fr. Trigilio explained: ''The one book that helped me persevere through my 12 years of seminary, was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago. Funnily enough, together with Michael Rose's book, this is one of the titles which has most helped me in the years of trying to recover after the spiritual-gulag of Ushaw.

[…]

All of this, together with his frequent negative comments about orthodox Catholics, formed the backdrop to my hearing of Pope Francis' words, to a conference of priestly formators at the weekend, about seminarians.

He said: ''When a youngster is too rigid, too fundamentalist, I don't feel confident (about him). Behind it there is something that he himself does not understand. Keep your eyes open!''

Francis framed this rhetoric with suggestions of neurosis, psychological instability and the concept of rigid priests ''biting'' people.

[…]

From my own experience, I have to say that there are plenty of unbalanced characters who have been ushered through toward ordination, even though - or likely because - they were irreverent and effeminate dissenters from the Magisterium. At the same time, plenty of good men were put through the wringer, or even prevented from getting into the seminary system to begin with, just because they were faithful and orthodox Catholics. I've said here before, that I've seen lads turned away at selection for believing that the Church is hierarchical, for supporting Humanae Vitae, or for being forthrightly pro-life.

[…]

Having suffered so much in the spiritual-gulag that was Ushaw college in the 1990's, and having witnessed the ''rigid'' label being abused to destroy and hinder good and orthodox vocations from England, America, Germany, Holland and Ireland; I must say that Pope Francis' comments to seminary formators at the weekend have put me back a long, long way.

I imagine that now they will be used by Modernists in seminaries everywhere to do just that - in the sense of putting them back in their formation - to plenty more orthodox young men who are presently in the system.

[…]

22 November 2015

An Accurate Observation

From Hilary White at The Remnant

This brings me back to the warning issued last night by an online hacker/activist group, identified only as “Anonymous,” who listed “Feast of Christ the King celebrations (Rome/Worldwide)” as being among those under direct threat today.

After Mass, I told Father what I had read on the news aggregators in the morning. We agreed that it was an appropriate accompaniment to the readings. But how strange it is that the only people who seem to really understand what is going on are the terrorists themselves – who are clear that they are waging war on Christendom and the Catholic Church’s ancient claims to temporal supremacy – and the Traditionalists, who are the only Catholics remaining in the Church who still understand what that means. Nearly everyone else will miss the point.

20 November 2015

Teachers Heaping, Ears Itching


2 Timothy 4:3
 

Fear Not, Little Flock




Today is the Feast of St. Felix of Valois:

Epistle (1 Cor. 4:9-14)

Brethren, we are made a spectacle to the world, and to Angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ: we are weak, but you are strong: you are honorable, but we without honor. Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted and have no fixed abode, and we labor, working with our own hands: we are reviled, and we bless: we are persecuted, and we suffer it: we are blasphemed, and we entreat: we are made as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all even until now. I write not these things to confound you, but I admonish you as my dearest children: in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Gospel (Lk. 12:32-34)

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: Fear not, little flock, for it hath pleased your Father to give you a kingdom. Sell what you possess, and give alms. Make to yourselves bags which grow not old, a treasure in heaven which faileth not: where no thief approacheth, nor moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.




19 November 2015

State Department Warns Americans Abroad about Visiting Vatican

Yep, these are the jokes, kid.

Liturgical Reflections by an Amateur

Nothing major, but a couple of takeaways from Mass this morning.  Today's feast is St. Elizabeth of Hungary, with a commemoration of Pope St. Pontianus.

The Introit (Ps. 118:75, 120:1) hit me: 

I know, O lord, that Thy judgements are equity, and in Thy truth Thou hast humbled me: pierce Thou my flesh with Thy fear, I am afraid of Thy judgements. (Psalm) Blessed are the undefiled in the way who walk in the law of the Lord. Glory be to the Father. I know...

Pretty good wake-up call and prescription for life, if you ask me.

The other item is the Postcommunion for the Commemoration of Pope St. Pontianus.  I took it as one pontiff praying for another:

Appeased by this Sacrifice, O Lord, in which Thou hast nourished Thy Church on heavenly food, do Thou so guide her that she may be steered with a firm hand and, while enjoying more liberty, may persist in wholeness of faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

Amen, indeed.  Have a great day.

18 November 2015

At Last: the West Moves to Protect Its Cultural Treasures from Mohammedan Violence

Italy: Bob Dylan concerts to have armed guards

"That in the midst of this fickle world we may always live under Your protection"



God, who led the children of Israel dry-shod through the sea, and showed the way to the three Magi by the guidance of a star; grant us, we pray, a happy journey and peaceful days, so that, with your holy angel as our guide, we may safely reach our destination and finally come to the haven of everlasting salvation.



God, who led your servant, Abraham, out of Ur of the Chaldeans, and kept him safe in all his wanderings; may it please you, we pray, also to watch over us, your servants. Be to us, Lord, a help in our preparations, comfort on the way, shade in the heat, shelter in the rain and cold, a carriage in tiredness, a shield in adversity, a staff in insecurity, a haven in accident; so that under your guidance we may happily reach our destination, and finally return safe to our homes.



Lord, we beg you to hear our request that you guide the steps of your servants along the path of well-being that comes from you, and that in the midst of this fickle world we may always live under your protection.



Grant, we pray, O Almighty God, that your party of travellers find a safe route; and heeding the admonitions of blessed John, the precursor, come finally to Him whom John foretold, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.


All: Amen.
 

V. Procedamus in pace.

R. In nomine Domini.

Amen.



--from the Itinerarium

Got Out of Church




Found these in my car.

17 November 2015

In a Good Place

The worse things get, the more reassuring it is to be Catholic.  It's the only answer to evil in the world and the only meaningful way to face individual suffering.  When one looks at the crucifix, it is very hard to claim that God has forgotten us, or doesn't care.

I have refrained from posting the latest outrages from Rome.  It simply doesn't matter anymore.  The masks are off, there are no illusions for those who will see.  Yet we are called to a radical obedience.  Obedience to Christ and a firm reliance upon Him, and not on our own strength.  

Well, that's not an original thought, of course.  But events keep putting the focus on that, so that even the stupidest person in the world (I'm looking in the mirror here) can finally get his head around it.

God willing, I'll keep my head around that.  The problem isn't the knowledge or the foresight to see what's coming.  Who cares?  The necessary thing to have the faith, hope and joy to live during the tension that comes before.  Patience, wait on the Lord.

Now back to the day.




16 November 2015




We must always remind ourselves that we are pilgrims until we arrive at our heavenly homeland, and we must not let our affections delay us in the roadside inns and lands through which we pass, otherwise we will forget our destination and lose interest in our final goal.” (St. Ignatius of Loyola)


Potential

One day you will become delicious jamón ibérico!

To JJR, on the Feast of St. Gertrude

Matthew 25:1-13

[1] Then shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. [2] And five of them were foolish, and five wise. [3] But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: [4] But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. [5] And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept.


[6] And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. [7] Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. [8] And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. [9] The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. [10] Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut.

[11] But at last come also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. [12] But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. [13] Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.

13 November 2015

France

The eldest daughter of the faith is rocked again by mass shooting. Prayers for the deceased and their families, first and foremost.

But just to get it out of the way, the problem isn't Mohamedanism. It can't be the fault of France's laws against private gun ownership.

My bet is on Catholic religious extremism or possibly climate change.



This Is Not a Vatican II Allegory

Or is it?


12 November 2015

Prayer Request

Please in your charity remember friends of mine in your prayers. They need assistance today. Thanks. 

Rise of the Victim Conquerors

Straying again into the political, which I don't like to do, I found this article at TakiMag to be fairly interesting. The author points out that the question, "Why?", needs to be asked a lot more often.

An excerpt:

Behold the “victim conquerors,” those who come to victimize in the name of victimhood, those who come to wreck lives and livelihoods in the cause of fighting racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, and any other phobia Salon.com can cook up this week. These defensive aggressors are usually impervious to reason, and they live in hermetically sealed echo chambers to avoid it. And most of all, they hate being asked why. That’s the kind of question that can so disturb a “victim conqueror,” it can lead to a seventeen-year grudge. That one little word has a lot of power.

Healthy Art without the Wheat Belly




Sorry, but I just loved this.


11 November 2015

Veterans Day




I didn't want Veterans Day to go by without adding my thanks to all the heroes who fought for our freedom. Truly, they do not receive the credit they deserve.

Pardon Me a Little Sentimentality

But this is truly good news.  Leah Rimini, former star of King of Queens and a longtime member of the Scientology cult, has re-embraced her Catholicism and has also baptized her 11-year old daughter in the Catholic Church.  I'm under no illusions, mind you.  I don't know much about her and I cannot speak to the experience she had in Scientology or in her reversion to the Faith.  In other words, I'm not claiming she is St. Augustine or anything.  But this is good news all the same.

The article above, from People magazine of all places, is a typical celebrity-bright puff piece.  And yet, though it isn't designed to be theological (or maybe because it isn't designed to be theological), there are some parts that reveal the beauty of the faith and the workings of grace.

 I highlight just a few, and add my own comments:

Leah Remini on Embracing Catholicism After Scientology: 'To Me It's What Religion Is Supposed To Be'



By Kathy Ehrich Dowd



After more than three decades as a Scientologist, Leah Remini tells PEOPLE she is now finding comfort in Catholicism – and is embracing it for all the ways she feels it differs from Scientology.

"Nobody is asking me for money. Nobody is demanding that I come," she tells PEOPLE in its latest cover story. "I light a candle. I sit and I listen." 

Remini, 45, broke with Scientology in 2013 after growing up within the controversial religion, and rising in stature within the church after she found fame on The King of Queens. 

But the actress – who just released her tell-all book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology – says her exploration of Catholicism is also a return to her roots, explaining that she was baptized Catholic and learned about the religion from her Sicilian grandmother.

In September her daughter Sofia, 11, was also baptized Catholic.

[…]

Remini, meanwhile, says she is finding peace as she visits a Catholic church "by myself, sitting and praying and doing my rosary."

"Sometimes I don't do anything," she continues. "To me it's what religion is supposed to be: a beautiful thing.” 
___________________

1. Religion is supposed to be a beautiful thing.  True religion is a beautiful thing.  Beauty is true, it reveals the Truth--the Christ.  The neo-iconoclasts of the last fifty years know this truth as much as the most devout Catholic.  The uglification of churches and rites was never accidental.

2. I sometimes debate with other Catholics about the wisdom or desirability of baptizing infants where their family situation does not look promising that they will be raised in the faith.  Reasonable people can disagree on this, but you cannot convince me that Rimini's baptism hasn't been the source of this beautiful conversion.

3. Note the peace that comes to her from lighting a candle; sitting and listening; and praying the Rosary. There is more "active participation" in these humble activities than in the enforced participatory cacophony of the typical novus ordo. At least that is what I've always found.

Anyway, it's a small piece of good news, but good news nonetheless. I pray she perseveres in the Church. We all know it won't help her career.

Abject Missouri, Indeed

I have been trying to find the time to write about the idiocy that is the Great Racial Drama at the University of Missouri.  Before I could, two other writers have written about it better.  Typical.  That's what you get without a paypal donation button on here, folks.

The long and the short of it is this: we are done as a society. Ferguson and Mizzou teach all of us that if you form a mob and threaten people with violence or theft, you will be mollified.  Again and again.

The first piece comes from the neocon journal of record, National Review, which pleasantly enough actually nails this issue.  Excerpts below: 

Tim Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri, is resigning his post, an act of extraordinary cowardice on the part of the university.


[…]

Wolfe, black students insisted, has “enabled a system of racism” at the university. What exactly that system of racism consists of remains vague. The complaints include the by-now-familiar litany, beginning with the fact that the university administration was silent on the matter of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., a year ago. Multiple investigations of the Brown shooting, including the one conducted by Barack Obama’s Department of Justice, have concluded that there was no criminal conduct by police in the case. But even if there had been, what business is it of the University of Missouri? The purpose of a university administration is to administer the university, not to provide a salve for every hurt, real or imagined, that besets the increasingly childish adults it is intended to serve.

[…]

When men with souls made of cotton candy wilt in the face of this sort of absurdity, it encourages it. Wolfe is, by his resignation, rewarding destructive and deeply illiberal behavior. (In response to the racism hysteria, a student went on a hunger strike, and a group of black players on the football team threatened to boycott the remainder of the season. That a 4–5 team might skip the remainder of its games is hardly an institutional crisis, but the preservation of mediocrity is the highest priority of college administrators.)

[…]

Here are the facts: Drunk people often are unpleasant; Michael Brown was a criminal who got himself shot by attacking a police officer​; racism is a distinctly minor factor in American public affairs, less significant, in fact, than phony accusations of racism; if Mizzou never plays another quarter of football, the world will go on; University of Missouri students desperately need to grow the hell up and start acting like adults. 

_______________

The other piece is a fairly well reasoned item, considering it comes from the sports blogging world.  Clay Travis of Fox Sports says what needs to be said. Again, excerpts:


Not content to just engage in a dumb protest with no cogent political goals, the Mizzou protest officially hit post-satire status this afternoon when Mizzou faculty members -- including a communications professor currently doing a research study on 50 Shades of Grey -- bullied a student journalist who had the audacity to take photographs of protesters in a public place.

You know, as he's constitutionally allowed to do under the First Amendment.

Watch this video:
 

My five favorite quotes:

1. "Our friend's life is on the line and we're asking you to respect that!"

HIS LIFE IS ON THE LINE BECAUSE HE'S ON A VOLUNTARY HUNGER STRIKE.

You can't put your own life on the line by not eating. Since, you know, you can end the death crisis by eating.

2. "You lost this one, bro."

Yes, this reporter totally lost this one. If by "lost this one," you mean, exposed this protest for the total sham that it is to the entire nation.

3. "You are an unnecessary reporter, you do not respect our space!"

YOU'RE PROTESTING ON THE QUAD! IT'S A PUBLIC SPACE!

4. "It's our right to walk forward."

---, Mizzou, how can you have so many insufferable losers all bunched together at one time.

5. Female carrot top professor: "I need some muscle over here."

This video should make your blood boil if you have any comprehension of the first amendment at all. See, what these protesters believe is all too common on college campuses today -- the first amendment should only apply if you agree with what people are saying. Otherwise, you don't deserve the right to speak. 

Now let's talk about the two Mizzou employees featured in the video. Why identify them? Well, they bullied a student seeking to report on a major campus event. They've thrust themselves into the center of a major story. I think it's fairly significant that Mizzou, which boasts one of the top journalism schools in the country, is employing people who don't want the students' "safe space," whatever that means, violated. Here's a crazy idea, maybe pick somewhere other than a public quad to hang out if you need a safe space.

[…]

You should be ashamed of yourself, Mizzou. This is what happens when today's delicate flower children grow up believing that college should be a place where no one ever says anything to make them sad and those of you on campus with working brains don't stand up and call them out for being pathetic losers.