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 29, 2010

An Amazing Story About Rockford Priests Defending Life!


This is truly an edifying story of the very best type of social activism by priests. 
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In September of 2008 a group of Catholic Priests began praying every week at Rockford’s abortion mill special prayers of the Church that the abortion mill be cleansed from evil. Immediately, the pro-life women who sidewalk counsel at this abortion facility noticed a dramatic decline in the numbers of mothers coming for abortions and a tangible rise in the numbers of mothers who choose life at the abortion mill driveway.
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An unofficial count of mothers entering the mill within a month of these devout Priests praying showed the abortion totals to be cut at least in half. This is also when signs started appearing in the mill windows attacking Catholic Priests.
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On Friday May 29th, the abortion mill sank to a new low even for them. As a Priest was quietly praying the prayers of the Church accompanied by a seminarian, [And here it comes…] someone inside the building that houses the Northern Illinois Women’s Center put a sign that clearly stated, "F…. Your Perverted Priests." - Finish reading here.
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Sounds like  Planned Parenthood needs an exorcist.  This is some of the best evidence I've read yet which demonstrates Satan is in charge of the abortion industry.  Hopefully many priests will note this and have more courage to publicly and prayerfully oppose anti-Catholic social activism in all of its forms.
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Let's continue to pray very much for priests.  The power of the priesthood is beyond our comprehension.
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Dear priests, "tend the flock of God in your midst, (overseeing) not by constraint but willingly, [...] be examples to the flock" (1 Peter 5:2). Hence, do not be afraid to lead to Christ each of the brothers that he has entrusted to you, certain that every word and every attitude, if stemming from obedience to the will of God, will bear fruit; know how to live appreciating the merits and acknowledging the limits of the culture in which we find ourselves, with the firm certainty that the proclamation of the Gospel is the greatest service that can be done to man. In fact, there is no greater good in this earthly life, than to lead men to God, reawaken faith, raise man from inertia and despair, to give the hope that God is near and guides personal history and that of the world. - Pope Benedict XVI

Thanks to Fr. Z for posting the Rockford story.

Another reason not to trust anyone: The BP Beach Cleaners Show.


No one is really in charge of things.
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Yahoo News' Brett Michael Dykes reports that BP paid busloads of temporary cleanup workers to show up as stage props for President Obama's visit to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup operations on Grand Isle yesterday.
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Dykes quoted Jefferson Parish councilman Chris Roberts who said "the overnight contingent of workers was there mainly to furnish a Potemkin-style backdrop for the event — while also making it appear that BP was firmly in command of spill cleanup efforts. New Orleans NBC affiliate WDSU reports that the workers were paid $12 an hour. - Washington Examiner
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Obama claims he's in charge.  All politicians are in bed with big business and the oil companies - everyone knows that, right?
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Perhaps the Obamas should have vacationed on the gulf coast instead of Chicago.
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Photo source.

Homosexuals in the military.

The Fleet's In!
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A new study/analysis released by the Family Research Council finds that homosexuals in the military are three times more likely to commit sexual assault than heterosexuals.  I really can't imagine that being true.  An adult male sexually assaulting another adult male - two rough and tumble military men, trained to kill - one raping another?  Really?  Even if the gay guy is super-butch and the other guy is not, it seems rather far fetched.   Maybe in prison that stuff goes on, but not in the military.  Or does it?
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"The Family Research Council today released an analysis of publicly available documents which shows that homosexuals in the military are three times more likely to commit sexual assaults than heterosexuals are, relative to their numbers.
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(F)igures suggest that homosexuals in the military are about three times more likely to commit sexual assaults than heterosexuals are," noted Sprigg. "Concerns about privacy when homosexuals share facilities like showers and sleeping quarters with heterosexuals are well grounded," he added.
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"The report found that the most common type of homosexual assault is one in which the offender fondles or performs oral sex upon a sleeping victim." - FRC

Years ago if a guy tried something like that he'd be beaten to a pulp, and if he survived, dishonorably discharged.  It is difficult to believe things have changed that much.  Not that I'm approving of gay-bashing vigilante justice - but I have to believe a normal guy would wake up and defend himself in a situation like that - and a punch in the mouth would be warranted.
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That said, I once worked with older gay men (I was in retail) who had been in the service and who seemed to have gotten along just fine in the military - especially the Navy - they loved it.  According to these guys, the sleeping or drunk straight guy could be had - and if their stories were true, there may be an exceptionally predatory type of gay man who enlists in the military just for that reason.  Again, according to the old-timers, the service could be sort of a voyeur's dream.  This is all anecdotal however - I can't prove what they told me was true.  Although I've heard of similar situations in seminaries and boys schools - night time attacks and shower antics.  I'm quite sure some men's health clubs continue to harbor similar voyeuristic types.
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Anyway, the news reminded me of Paul Cadmus, whose painting I illustrated the post with simply because at some point in his career, Cadmus developed an interest in the sex lives of military men.  Most notably in a group of drawings and paintings depicting what sailors did on Shore Leave, the title of one of his more famous works.  (Another, The Fleet's In! was pretty much condemned by the Navy.  The work, although funded by the WPA was banned from exhibition.) The image above depicts a soldier cruising late at night in Bologna.  In the complete scene of the painting, the man at the table is not quite as obvious as he is in this detail.  What's my point?  What does this prove?  That gay men have always had a presence in the military?  Perhaps - the paintings certainly corroborate what my old bosses told me.  Does it prove gay military men are more predatory than their heterosexual counterparts?  I wouldn't know. 
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Nevertheless, I have to imagine predatory behavior, at least in the sense of taking advantage of a vulnerable person (drunk, stoned, asleep) - given such an opportunity, is always a possibility - just as it is for military women to be victimized in similar circumstances.  Does it happen a lot?  Again, I don't know.  Can we trust military statistics?  I wonder.  The military has been accused of lies in the past.  They've at least dissimulated about rape claims made by women soldiers, how some soldiers died, harassment charges, and I don't know what else.
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On the other hand, gay activists have told their share of lies as well, while continually misrepresenting the true nature of homosexual behavior.
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The FRC analysis may no longer matter anyway.  Friday Congress gave in to gay political pressure, and voted to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.  Looks as if gay people serving openly in the military is pretty much a done deal now.  I suppose Paul Cadmus would be happy - but then again, he knew they were always there anyway.  
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Art: Detail: Notturno: Bologna - Paul Cadmus, 1957

Friday, May 28, 2010

Accidental sniper...

"Allow yourself to be taught" - John of the Cross

Lady Elena of Tea at Trianon has posted a much needed reflection regarding online civility.  I for one usually assume even the most casual of readers of my posts understands where I'm coming from in offering my point of view, a personal opinion, something satirical or just plain foolishly ironic.  I forget that readers cannot hear a tone of voice or see a kindly smile.  I also forget that many people just don't get my humor - translated that really means they don't think I'm funny.  (I also tend to forget boundaries.  It's a very strange world online - we think we really know one another, but in most instances, we don't.)
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Anyway, Elena posts her own thoughts on the matter and refers us to another source on cyber bullying:
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Facebook has to be used with prudence and discretion, not to mention wisdom and kindness. Facebook is a place for being especially polite, to make certain that our intentions are not misunderstood. Those who are willing to invite us into their lives do so with a certain degree of trust that should not be abused by making intrusive and presumptuous remarks, just because we have the ability to write on someone's wall. It can become a form of harassment and even of cyberbullying. - Elena: Learning to use social media.



One of the most toxic trends that has been exacerbated by the advancements in technology is the emergence of the highly narcissistic persona behind technology. It is one that carries with it an inflated sense of self, a false but bigger-than-life sense of worth, and the delusion of an expert voice on matters from the weather to nuclear disarmament. We can be whoever and whatever we want – because we matter. And we can do whatever to whomever we want – because we can. We are entitled.

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We can hide behind the computer screen with an alias while randomly posting violations of one another. With the stroke of a key or the press of a button, we have the ability to rob others of their dignity and grace, to redefine their worth and reputation, and relinquish them to foreign places and positions. We can seek out and strike whenever, wherever we want, and then we can run and hide. - Cyberbullying
"With the stroke of a key or the press of a button, we have the ability to rob others of their dignity and grace, to redefine their worth and reputation, and relinquish them to foreign places and positions."
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My sincere apologies and prayers to everyone I've 'done in' this way... be it deliberate or indeliberate.  I will pray and do penance.  And a big thank you to Elena for her good work - using the internet as it ought to be. 

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Art:  Study for the L.A. Cathedral tapestries. - John Nava

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sins of the tongue


Untitled Terry Nelson 2010
8 x 8 acrylic on canvas.

(After Simon Marmion.)

I posted it on UYS too.
Posted by Picasa

School Play


The cats have been busy rehearing for their school play, "The Pussy Monologues".  Last year they did "Rent" but some Catholics complained. 
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They attend homeschool people.

Forever young... forever stupid.

Youth is wasted on the young.
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WHEATLAND, N.Y. - Police say four teenagers trying to hold their breath for the time it takes to drive through an upstate New York hamlet were hurt when the driver fainted.
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Authorities say three 19-year-old men and a 16-year-old boy were traveling together late Monday night when they decided to try to hold their breath while riding through Garbutt, a rural Rochester-area hamlet that's just three-tenths of a mile long.
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Monroe County sheriff's deputies say 19-year-old Bryan Parslow of Caledonia fainted while driving and his car hit a boulder.
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All four teens were treated at a hospital and released.
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Parslow is no stranger to bad luck. He's a paraplegic who was paralyzed in 2008 after falling out of a window in Brockport while attending college. - MyFox

Nothing is scary anymore.


On the way to the apocatastasis...

Yesterday afternoon I used my last small canvas to paint an allegory on sins of the tongue - which turned out to be a somewhat classic mouth of hell painting instead.  (I'll post it another time.)  I added in a couple of little alien-looking demons, and while I painted I realized how funny the images were.  Instead of being scary, medieval representations of hell's monsters have turned into comic figures.  Perhaps it is due to the fact monsters are kind of cuddly and nice these days, catering to kids and adults:  Monsters Inc., friendly aliens, and goofy demons with feelings... the stuff just isn't scary anymore.  You know, once you get to know one, they're really nice.  Which is why I posted the French and Saunders Exorcist parody - today The Exorcist could be remade into a comedy. 
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I don't know, maybe our fascination with the violent and macabre, coupled with a disbelief that people really do go to hell, and that there really are demons who hate us, inhabiting a place of unimaginable and eternal suffering, has desensitized most of us.  Although it could be our denial is more directly a result of a loss of a sense of sin, rather than a loss of faith.  It seems to me most people believe everyone goes to heaven - 'he's in a better place', or, 'no place at all' - because, 'no one could ever be condemned to hell'
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Just a thought.
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Art: Mad Meg - Pieter Bruegel the Elder.  From what I understand, in the 16th century madness was considered a vice which included insanity, rage, gluttony, lust, avarice and ambition.  Today we view madness as an illness.  As late as the mid 20th century alcoholism was considered a moral problem, while today it is viewed as an illness.

Ray of Stella...

Happy Birthday Ray!
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Prayers and best wishes,
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Terry and the cats.
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To wish Ray a Happy Birthday, visit him here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Practical spiritual advice regarding 'discernment'.


De-mystified.
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From A Minor Friar:
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Sometimes the concepts of 'discernment' and 'processing' can be a smokescreen or a mystification of what's really going on within us. It's a spiritual pitfall I've noticed in myself and others over the years. It can very tempting to engage in an apparently diligent discernment in such a way as to "discern" red herrings, all the while living in denial about what our hearts and our prayer are really telling us.

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I once lived with a funny friar who gave this response to anyone who asked him for help in making a decision:

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"Brother, do what you want. You know why? Because you will anyway."
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It sounds cynical, but my confrere didn't mean it that way. He was only trying to help us cut through a lot of spiritualizing and take an honest look at what our hearts where trying to say. When we use spiritual language to remain in denial, we risk making decisions that are not discerned at all.

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The other day I heard a funny and pertinent example of just this sort of thing. A young priest was having a vocation crisis. He had met a woman. They had formed a friendship and he was tempted to run away with her. He asked a brother priest for help with his "discernment," explaining that he was going to take some retreat time during the summer to pray over the situation.

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"Where are you going for retreat?" asked the friend.
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"I'm going to her farm; I promised to paint the barn," responded our hapless discerner.
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"Brother, once you agree to paint the barn, the discernment is over."  - Painting the Barn, Br. Charles

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Photo:  Capuchin crypt.
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That's all folks!

Cardinal Mahony making sure everything is ready...


Today LA get's it's new Coadjutor.
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BENEDICT, bishop,
Servant of the Servants of God:

To the Venerable Brother
JOSÉ HORACIO GOMEZ,
until now Archbishop of San Antonio,
appointed Coadjutor to the Metropolitan Church of Los Angeles:

greetings and Apostolic Blessing....
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H/T Whispers
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Photo:  American Red Hat - why not?

Vestments


Photo source.

A wonderful priest and saint.

St. Philip Neri
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"Practical commonplaceness", says Frederick William Faber in his panegyric of Neri, was the special mark which distinguishes his form of ascetic piety from the types accredited before his day. "He looked like other men.. he was emphatically a modern gentleman, of scrupulous courtesy, sportive gaiety, acquainted with what was going on in the world, taking a real interest in it, giving and getting information, very neatly dressed, with a shrewd common sense always alive about him, in a modern room with modern furniture, plain, it is true, but with no marks of poverty about it -- in a word, with all the ease, the gracefulness, the polish of a modern gentleman of good birth, considerable accomplishments, and a very various information." Accordingly, he was ready to meet the needs of his day to an extent and in a manner which even the versatile Jesuits, who much desired to enlist him in their company, did not rival; and, though an Italian priest and head of a new religious order, his genius was entirely unmonastic and unmedieval; he was the active promoter of vernacular services, frequent and popular preaching, unconventional prayer, and unsystematized, albeit fervent, private devotion.
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Neri was not a reformer, save in the sense that in the active discharge of pastoral work he labored to reform individuals. He had no difficulties in respect of the teaching and practice of his church, being in truth an ardent Ultramontane in doctrine, as was all but inevitable in his time and circumstances, and his great merit was the instinctive tact which showed him that the system of monasticism could never be the leaven of secular life, but that something more homely, simple, and everyday in character was needed for the new time. - Source
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May 26 is the Memorial of St. Philip.
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In memoriam of my dear friend Sr. Mary Philip Schaefer, O.P..

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Exorcist Tells Her Story

Favored quotes...


From Hamlet
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Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me. You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass; and there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me. - Hamlet,  Act III, Scene ii  (Thanks Joe!)
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This above all — to thine own self be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man. - Polonius, Act I, Scene iii
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Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads.
And recks not his own rede. - Ophelia, Act I, Scene iii
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O most pernicious woman!  O, villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!  My tables, — meet it is I set it down,  that one may smile, and smile, and be a villain. - Hamlet, Act II, Scene V
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Thanks Joe for giving me the place of the first passage quoted.  My friend Joe knows Shakespeare by heart.  Did you know Pier Giorgio Frassati knew Dante's Divine Comedy by heart?  St. Therese knew The Imitation of Christ by heart.
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Art: Mash Pit - Dan Witz

Going through the archives.

You will be judged on every word you say.

I was up too late last night going through my blog archives.  Looking for an entry I felt might be good enough to re-post, thus saving me the time of posting something new for today.  It was an interesting excursion - kind of scary too.  For four years I've written something virtually every day - that often meant I was online reading other stories, other blogs, and commenting, and then writing something of my own!  Forget about being judged on every word I uttered, how will I justify the time spent on the internet?  Non-productive time - just like a non-nutritive drink of Diet-Coke - pure self-indulgence.  But I digress.

The first thing I noted is the vast output of writing I've got 'out there' and I'm not even a writer.  I was embarrassed by quite a few of my posts, while many others that were intended to be humorous were still able to make me laugh out loud.  My old posts were a lot funnier than today.  I think I've become much more serious about things, and much less hostile, if you will.  Although on some of the posts where I recall feeling 'snarky' the writing came off rather civil - only the very sensitive could have taken offense.  Of course, gay people tend to be very sensitive - which is why I rarely ever write on the subject.  (See, now that's funny!)

I came across my 'disgruntled' employee posts as well - the really bad ones I deleted long ago - but a few slipped by.  There is nothing more telling about a person than their disgruntled employee defenses.  I quit my job because I was unhappy in it - I blamed the employer for my own unhappiness.  You see how nuts that is?  When I hear or read similar stories now - and know a little bit about the writer's character - I recognize the same symptoms.  I think people go from job to job, profession to profession, until they 'get it'.  Some of us have to learn the hard way that we are usually our own worst enemy.  It works the same with relationships.  Can't keep a girlfriend - it's you buddy - not her. 

Anyway, one positive discovery, at least I have been consistent - especially in reflecting upon the blogosphere and the 'craft' of writing a blog - it's a craft, not an art - I'm always examining it.  I realized that I - and I think most personal blogs do so as well - write about many of the same issues over and over and over.  (Typical narcissist behavior - oh lighten up - we are all lovers of self.)  Of course, if one usually comments on hot social issues of the day, which keep popping up anyway, naturally one's posts can become rather monotonous restatements of one's bias regarding the issues.  Especially as in the case of ranters - although their posts come off much in the same way as those insane radio sound-bites advertising some talk-show host do - negative, negative, negative.

I think I've softened my tone quite a bit however.  Social networking has been a good learning experience in that it really opened my eyes to the fact that most of us are pretty screwed up - some people just seem to manage better.  As the poet says, no man is an island - especially now days.
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"I cannot discover God in myself and myself in Him unless I have the courage to face myself exactly as I am, with all my limitations, and to accept others as they are, with all their limitations." - Thomas Merton, No Man Is An Island.
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Art:  George Tooker

Prayer to the Infant Jesus

The conclusion of the monthly novena.
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Little Jesus unto Thee I flee,
Through Thy Mother praying Thee
In my need to succour me...
All my heart I give to Thee,
Therefore, of my sins repent me;
From them breaking, I beseech Thee,
Jesus! from their bonds to free me. -prayer of Fr. Cyril, OCD

Monday, May 24, 2010

Br. Alphonsus Mary of the Little Brothers of Carmel

St. Simeon


I've now posted the painting on Up Your Street.
Posted by Picasa

Our Lady Help of Christians


Ava Maris Stella

Hail, thou Star of ocean,
Portal of the sky !
Ever Virgin Mother
Of the Lord most high !

Oh ! by Gabriel's Ave,
Uttered long ago,
Eva's name reversing,
Stablish peace below.

Break the captive's fetters ;
Light on blindness pour ;
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore.

Show thyself a Mother ;
Offer Him our sighs,
Who for us Incarnate
Did not thee despise.

Virgin of all virgins !
To thy shelter take us :
Gentlest of the gentle !
Chaste and gentle make us.

Still, as on we journey,
Help our weak endeavor ;
Till with thee and Jesus
We rejoice forever.

Through the highest heaven,
To the Almighty Three,
Father, Son, and Spirit,
One same glory be. Amen.
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May 24 is the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians.  The prayer Ave Maris Stella is a very powerful prayer to Our Lady which obtains her protection promptly and powerfully.
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Image:  Auxilium Christianorum: Virgin of Lepanto - source.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Never defend yourself.



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Fixing a hole.

More Crazy Saints.


My favorite, St. Simeon Salus.
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First of all - Simeon lived with his mother until he was about 30 - so you stay-at-home-sons, don't be discouraged.  He then went to the desert to live as a monk - when he was old - he left the monastery to live amongst the genuinely poor: the outcasts, amongst whom were the prostitutes and other low life.  He actually lived along side prostitutes and the wicked people they attract - the indigent homeless, mentally ill, crippled, alcoholics, homosexuals - the dregs of any society.  Some say he simply feigned madness, while others think he may have at times been truly out of his mind.  One must remember that Christ was considered mad by his townsmen as well - these people who supposedly knew him, thought Jesus out of his mind at times.  And yet Jesus, free of all sin - notably original sin and its effects - could not have been crazy...  Though he indeed emptied himself and took the very last place, which even Simeon, for all his humiliating madness, nor the wretches amongst whom he lived, were able to snatch that very last place from Jesus, the Son of God.
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The holy fool Simeon brought many people to repentance by his example and his roughened charity amongst the most disenfranchised of the city.  Perhaps his greatest penance was the awareness of his own imperfection, weakness, inconstancy and sin which impelled him to take his place amongst the outcasts, sharing their shame, trusting in the mercy of Christ who suffers with all who are rejected and marginalized. 
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Icon:  St. Alexis - One of the saints who couldn't keep his clothes on.
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Links:
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Patron saint of pupeteers.  LOL you liturgical puppet haters!
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Simeon the Holy Fool

Pentecost Sunday


Come Holy Spirit, Living Flame of Love!
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"The world and religious communities are seeking novelties in devotions, and they are neglecting true devotion to the Paraclete.  That is why there is error and disunion, and why there is no peace or light.  They do not invoke light as it should be invoked, and it is this light that gives knowledge of truth.  It is neglected even in seminaries..."  Bl. Mary of Jesus Crucified, OCD; Letter to Bl. Pope Pius IX, June 1877.
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Art: Source

Pentecost...

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I'm talking about the "new" one.
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I think calling for a new Pentecost is just a figure of speech - right?  Because in a sense wouldn't it be the same as calling for a new Resurrection?  I really don't know the answer to that however.

Although I couldn't help wonder...  What if the internets is the new Pentecost everyone was hoping for?  You know, because as Scripture tells us, language was scrambled at Babel - but then at Pentecost the gift of tongues came and everything went to Latin - until the Council - and then it went back to being mixed up until the Charismatic movement came along.  But now the Church and the world is online - omigosh!  The internets has become like one language everyone can speak and understand.  What if this is the new Pentecost of the digital continent?  I know! 
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So keep on bloggin' brothas and sistas!

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Just being silly!