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, January 09, 2010

Meek and humble of heart...


Learn from me...
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Christ is the teacher, as well as the example and model of meekness and humility, as are the saints who imitated him - despite the fact no one can really ever take the last place from him, he who became least in the Kingdom of God for our sakes.
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Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine.
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Obviously I lack genuine humility and meekness, as many of my blog posts demonstrate.  One good thing about blogging is that it exposes our weaknesses and faults rather conveniently - whether we like it or not - albeit unnoticed by ourselves at the time.  If we are the least bit objective about ourselves, we can get some idea of how bereft of meekness and humility, even charity, we are by the critique we make of one another's positions, statements, and/or the person himself.   
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The advantage of seeing the mote in our brother's eye is that we just might be aware enough to realize the log in our own eye.  I don't know about you, but many times, when I notice or comment about something annoying in another, more often than not I'm guilty of the same thing - either coincidentally or I acted thus in the past.  Of course, there but for the grace of God - that meaning; if I do not have such and such a fault or irritating habit I notice in another - then the cause underlying my imperious attitude may well be unacknowledged envy or jealousy.  Which returns us to consider the subject at hand - the virtues opposed to such vices - meekness and humility.  A humble person simply cannot be jealous or envious.
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From time to time as I look forward to Lent, I want to use the blog to reflect upon the virtue of humility.  Don't be fooled by me - I am not humble, but I seek to learn of Christ who is.  As I meditate and study, I will print a few things the spiritual masters have taught - for our mutual edification perhaps - but mainly because I think better when I write or paint.  Pope Benedict XVI, in an allocution for Epiphany alluded to the necessity of meekness and humility in the life of the Christian.
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People do not accept Christ's invitation to come to him when they are too self-assured and display the "pretentiousness of understanding reality perfectly well and the presumption of already having come to a definite judgment about things, which makes their hearts closed and insensitive to the novelty of God," he said.  What is missing in the world, he said, is authentic humility and courage, which allow people to recognize and put their trust in what is truly great, "even if it is manifested in a defenseless baby." - Source
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These are incredibly important words to ponder, especially in our times.  The Holy Father echoes Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J. in one of his letters from prison:
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"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished?  For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity.  God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word.  He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Meditation, Magnificat, January 8.  (The entire entry ought to be read as it really corroborates with the Pope's statement quite well.  Alfred Delp: Prison Writings)
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The Holy Father stated that insensitivity, smugness, and pretension keep people from experiencing the true joy and love found in Jesus Christ, who is meek and humble of heart.  Think about that.
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"Meekness.  Our Lord rightly associates meekness with humility, since the former cannot be practiced without the latter.
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Meekness is a complex virtue which comprises three principal elements: a) a certain self-mastery, which forestalls and checks impulses of anger; from this point of view it is related to temperance; b) tolerance of the failings of others, which demands patience and, therefore the virtue of fortitude (courage); c) forgiveness of injuries, and benevolence towards all, even our enemies; in this respect it is inclusive of charity.  from this respect we see that it is a combination of virtues, rather than a distinct virtue." - Tanquerey, Spiritual Life, Moral Virtues, III: 1154,1155
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Notice how the Holy Father fits this description of meekness.  
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 Art:  Esteban Sampzon: "Christ of the humility and patience."

Totally bizarre...


So last night I clicked on WDTPRS blog and suddenly there was sound!  I do not subscribe or ever listen to podcasts but last night there was sound on fr. Z's blog - it was a Connie Francis song.  (How old is Fr. Z anyway?)  Then!  Then!  Fr. Z's voice comes on like a station identification thing!  Oh! Oh!  And then after that, some Chinese thing comes on - like a Chinese guy being strangled or something.  No kidding.  No I wasn't drunk or on drugs.  I have to admit the Z man does have a great voice for radio - but what a freaky way to find that out, huh?
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BTW, you can follow Father on Twitter, Plurk, Facebook, etc.  You can also register as a follower of Father's blog if you care to take the time to do so.  I do not follow him but he is one blog I check a couple of times a day.  I never went to the trouble to register or subscribe however, since he's in my favorites and that works well for me.  Oh!  And don't forget the awards are coming up - voting is going on - you can even vote for Father once a day every day if you like.  Like the Democrats said in the last election, "Be sure and vote and vote often!"
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"Let another praise you - not your own mouth; someone else, not your own lips." - Proverbs 27: 2
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Art: Detail, Edward VI and the Pope: An Allegory of the English Reformation

Friday, January 08, 2010

Angela


She has a post up fishing for compliments.  I know!  She's Dutch.

Hrdlicka


I wasn't aware that the artist Alfred Hrdlicka, famed sculptor of the grotesque, died and was buried in Vienna shortly before Christmas last year.  The Communist artist was given a Roman Catholic funeral... 
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Cardinal Schonborn permits burial of Stalinist artist... before he headed off to Medjugorje.
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This Sunday an Austrian state-artist, Stalinist, blasphemer and pornographer Alfred Hrdlicka was buried in Vienna.The media hungry Viennese Cathedral Priest Anton Faber provided a Catholic burial for the blasphemous artist.What followed was a cabaret act where many of Vienna's leftist politicians came to mourn in the presence of unappealing bronze statues where Father Faber in his solemn black cope read the blessing for the unrepentant Communist and blessed him with holy water as his red lacquered casket was lowered into the ground with a hammer and chisel atop it in place of the traditional crucifix; meanwhile a gypsy choir sang Communist songs predicting the victory of the Red Revolution, which had cost the lives of so many Christians.It should go without saying that canon law forbids the burial of non-Catholics (Hrdlika was Old Catholic) and unrepentant sinners.The following video shows some of his hideous "artworks" which adorn the Barbara Chapel in the St. Stephens Cathedral in which his funeral service was held, where Fr. Faber announced that "we are hopeful of his eternal life"... - Go here to read more and view the video.
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Art: Blessed Mary Restituta Kafka, Martyr - by Alfred Hrdlcka - Read more.

The creche at the Cathedral of St. Paul



This is the creche I worked on at the Cathedral - the paintings I did are at the sides, the views through the back windows, and the angels in the loft.  They are difficult to see in the photo - as it should be - they are intended simply as backgrounds.  The shinny rectangular object above Our Lady is a lantern.
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Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 07, 2010

St. Raymond 'of Pinafore'...


Today is the feast of St. Raymond, patron saint of denim jumpers, hence the title, 'of Pinafore'...
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Legenda aurea:
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King James of Aragon valued St. Raymond so highly that on several occasions he sent him on missions to the Holy Sea. At one time, however, he stoutly resisted Raymond's admonitions regarding chastity, and a miracle was required before the monarch would stop his amorous research associated with his theology of the body studies. This miracle took place on a vacation to the resort area of Majorca on which Raymond had accompanied the king in the hope of strengthening Christianity there. They had been on the island only a short time when Raymond discovered tabloid photos of the king cavorting on the beach with the courtesan Charo. The king refused to listen to Raymond's protests, and when Raymond threatened to leave the island, the king, who was afraid the story would be all over the media, threatened with death anyone who would give him passage. Thereupon, Raymond spread his pinafore on the water, set up his staff as a mast, and, having rigged up a corner of the garment as a sail, boarded this miraculous "boat," setting his course for Barcelona. He arrived there the same day, having covered 140 miles in about six hours...
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Happy feast day Ray of Stella!
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Truth be told...
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St. Raymond is actually known as of Penafort, his title being the name of his noble family.  When I was little, I used to think it was of pinafore - which so happens to be the correct term for a garment some women find themselves so attached to, otherwise known as jumpers.  I just embellished the story a wee bit to fit the clothing theme, for the true story of St. Raymond, go here.

Kitsch


While on the subject of the Archbishop Weakland memorial...
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Kitsch is not just something second rate Catholic retailers sell, or the unholy images we place in our churches.  I found the following on The Lion and the Cardinal - one of the better blogs online BTW.  The brief excerpt may help to understand why many of us become so uncomfortable with what Catholic popular culture often mistakes for piety, liturgy, art, and authentic spirituality.

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On KITSCH
-Roger Scruton:
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Kitsch, as I see it, is a religious phenomenon - an attempt to disguise the loss of faith, by filling the world with fake emotions, fake morality and fake aesthetic values....
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Faith exalts the human heart, by removing it from the market-place, making it sacred an unexchangeable. Under the jurisdiction of religion our deeper feelings are sacralized, so as to become raw material for the ethical life: the life lived in judgment. When faith declines, however, the sacred is unprotected from marauders; the heart can be captured and put on sale. When this happens the human heart becomes kitsch. The clichéd kiss, the doe-eyed smile, the Christmas-card sentiments advertise what cannot be advertised without ceasing to be. They therefore commit the salesman to nothing; they can be bought and sold without emotional hardship, since the emotion, being a fantasy product, no longer exists in its committed and judgment-bearing form.
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Much of our present cultural situation can be seen as a response to this remarkable phenomenon - never, I think, encountered before in history. Kitsch reflects our spiritual waywardness, and our failure, not merely to value the human spirit, but rather to perform those sacrificial acts which create it. Nor is kitsch a purely aesthetic disease. Every ceremony, every ritual, every public display of emotion can be kitsched - and inevitably will be kitsched, unless controlled by some severe critical discipline... Think of the Disneyland versions of monarchical and state occasions which are rapidly replacing the old stately forms...
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It is surely impossible to flee from kitsch by taking refuge in religion, when religion itself is kitsch. The modernisation of the Roman Catholic Mass and the Anglican Prayer Book were really a kitschification: and attempts at liturgical art are now poxed all over with the same disease. The day-to-day services of the Christian churches are embarrassing reminders of the fact that religion is losing its sublime godwardness, and turning instead towards the world of mass production. And surely Eliot was right to imply that we cannot overcome kitsch through art alone: the recovery of the tradition is also a reorganisation of our lives, and involves a spiritual as well as an aesthetic transformation.

[Modern Culture by Roger Scruton. Continuum International Publishing Group. 2007] - Source
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Russian Christmas


Merry Christmas to our brothers and sisters who follow the Julian calendar.  Blessed Christmas to the Russian and Greek Church, and especially the Church suffering in the Middle East, Ethiopia and Egypt.  Pray especially for the Copts who were martyred in a drive-by shooting while leaving church this Christmas.
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Troparion: It is truly meet to bless Thee, O Theotokos, the ever blessed and most immaculate, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim. Thee, who without defilement gavest birth to God the Word, the true Mother of God, we magnify Thee.

Memorializing the scandal... Archbishop Weakland, Protector of Children.


Mary Mother of the Church and the Weakland memorial.
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The artwork is stunning - I think it is beautifully executed.  The relief of Archbishop Weakland could be that of a saint... but a protector of children?  That seems to be how it is being interpreted.  One of the artists responded to a growing number of critics:
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The relief bronze panel below Mother Mary depicts the diversity of the Milwaukee Catholic community. It is ,indeed, the tower of St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in the background and St. John is on the right with Archbishop Weakland on the left. The young mother in the foreground represents Mother Mary with today's children and Christ Child. The elderly woman praying represents St. Anne. The portrait of Father Last (current rector of the Cathedral) is also depicted in the background. You are correct that our intention was to merge the biblical message with contemporary reality. - Anna Koh Varilla
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Opponents to the Weakland memorial are asking why a dissident archbishop is permitted to speak in his former cathedral for the dedication of the shrine next Tuesday, January 12.  I expect dissident is the correct term since Weakland is openly homosexual and advocates a change in Church teaching regarding homosexual behavior.  He also left Milwaukee in disgrace and scandalized many across the United States. 
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Next Tuesday leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) will hold a sidewalk news conference on the steps of Milwaukee’s Catholic Cathedral urging newly installed archbishop Jerome Listecki to explain:
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  • --why disgraced former archbishop Rembert Weakland is being honored next Tuesday, January 12th, with giving the keynote address at the Cathedral on the renovation of St. John’s;
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  • --why, as part of that renovation, Weakland commissioned charitable money to be used to create a bronze relief of himself pictured in the biblical scene of Jesus protecting the little children (the relief is on the pedestal of the Mary, Mother of the Church Shrine, which is on the east side altar of the cathedral);


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  • --why, for the first time since the 2002 revelations of paying half a million dollars in hush money to a man who says Weakland sexually abused him, is Weakland being allowed to ascend the Cathedral pulpit, but not in order to explain his covering up of child sex abuse crimes;


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  • -how these actions are going to help bring about the desperately needed healing and resolution of the ongoing clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis in the Milwaukee archdiocese. - Source

Amazing, huh?

H/T to Paula for the story.
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Link:
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News report

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Drama Wednesday...

The priest towards the end is especially edifying.

Argument of the Month Club hosting Christopher A. Ferrara Esq. January 12, 2010



The art of pious dissent?
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With Thomas E. Woods, Jr., Remnant contributor, Christopher A. Ferrara co-authored a book called "The Great Facade: Vatican II and the Regime of Novelty in the Roman Catholic Church."  The book makes for an intriguing, if not disturbing read, for anyone interested in the crises that emerged in the Church following Vatican II.  Very well written, well researched, and well documented, the book casts suspicion upon the Magisterium as well as the concilior Popes as regards changes to the liturgy initiated by Vatican II and the Mass of Paul VI. 

The last time I checked, Pope Benedict XVI has not only been supportive of Vatican Council II, he has stood in solidarity with his predecessors who promulgated it - specifically the Novus Ordo Mass of Paul VI.   
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The AOTM announcement  of Ferrara's guest appearance reads:
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Author and pro-life attorney Christopher A. Ferrara (who worked on the Theresa Schiavo case) will argue that current condition of the Church arises from a failed experiment in liberalism that has never risen to the level of binding Catholic doctrine. Hence the title of his widely acclaimed study of changes in the Church after Vatican II: The Great Facade.
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Mr. Ferrara will address what the book calls “a regime of novelty in the Roman Catholic Church” since Vatican II and what he contends are its disastrous effects on virtually every aspect of the Church’s health and well-being. In one of his most controversial statements Mr. Ferrara declares that ”The Council’s much-vaunted ‘opening to the world’ was, in truth, a suppression of the Church’s immune system, resulting almost immediately in the many-faceted disease that now afflicts her.” He contends that the Church is quite capable of putting Vatican II and the changes that followed behind her, because neither the Council nor the Popes since the Council have imposed on the faithful any real change in what a Catholic must believe or do in order to be Catholic. He considers “getting over the Council” a matter of urgent priority for the Church.


To their credit the AOTM format allows for debate:
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More than a monologue, the presentation will involve Mr. Ferrara stating his case and then letting the moderator and the audience “have at him” (with Catholic decorum and good humor, of course!) in the manner of an appellate argument before judges. As Mr. Ferrara told us: “I love a hot bench.” This will indeed be a spirited evening in the tradition of the Argument of the Month.  

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It should be an interesting evening, a conspiracy theorist's dream perhaps.
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Links to Christopher Ferrara and some of his writings:
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Fatima Priest, the story of Fr. Gruner, a priest suspended by The Congregation for Clergy in 2001.
Excerpt:  "In short, Father Gruner and the apostolate were an annoyingly persistent reminder of the teaching of all the Popes before 1960 on the Social Kingship of Christ and the Queenship of Mary. But that teaching had been replaced by the "Spirit of Vatican II", by Ostpolitik and world ecumenism, by "dialogue", "human rights" and the "civilization of love." The new vocabulary could not be at home with the old. All the antiquated pre-conciliar talk of kings and queens, and every knee bending before the Lord, and Russia converting, and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart--all of it was hopelessly out of place in the new arrangements Vatican emissaries had forged with the powers of the world, and most especially the United Nations. It was necessary, then, that Father Gruner and the apostolate be silenced, but not in a way which would call any attention to the underlying questions." - FATIMA PRIEST  
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The Art of Pious Calumny, a rebuke to the former EWTN priest Fr. Francis Mary regarding a warning he made concerning Fr. Gruner.  Within Mr. Ferrara's article he makes a rather startling statement regarding Cardinal Ratzinger:

"As for the alleged opinion of Cardinal Ratzinger that the Consecration (of Russia) has been accomplished, we may ask: What authority does Cardinal Ratzinger have to bind the whole Church to believe that a consecration of Russia need not mention Russia? This is not a matter of Catholic doctrine but of fact. Our Lady requested the consecration of Russia, but the Pope consecrated the world rather than Russia in order to avoid offending the Russian Orthodox. Therefore, Russia has not been consecrated — any more than a new church has been consecrated (set aside and dedicated) for worship in a ceremony consecrating the whole diocese." - The Art of Pious Calumny
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At the time Cardinal Ratzinger was head of the CDF, and then of course he was elected Pope.
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The Secret Still Hidden, Ferrara's book which casts doubts upon the Holy See's affirmation that the secret of Fatima has been revealed in it's entirety.  Promotional video here.  A description of the book reads:
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  "This book is the first full-length examination of the grounds for rejecting Cardinal Bertone's version of the facts in the Third Secret controversy. The Cardinal's own statements, including his book and radio and television broadcasts in 2007, are shown to demonstrate beyond any doubt that a text of the Secret has been suppressed, evidently under an unjustifiable mental reservation that the text is not "authentic." - Source
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Noisy Gong Rhetoric - an excellent review of The Great Facade:
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"More disturbing than the myriad mischaracterizations and distortions is the authors’ lack of charity displayed on seemingly every page. With the exception of paying lip service to someone’s probable holiness, they have not a kind word for those with whom they disagree. Indeed, it is the snide tones in which they paint their arguments that makes this book particularly difficult to read. "That theological ‘surprises’ are alien to the perennial Catholic magisterium poses no difficulty for the neo-Catholic mentality" (p. 71), they write at one point, and at another, "We will nevertheless undertake a further demonstration of what is obvious to everyone but neo-Catholics" (p. 165). This sort of insult is common.
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The book also accuses those it ridicules of doing nothing in the face of the crisis. But how do they know? When prominent American Catholics meet with Roman prelates, how do the authors know nothing is said or done? How do they know whether many of us write our bishops, withhold donations, and even attend different parishes because of liturgical problems?" - Source
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I never fail to be surprised by the lack of charity and the lack of meekness and humility amongst traditionalists, who even within their own circles tend to separate into factions, always straining the gnat, as it were.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Twelfth Night! (Redux)


Today is the last day of Christmas.  I so love 12th night! Even if I don't do anything about it any longer.  When I used to entertain I had a little party on this night as well as on St. Nicholas Day. 
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Twelfth Night is the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany.  The word epiphany is from the Greek, usage of which dates back to pagan mythology, referring to the point where a god traveling among men makes himself manifest.  The manifestation in this case being of the God-Man, the only true God; the Infant Jesus, Christ our God, to the Three Wise Men - who represent the Gentiles.
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As everyone ought to know, the Twelve Days of Christmas refers to the period between Christmas and Epiphany; prior to modern times it was customary for gifts to
be exchanged on Epiphany rather than Christmas itself, in commemoration of the gifts presented by the the Three Kings; magi, astrologers, whatever is the current translation of the NAB. In Italy and other Latin countries, it is yet celebrated with gifts.
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Romantic Lords, 12th Night would be the loveliest night of the years to present your fair maiden with a lovely betrothal ring. Other fine gifts would be an expensive perfume or cologne, or something as simple as a scented candle, or a fine wine - even the most delicious chocolat. All keeping in the tradition of Epiphany romance...thus, surprise your lover with a treasured gift tonight! (It is the night for romance and fun! Much more so than New Years!  Think of Shakespeare's masked ball scene in Romeo and Juliet, or the enchantment of Midsummer's Night Dream, more so than his Twelfth Night I think.)
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I re-post this now that ye may perform last minute preparations for tonight!  (Go to the liquor store.)
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A happy Christmas to all! And remember, Christmas is not a day, but a way of life! "Let us love one another!" 
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And remember, girl's conceived on this night are often named Tiffany - for Epiphany.  ;)
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Link:
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Elena has a note on this celebration as well as a link to customs associated with it.  Go here.
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Some very important thoughts...


Words of St. Therese to her sister Celine:
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"Sometimes it happens that despite their best efforts, some souls remain imperfect because it would be to their spiritual detriment to believe they are virtuous or to have others agree that they are." - My Sister, St. Therese
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And:
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"Let us never seek what appears to be great in the eyes of creatures...  The only thing that is not envied is the last place; it is only there in that last place where one finds no vanity or spiritual affliction.  However, 'the way of man is not for him to decide', and at times, we catch ourselves desiring things that glitter.  Then let us humbly acknowledge ourselves among the imperfect and esteem ourselves little souls whom the good God sustains at each moment.  As soon as he sees us convinced of our nothingness, he extends his hand to us." - Celine, Sister and Witness to St. Therese of the Child Jesus.
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And:
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"You must never believe when you do not practice virtue that it is due to some natural cause such as illness, time, or grief.  You must draw a great lesson in humility from it and take your place among the little souls, since you are able to practice virtue only in such a feeble manner.  What is necessary for you now is not to practice heroic virtues but to acquire humility.  For that, your victories must of necessity always be mixed with failures, so that you cannot take any pleasure in thinking of them." - Celine, Sister and Witness to St. Therese of the Child Jesus.
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Art:  One of the better 'icons' I have ever seen of St. Therese, by Guillem Ramos-Poquí.  Go here for details as well as composition and execution photos - very informative for students interested in iconography.

12 Drummers... I'm glad that's over - the carol I mean.



What happened to the other 10?

Monday, January 04, 2010

Obama's interesting choices... Amanda Simpson, New Senior Technical Advisor to the Commerce Department.


The news:
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Amanda Simpson's appointment to the Commerce Department by President Barack Obama marks possibly the first time a transgendered woman has been appointed by a president. Simpson, who underwent the gender reassignment process in the late 1990s while working for Raytheon, was appointed Senior Technical Advisor to the Commerce Department. - Source
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Some background:
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In 2002, Simpson, at the invitation of then-Raytheon Director of Global Diversity Linda Rusk, gave an educational slide presentation to the Raytheon HR Diversity Council (HRDC). At that time, Raytheon had just implemented domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples. In addition, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest GLBT organization, had recently instituted the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a tool to measure how equitably corporations are treating their gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees. Raytheon scored 86 percent on the first CEI, only missing a 100-percent score by not having a policy protecting employees from discrimination based on gender identity and expression. However, in 2002 there were only 11 Fortune 500 companies with a 100-percent CEI score. - Source
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In a statement, Simpson, a member of the National Center for Transgender Equality's board of directors, said that "as one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others." - Source
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That's a promised Obama change, huh?
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Photo:  Amanda Simpson

The Blessed Angela of Foligno


Penitent.
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Today is generally considered the feast day of Blessed Angela of Foligno, a penitent from a town nearby Assisi.  She and St. Margaret of Cortona are two of my fovorite women mystics, along with Catherine of Genoa - who remained unaffiliated with any order.  These women appeal to me because of their penitence and prayer and because they were seculars.  It is extremely important that lay people have before them models of perfection who were not religious, as John Paul II emphasized by promoting the beatification and canonization of so many laity from every walk of life.
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The Blessed Angela was married and had a family and by her own admission lived a rather vain and frivolous life.  At one point she committed a sin so shameful to her that she avoided confessing it.  We do not know what the sin was, but I have speculated it could have been the sin of abortion - just a hunch however.  Others like to portray her as a gossip - but that is neither here nor there in my opinion.  Eventually she appealed in prayer to St. Francis who won for her the grace of conversion and to do penance, which she writes about in her Book of Divine Consolations.  She begins; "As I walked by the way of penitence, I did take eighteen spiritual steps before I came to know the imperfections of my life."  Thus the saint describes the process of her conversion.
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Her conversion did not happen overnight of course, it was indeed a process.  There was no "born again" mentality existent in those days.  People today imagine they are propelled into the state of perfection simply by a return to the Church or the sacraments, yet one's conversion is ordinarily a long, at times arduous process.  Angela speaks of a penance as "long and as hard as life itself".  One overcomes a fault or sin, only to discover another more spiritual sin, hence the need for ongoing purgation and purification, willingly or unwillingly undergone - in this life or in the next.  Angela did it in this life.  If you can, try to read her writings - not so much of what people write about her - go to the source.
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If nothing else, it is important to remember one thing, conversion and penance is really a life-long process.  Consider that Teresa of Avila lived for 20 years as a nun before she finally committed herself to a serious life of prayer.  Today we tend to credit ourselves with what we know about the Church and the spiritual life, or pride ourselves upon our works or our commitment to social justice, or the promotion of the liturgy, or theology, or even mystical novelties - when in fact we neglect to reform our lives and actually believe in the Gospel.  It takes time to do the will of God - which is first and foremost our sanctification.
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I also like the following from Bl. Angela:
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'By 1298, Angela had become a "mother" to a group of Franciscans trying to reform the order that Francis had founded 90 years earlier; she was on the reformers' side, but always tried to keep them from going to extremes. Here she supports those who questioned whether their goal of absolute poverty should allow them to possess even books:'

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"When you come across flatterers, men or women, who tell you: "Brother, your words have converted me to penance," do not pay any attention to them but rather turn to the Creator and thank him for this blessing. There are many preachers of falsehoods whose preaching is full of greed, and out of greed they preach for honors, money, and fame."


 
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11 Pipers Piping


So anyway, if I walked into a room and people were smoking dope in pipes and I got high just by breathing - would it still be a sin?  And if they were watching a movie - say the "Sound of Music" - and I stayed to watch it too, and kept breathing it in, would that be bad?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

What's in a name?


Kat has a post on names...
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Which called to mind this, did you know the name Tiffany is a derivative of the name of today's feast day, Epiphany?  Yes it is true.
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We make fun of modern names, but many are rather ancient.  There are quite a few strange saints names one might take advantage of as well.  Take Senator for instance - he was a saint, and what a cool name it would be for a kid.  Metro is another early saint - I could see calling a kid Metro.  Hartman is also a saint's name - really, there are many cool names of saints.  I would consider calling a son Martial, after St. Martial of Limoges - yep - you could spell it Marshall if you wanted. 
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Last names work well too - especially of the British martyrs.  Take Ashley for instance - after Blessed Ralph Ashely - works for boys or girls.
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Names can come from almost anywhere - even the place a saint is from - Saint So and So of York - thus one might name their child York.  If they were Asian and their last name was Nu, last name first would be; Nu, York.  Cool, huh?  Now I have an Aunt Mary-Jane, in Spanish she might be called, Marijuana.  Personally, I prefer girl's names like Apple - or Kat - love that name!
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Photo:  Can't remember - but I think the woman's name is Tiffany.

Epiphany Sunday Mass - redux


I'm not commenting on the Mass.
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Nope.  The calendar has been tampered with. ;) 
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But anyway.  At my parish Father likes to catechise before the canon - he kind of makes up his own prayer focusing the attention of the assembly upon the offertory prayer - what it means etc.  Like, "So, we gather our offerings, our prayers, our desires and join them to the offering of the bread and wine that will become the soul and divinity...  Blessed are you Lord, etc."  Something like that.  I find it distracting, especially when he messes it up.  You see, lately he neglects to include "body and blood" - he used to say it all of the time - but now it's gone.  So I wonder - does he think "body and blood" is too gross so he just says, "soul and divinity"?  As catholics we should know the Eucharist really and truly is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ - not just the "soul and divinity".  Anyway - I felt Father was not just creating a distraction - it was bad catechetics.
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Sometimes I just don't get it.  For instance, last week a very good priest in the U.K. was worried about Orthodox theology regarding the composition of an icon in a Roman Catholic church, and today my parish priest can't seem to get his Eucharistic theology together. 
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Why should I let it bother me?  I don't know - probably because I blog.  And last evening I was cranky I suppose, a bit frustrated you might say, when I wrote about it, I apologise.  I wrote the following:
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"Priests - please don't add to the liturgy - say the black - do the red - just as Fr. Z says.  I know - but he is right about that." I suggested priests should do as they are trained to do - just like the rest of us are supposed to do what we are told.  That was inappropriate and inconsiderate, and definitely disrespectful.  I'm so sorry.  Thankfully Adoro came along and corrected me, explaining that the GIRM most certainly allows for the celebrant to catechise and/or explain things during the celebration of Mass.  I searched and found the text she was referring to:
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31. It is also up to the priest, in the exercise of his office of presiding over the gathered assembly, to offer certain explanations that are foreseen in the rite itself. Where it is indicated in the rubrics, the celebrant is permitted to adapt them somewhat in order that they respond to the understanding of those participating. However, he should always take care to keep to the sense of the text given in the Missal and to express them succinctly. The presiding priest is also to direct the word of God and to impart the final blessing. In addition, he may give the faithful a very brief introduction to the Mass of the day (after the initial Greeting and before the Act of Penitence), to the Liturgy of the Word (before the readings), and to the Eucharistic Prayer (before the Preface), though never during the Eucharistic Prayer itself; he may also make concluding comments to the entire sacred action before the dismissal. - GIRM

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I stand corrected.  Unfortunately, I had included a couple of other complaints in the post; in defense of Saturday vigil Masses and Communion in the hand - things approved by the USCCB - proving I was in a mood and lacked meekness and humility.  Again, I apologize.  Seriously, I am just thankful to be able to attend Mass, make my confession, receive Communion, and so on - I'm grateful for our priests and will redouble my prayers for all.
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Misinterpretations, errors, misunderstandings, misinformed...
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That said - the post became an occasion for me to reflect upon blogs and blogging - Catholic ones in particular - mine as well as others.  In the past I have often warned against depending upon blogs for Catholic doctrine and teaching.  We must be careful, just as much as one is careful about authors, books, speakers, teachers, and some priests.  In various diocese the local ordinary has the right to allow or disallow speakers or teachers to come into their diocese and conduct seminars or speaking engagements in Catholic parishes or institutions for Catholics.  Nevertheless, they have no such control over public forums such as the blogosphere.  Nor do we who propose to speak as Catholics about Catholic subjects.
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If I was wrong about my priest's right to catechise at certain points within the Mass, what else might I be wrong about?  If I misinterpreted Fr. Z's famous saying, "Say the black, do the red" as meaning a priest ought not to include a teaching moment within the celebration of Liturgy, how much more can what we say as Catholics be misconstrued by non-Catholics or new Catholics?
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I recall how a few years ago one blogger wrote, "Gossip is a mortal sin".  (Wow!  I freaked!)  But you see, that is not true.  There are different forms and degrees of gossip, and there is pretty strict criteria for committing a mortal sin.  Three things are necessary for a sin to be mortal: a) Serious, or grave matter; b) full knowledge or conviction the act is seriously wrong before commission of the act; c) Full consent of the will.  All three conditions must exist simultaneously for a sin to be mortal.
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Recently one blogger wrote extensively, albeit mistakenly, concerning her understanding of an area of mystical theology, defending her position as being in accord with what she had been taught in her theology classes by her professor who happened to be a priest.  As we know from my post just 2 or 3 days ago, errors can be taught - and often are - even in the most prestigious Catholic Universities.  (I'm referring to the De Cock endorsement of homosexual love in his thesis at Louvain in Belgium.)
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So what do we do?  I'm just saying, be careful who you read, what you read, check facts - especially if you intend to write about Catholic teaching, faith and morals, and so on.  There is only one Magisterium and it isn't the blogosphere.
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I will continue to be very careful and not such a know-it-all in the future, and I hope you readers will be discerning too.  Please correct me any time - "If a good man reproves me, it is kindness!" - Psalm 141

Cardinal Schönborn's 'private' visit to Medjugorje...


Just got really public... and it appears that may have been his intended goal.
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"These days, we have all come to Medjugorje to be especially close to the mother of the Lord. To be more exact, we have to say that we have come here because we know that the mother of the Lord wants to be close to us.
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“You also didn’t see the Gospa. But there are people here who told about it. And we trust that the Mother of God really is close to us. Belief comes from hearing.  We are supposed to report what we have seen and heard. The world needs a new evangelization and that is only possible through people for whom it is impossible to keep silent about what they have seen and heard.

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"And a last word: The shepherd returned, praised God, praised him for what they heard and saw. We, too, will return home. In order that we can become witnesses of the gospel, we have to praise God first. The shepherds praised God for what they have seen and heard. I hope that we can all drive home, travel home after these days here and praise God for what we have seen and heard. Then people will also believe us when we tell, then our word will be credible." - Homily
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The Cardinal was considered amongst the papabili in the last conclave.
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No comment.
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UPDATE:
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Bishop Peric's response:
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"As the diocesan bishop (with this statement) I want to inform the faithful that the visit of Cardinal Christoph Schonborn does not imply any recognition of the authenticity of the “apparitions” related to Medjugorje. I regret that the Cardinal, with his visit, appearance, and statements, brings something new to the present suffering of the local Church which does not contribute to peace and unity so necessary.


+Ratko Peric, Bishop"

Thanks to Diane at Te Deum Laudamus

10 Lords-a-leapin'


Get out!  I don't know who made this song up but it is a bunch of crap... especially trying to make it full of religious symbolism.  It's so gay.