See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Saturday, May 16, 2009

St. Simon Stock

May 16 is also the feast of St. Simon Stock, to whom Our Lady gave the Holy Scapular of Mt. Carmel. It is believed by some that children born on this day have a particular devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel and her Holy Habit. To learn more about St. Simon, click here.
.
(BTW - If any of my readers know where I may obtain a large cord of St. Francis - as the friars and nuns wear, please let me know. Thanks. As a III Order Franciscan, I hope to be buried in one.)

Marge

St. Margaret of Cortona
.
After she got old and ugly from penance, her friends called her Marge, although when she was younger and living with her lover, friends called her Peg - short for Peggy.
.
May 16 is the feast day of St. Margaret of Cortona. Margaret had a great appreciation for her own version of theology of the body, and lived with her lover without benefit of marriage. Her beloved was a dazzlingly good looking rich nobleman, to whom she bore a son. She and Romeo loved dogs, and when they weren't drunk or making love, or dressing up for parties, her boyfriend went hunting - at least that is what he told Peg.
.
One day their dog, Mr. Giustini came home and told Margaret - Peg - to get her coat and come with him. Margaret was rather busy at the time doing a bikini wax, but she put on some clothes and followed Mr. Giustini, shouting at him, "Not so fast! Not so fast darling, I'm spilling my Prosecco all over myself." Finally she took one last gulp, threw her cigarette aside, and ran after the dog.
.
Poor dog was crying and pacing in a clearing in the middle of the woods. Peg saw something that resembled a naked man and thought Romeo had sent for her to have a little tryst in the woods - just as foreplay of course. As she neared the body, she recoiled in horror and disgust, her lover had been beaten severely, almost beyond recognition... he had been brutally murdered... mafia style.
.
Okay, so I made up some of the details, but Margaret really did discover her murdered lover's body, and this led to her repentance - which was sudden, although the process took several years. In fact, in her exile in Cortona, she sought admission to the Third Order of St. Francis, but the friars put her off for 3 years - to test the sincerity of her repentance and conversion. (Our Lord even spoke to her and instructed her to go to Cortona - Gosh! She was having visions and everything - yet the friars dared to make her wait - and wait she did. She didn't sue or protest or defiantly assert her right to be a secular Franciscan - nope - she just put up with it and was obedient. I know!)
.
Interesting isn't it? The poor woman repented - she practiced severe penance - and she even renounced her former way of life. While going through months of anguish in her conversion, she found herself very nearly destitute, abandoned by former friends and family, yet she still had to wait three more years before being admitted just to the novitiate. Think of it - some Catholic bloggers, and on occasion, a few other converts in the news, haven't even been a Catholic that long, and yet they are preaching to the world and demanding the Church change Her teaching on this and that.

.

Now to read an accurate account of the glorious penitent St. Margaret of Cortona, click here or here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Polish Catholic priest says marital sex should be, "saucy, surprising and fantasy packed".

Fr. Knotz says: "Every act - a type of caress, a sexual position - with the goal of arousal is permitted and pleases God. During sexual intercourse, married couples can show their love in every way, can offer one another the most sought-after caresses."

I was a naughty boy.

I went to see Angels and Demons this afternoon - I know! And I spied at least one priest in civies in the audience, his companion may have been a priest as well.
.
"How do you know he was a priest?"
.
"I can tell."
.
"How?"
.
"I can just tell. There were also two guys who were probably seminarians. I can spot nuns out of habit too - didn't see any though."
.
"I don't believe you."
.
"I don't care."
.
So anyway - the movie was entertaining - definitely a fun time - precisely because of the hype Catholic Defense League-type people engendered against it. If nothing else, their protests contributed to the improbability factor of the story, which makes for a little added comedy. I caught several lame styling details - especially in the papal apartments - I love spotting that stuff. There was at least one bad cut in the film as well - it appeared that the extras must have heard "Action!" after the principal characters did - few would have noted it though. Oh! Giorgio Armani was an extra in one of the crowd scenes too - very quick glimpse of him walking by. That is funny in itself.
.
The special effects were fun, many of the sets bordering on visually magnificent, but the acting was just okay. Tom Hanks cracked me up a few times - when he wasn't supposed to. I suspended my belief concerning the plot as best I could - which anyone who knows better would have to do anyway - and pretty much enjoyed the film for what it is. It didn't come off especially anti-Catholic, and to be sure, the preposterous premise of the Illuminati conspiracy is just stupidly inaccurate, although it could be a metaphor for the progressive element in the Church. But like every other conspiracy theory, it is fun to entertain.
.
I caught myself only doing 2 or 3 eye rolls during the film. Some of the last scenes were hard to swallow - and one scene in St. Peter's square was especially funny - to me - no one else seemed to be laughing. (It involved Ewan McGregor.) I don't want to spoil the film for you, so I can't say more. I would never have read the book, so I do not know how closely the film follows it, although I doubt Ron Howard departed from the plan. You would have to already be an unbeliever, and fairly stupid, to believe the story - but like I said, it is fun.
.
I just want to say that I believe the most dangerous anti-Catholics are already within the Church, and have been for quite sometime. Do the names Jenkins, Gumbleton mean anything to you? How about Call To Action, Dignity, Women Priests, and other progressive organizations? Don't forget the ardent Catholics we have in Government; the Kennedy's, Pelosi, Biden, etc. Dan Brown is just chump change compared to them.
.

The good he has done...

Bishop Callahan on Archbishop Weakland.
.
Bishop Callahan said Weakland’s legacy in the church is not just his mistakes but also some of the good he did, including shaping the modern Mass.
.
Callahan, who's known Weakland for years, said he's surprised by Weakland's admission that he is gay. “I think it caught me off guard. It was not necessarily something I was ready to hear coming from the Archbishop,” Callahan said. - Source
.
Ooooooh. Well that's nice. (Marge Simpson's voice.)
.
UPDATE: With money he earned from speaking and writing, and through funds raised by several of his friends, Archbishop Weakland repaid the $450,000 to the archdiocese. In a recent interview with TheAssociated Press, the archbishop said proceeds from the sale of his memoirs will be donated to the Milwaukee-based Catholic Community Foundation.
.
I did not know that before.
.
Ooooooh. Well that's nice.

How great is the dignity of chaste wedlock.

Chastity according to one's state in life.
.
"...that mutual familiar intercourse between the spouses themselves, if the blessing of conjugal faith is to shine with becoming splendor, must be distinguished by chastity so that husband and wife bear themselves in all things with the law of God and of nature, and endeavor always to follow the will of their most wise and holy Creator with the greatest reverence toward the work of God.
.
This conjugal faith, however, which is most aptly called by St. Augustine the "faith of chastity" blooms more freely, more beautifully and more nobly, when it is rooted in that more excellent soil, the love of husband and wife which pervades all the duties of married life and holds pride of place in Christian marriage. For matrimonial faith demands that husband and wife be joined in an especially holy and pure love, not as adulterers love each other, but as Christ loved the Church. This precept the Apostle laid down when he said: "Husbands, love your wives as Christ also loved the Church,"[24] that Church which of a truth He embraced with a boundless love not for the sake of His own advantage, but seeking only the good of His Spouse.[25] The love, then, of which We are speaking is not that based on the passing lust of the moment nor does it consist in pleasing words only, but in the deep attachment of the heart which is expressed in action, since love is proved by deeds.[26] This outward expression of love in the home demands not only mutual help but must go further; must have as its primary purpose that man and wife help each other day by day in forming and perfecting themselves in the interior life, so that through their partnership in life they may advance ever more and more in virtue, and above all that they may grow in true love toward God and their neighbor, on which indeed "dependeth the whole Law and the Prophets."[27] For all men of every condition, in whatever honorable walk of life they may be, can and ought to imitate that most perfect example of holiness placed before man by God, namely Christ Our Lord, and by God's grace to arrive at the summit of perfection, as is proved by the example set us of many saints. - Casti Connubii, Pio XI, 31 December 1930
.
I wonder if Encyclicals are meant to be ignored?

San Isidro Labrador


St. Isidore the Farmer.
.
His feast day is May 15.
.
St Isidore married Maria Torribia, a canonized saint, who is known as Santa MarĂ­a de la Cabeza in Spain because her head (cabeza in Spanish) is often carried in procession, especially during droughts. Isidore and Maria had one son, who died in his youth. On one occasion their son fell into a deep well and, at the prayers of his parents, the water of the well is said to have risen miraculously to the level of the ground, bringing the child with it, alive and well. Isidore and Maria then vowed continence and lived in separate houses. - Source

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Go ask Alice...

When she's ten feet taller than Christopher West...
.
Seriously. Dr. Alice von Hildebrand has leveled a reasonable criticism of Christopher West's popularization of John Paul II's Theology of the Body.
.
Renowned Catholic thinker Dr. Alice von Hildebrand has criticized Theology of the Body speaker Christopher West, saying his approach has become too self-assured. She criticized his presentations as irreverent and insensitive to the “tremendous dangers” of concupiscence.
.
“My feeling is that Christopher West has become famous because he started discussing the Theology of the Body, which is extremely appealing topic. The difficulty is that, in the meantime, he became so famous that I do believe he has become much too self-assured and has lost sight of the extreme sensitivity of the topic.” - Source
.
The doctor is in - and she nailed it. I have to wonder what Dr. von Hildebrand would say to the Polish priest who recently published his treatise on the joy of Catholic sex. "Sex in marriage, the Franciscan friar explains, should not be boring but "saucy, surprising and fantasy packed". Right - remember the news story about the Baptist minister who was murdered by his wife because he forced her to dress up like a whore, engage in sex acts that violated her sense of proprietry (sodomy), and forced her to have sex against her will?
.
Christopher West’s approach makes him forget that sex is “an extreme danger.” Though sex can be sanctified, that sanctification implies “a humility, a spirit of reverence, and totally avoiding the vulgarity that he uses in his language.”
.
The Fall had consequences that are “so serious” that it was only the Redemption and the grace of God could remedy.
.
The fight against concupiscence is “not an easy process,” Dr. von Hildebrand continued. “It is something that calls for holiness, which very few of us achieve. It is a sheer illusion to believe that by some sort of new technique we can find the solution to the problem.”
- Source

Conscience

Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.
.
While at adoration Wednesday afternoon, I came upon the words of Our Holy Father Pope John Paul II from his encyclical On the Holy Spirit. I can't go into detail as to how and why I found this passage, except to say it was a stunning illumination, so to speak. Nevertheless, it was quite an ordinary grace since I am normally quite aware of conscience through the Ignatian practice of a sort of partial and particular or closer examine each day. One at noon, the other at bedtime. The Holy Spirit guides and consoles us in this form of prayer through His convincing concerning sin.
.
"The Gospel's "convincing concerning sin" under the influence of the spirit of truth can be accomplished in man in no other way except through the conscience. If the conscience is upright, it serves to "resolve according to truth the moral problems which arise both in the life of individuals and from social relationships"; then "persons and groups turn aside from blind choice(s) and try to be guided by the objective standards of moral conduct". A result of an upright conscience is, first of all, to call good and evil by their proper name..." - Dominum et Vivificantem
.
I understood this is why contemporary culture is so anxious to normalize immoral behaviors and lifestyles, in order to dull the conscience of individuals and society, blocking any "convincing concerning sin". And this is a cause for concern precisely because it can lead to the most unforgivable sin of all, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
.
"If man rejects the "convincing concerning sin" which comes from the Holy Spirit and which has the power to save, he also rejects the "coming" of the Counsellor - that "coming" which was accomplished in the Paschal Mystery, in union with the redemptive power of Christ's Blood: the Blood which "purifies the conscience from dead works". - Dominum et Vivificantem

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sr. Lucy? Or an impostor?

Did you know some people believe the real Sr. Lucy of Fatima was replaced with an impostor? I know! It's a crazier conspiracy theory than the film Angels and Demons - and maybe just as anti-Catholic. Why? Because the story casts doubt upon the integrity of Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, as well as Cardinal Sodano, former Secretary of State to Pope John Paul II. Not to mention the Sacred Vatican Council II. Yes, it really does.
.
The researcher, who based her conclusions upon photos of the seer (shown above), argues: "If she (Sr. Lucia) expressed such serious concern about the importance that the Third Secret be revealed in 1960, why was she silent about it for the next 40 years? Contradicting what she had previously stated, how could she confirm the supposed secret that was unveiled by the Vatican in 2000, along with an “official interpretation” by Cardinal Ratzinger and Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone who then declared the Fatima episode closed, “a part of the past” ? These, and many other questions, could be explained by the fact that there was a different Sister Lucy being presented to the public after 1960. I have pointed out the differences not only between the faces of Sister Lucy I and Sister Lucy II, but also in their spirits and attitudes. - Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.
.
I'm not going into detail with this story, except to say it is as ridiculous as the Bayside claim that Paul VI was also replaced by an impostor. ROFLOL!
.
H/T to my friend who sent me this story in jest.
.
A note to my other friend Angela - The woman who wrote the article is a Ph.D. - see what little difference that kind of a pedigree makes? Doesn't guarantee a thing.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tell them you have a new project. It will never be finished.

Re-directing.
.
Yesterday I found much encouragement and inspiration from Michael O'Brien's recent letter to artists, which made me aware of how much time I have squandered through worldly cares and self-indulgence, not discounting all of the time wasted online.
.
Go to the very source. Go to Christ and ask for all that you need, ask for growth in skill, for the spirit of perseverance, for faith and courage and love. Ask for a spirit of discernment in order to find your way through the fog of our times. Ask for humility and faithfulness, and for the ability to incarnate Truth in beautiful forms. Be a servant of the One who is the source of all Beauty. Be his beloved. Be very little, and trust in this absolutely.
.
Avoid at all costs anything in your thoughts or impulses that tends in the direction of ambition (even disguised as ambition “for the sake of God’s kingdom”), self-promotion, manipulation, climbing the ladder of success. “Success” in worldly terms may or may not be what God has in mind for your life, but He surely desires that we each be blessed with the only real success, which is to bear the fruit He desires us to bear. It is not your task to make it happen in worldly terms. It is your task to respond to grace and create works of art that will enrich and bless the lives of others. He will do the rest, according to his holy will.
.
I beg you, I beg you, I beg you not to bow before the spirit of this world, no matter how benevolently and reasonably it presents itself to you. Over the years I have watched so many gifted young people lose their gifts when they succumbed to the false success-failure scenario. Their intentions were good, but they did not understand the nature of this struggle. Far better to study the seasoned old masters in all the arts. Learn from them, humbly, obediently, submissively (sub-missio, within the mission). Read Dostoevsky and Bloy and Flannery O’Connor and Wendell Berry; listen to Rachmaninoff and Gorecki and Bach and Eric Genuis; see the films of Andrei Tarkovsky and Ermanno Olmi, gaze upon the icons of Andrei Rublev and the post-Renaissance epiphanies of painters like Rembrandt and Rouault. The list is inexhaustible. Go ahead, explore! Reconnect with the holy chain of being, with the flow of time’s continuity, find your own true position in the great unfolding drama. Be a success in God’s eyes. - An Open Letter to Fellow Artists




Gordon Brown

Spending tax-payer money. Crooks.