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, June 05, 2010

Fr. Gene Tiffany

Father Eugene Tiffany, who serves as director of the Office of Priestly Life and Ministry and as pastor of Holy Spirit in St. Paul has had a stroke.  I heard that he was ill last weekend but didn't think to post about it.  I only just found out what is wrong this evening when I spoke with my pastor after Mass.  I am told he is not receiving visitors but cards may be sent to him via the Chancery in St. Paul.  I have no other concrete information.

Please include him in your prayers, he is a wonderful priest.
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If anyone has more up-to-date information, please note it in the comment box.  Thank you.

"Jews - get out of Israel - go back to Poland."


Why doesn't Helen Thomas go back to Lebanon and send the guy next to her back to Kenya.  Idiots.

Cat on a rug...



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This is Celine - the overweight cat. No one who visits believes she exists. Neither of my cats are well socialized. I wonder where they got that from? (Sorry about the quality - a photographer I am not - I should always use a tripod.)
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Random photos of the yard





Terrible photos, I know - looks like I'm pretty shaky in the morning huh? Hung over or too much coffee - well since I no longer drink - it's gotta be the coffee - or the years have been that tough on me. So anyway, I'm just showing off my yard work and hedge trimming - I cut the pines way back to form a nice undulating hedgerow - but they need a couple of more years to be nicely level. The grass looks terrible - but I'll take care of that soon.

Anyway - the alley photo shows a mystery - several hosta are missing! Did someone steal them or did they winter kill? Even the new day lily I received from the Duchess of Idaho never came up. I blame the Asian lady down the block - she scavenges. I should do a post someday about my strange neighbors. There are only a couple I think are normal or cool - the others not so much.

(I had the flag out for Memorial Day.)
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What?

Friday, June 04, 2010

Why Didn't McCartney Sing This At The White House?


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"A lot of political nonsense in the air." - Wild Life lyrics, McCartney
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Unfortunately one of my favorite musicians/song writers has turned out to be an old fool, praising Obama as a great man and defending him against his critics while entertaining the First Family the other night at the White House.  If anything, Paul McCartney ought to have spoken out against the way British Petroleum, the White House, indeed the world is handling the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Where is the world's elite who cry foul because of so-called global warming?  Where are the Nobel Laureates, the celebrities, the politicos, the scientists, the intellectuals? 
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McCartney has completely sold out. 
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No one gets a free pass on this one.  Why weren't safety measures in place in the event of a worst case scenario such as what is happening now?  Global warming my ass.

It's gonna happen.


I think we have figure out how to deal with it.
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Bad stuff is going to keep happening, and the thing I think we as Catholics have to do is learn how to deal with it - just like Catholics behind the Iron Curtain had to do when their countries and liberties were absorbed into the USSR.  That doesn't mean Catholics should go down without a fight, but being prepared for the inevitable seems to me to be a prudent move. 
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Obama is pushing for a repeal of don't ask, don't tell - Congress got on board, and chances are the Senate will be too.   Obama perhaps has found the gay agenda is something he at last can handle - thus he is advocating for same-sex marriage as well, in fact, he just ordered federal employees in same-sex partnerships are eligible for benefits.  The country is going down this path - like it or not.  Young people have been indoctrinated by public education (in many cases, private as well) already.  So we are almost there folks. Rather than attempt to speculate and predict all the bad things that could or could not happen as a result of these changes - I think we Catholics have to learn how to adjust to an anti-Christian culture.  We have to learn how to live faithfully and witness to truth and make the faith attractive to non-believers.  (Again, that is not to say we do not object, or get involved politically, as Military Archbishop Broglio demonstrated so well.)
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Military Bloggers and Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
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I found the following report rather interesting, since most civilians just assume military personnel would uniformly object to the repeal of DADT.  Obviously many don't.
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While pundits are split as to whether the Obama administration is pursuing the right path towards an effective implementation the new policy, most agree that the time to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell was at hand. To some extent, the move towards repeal was predicted -- and blessed - by a handful of highly influential military bloggers who, on May 12th, released a statement calling for the Don't Ask, Don't Tell's repeal. The letter includes the signatures of bloggers from the U.S. Naval Institute Blog, Black Five, The Military Observer, and the Warrior Legacy Foundation, and declared that, with repeal, "very little will actually change."

"If we're going to have women on submarines and gays in the military, then we should have the gay dudes on subs with the women so nobody gets pregnant." - Andrew Lubin [of Military Observer]

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The significance of milboggers' joint statement has been somewhat under appreciated. The military blogosphere is highly engaged with the armed services and has actively commented on military affairs for years, covering topics ranging from the Fort Hood shootings to the Hurt Locker. I spoke to Jim Hanson, who blogs under the handle "Uncle Jimbo" at Black Five. Hanson recently appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show to discuss the joint statement by milboggers and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Even they see some problems however.
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While many of us believe that it's about time, I think there's been kind of mixed feelings as to why it had to happen now. The reason we wrote the letter we did was not to force a repeal, but to encourage Congress to take a look at how the law could be practically implemented. The military had been asking for a plan for the implementation of repeal for some time, looking to determine how the Don't Ask, Don't Tell could be efficiently and effectively incorporated into existing operations. This was supposed to precede an actual call for repeal.

There was a point of time when it was a reasonable adaptation to cultural norms.
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...[O]bviously, there are going to be major issues in implementing the repeal. Do gay dudes room with straight dudes? Do gay couples get on-base housing? There are tons of complex issues to overcome, but as long as we stop freaking out about it, it will make the process significantly easier. There will of course be people who are extremely displeased, and this is why we wanted Congress to wait and let military leaders figure out how it's implemented. As long as the policy is implemented as the service chiefs on the ground see fit, it should be no problem. While its fine to bless repeal at the presidential level or the congressional level, it's different on the ground level. There are military has regulations that have to be followed...seriously! If you don't follow military regs, you can go to jail. And Congress needs to listen to the military on the actual implementation process to make sure that it meets those pre-existing regulations. Follow the advice from the chief and let them do it and it will be OK. - The Atlantic

Get irritated, annoyed, angry, furious all you want.  It looks like it's going to happen. 
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Personally I think Congress, the Senate, and the President need to focus on increasing benefits for all military personnel, and most especially increasing health benefits and compensation for veterans who lost health, limbs, and in some cases their sanity fighting our wars.

Military Archbishop Broglio: Do not repeal "Don't ask, don't tell".

I believe the Archbishop's appeal ought to be taken very seriously, but I'm afraid our representatives in Congress and the Senate will turn a deaf ear.  Especially if one takes into consideration Nancy Peolosi's latest mystical claims of following the Word, it is obvious she and most of the U.S. Government listen to a different god.  Obama has pretty much sold the farm (on the gay issues) already anyway.
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Despite all of that, in my opinion, Archbishop Broglio offers the best reasons to date why the policy should not be changed...
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The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barring open homosexuals from serving in the military should not be changed, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services said on Tuesday. Noting the need for strong rules against immoral activity, he said moral beliefs should not be sacrificed for “merely political considerations.”

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Archbishop Timothy Broglio, writing in a June 1 statement, reported that “a number” of chaplains and commanding officers have expressed concerns about the effects of a policy change. He said he also responded to a request from the Chiefs of Chaplains of the Armed Forces, voicing his “considerations and concerns” about proposed changes to legislation regarding servicemen and women with a homosexual orientation.
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“Catholic chaplains must show compassion for persons with a homosexual orientation, but can never condone—even silently—homosexual behavior,” he wrote, voicing concern that a change in policy might negatively affect the role of the chaplain in the pulpit, the classroom, the barracks and the office.

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He noted that Catholic chaplains cannot accept or bless same-sex unions and no restrictions on the teaching of Catholic morality can be accepted.
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The archbishop questioned whether the change would mean that homosexuals are authorized to engage in activities considered immoral by the Catholic Church and many other religious groups. He pointed out that morality has an effect on unit cohesion and overall morale. - CNA

Makes sense to me.

First Friday


Promises of Jesus for those who Practice Devotion to the Sacred Heart

1.I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.

2.I will give peace in their families.

3.I will console them in all their troubles.

4.They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.

5.I will pour abundant blessings on their undertakings.

6.Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7.Tepid souls shall become fervent.

8.Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.

9.I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honoured.

10.I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.

11.Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.

12.The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

 “Oh, how sweet is death when one has had a tender devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ!” - St. Margaret Mary

Thursday, June 03, 2010

"If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful..." - 2 Timothy 2

"Remind people of these things and charge them before God to stop disputing about words.  This serves no useful purpose since it harms those who listen.  Be eager to present yourself as acceptable to God, a workman who causes no disgrace, imparting the word of truth without deviation." - 2 Tim 2: 8-15 - Today's first reading at Mass.

Atta boy!

Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne


A good friend asked me, "Why were they killed?"
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Some friends stopped by the other day and we sat in the garden and talked.  I had gone to their house for dinner a week ago last Sunday night.  I consider these men very good friends, despite the fact we have had disagreements in the past.  One of the fellows, currently enjoying an early retirement, was a big shot executive for a large national department store chain.  He is also an accomplished artist.  Very well educated and well read.  Both he and his partner, who is a social worker/counsellor have been 'long-time companions' for about 30 years.  Both are from the East Coast... "very nice, very sophisticated..." as Mrs. Dubcek would say. 
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I suppose the main source of our disagreements have come down to my faith and their rights.  Naturally, since the men are not religious, albeit they are kind of, sort of spiritual - they do not agree with Catholic teaching regarding homosexual behavior.  Perhaps it was my fault that they weren't aware of how deeply I do agree, and how seriously I take my faith.  Hence some of the conflict over the years.  Nevertheless we have many things in common and have remained friends, and gradually they came to respect my convictions and accepted me for who I am.  I have tried to do likewise.
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One by one.
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Interestingly enough , while I was over there with another friend, one of the fellows wanted to share with us an art book he acquired - his partner wouldn't let him - he said, "No, you are not showing that - we don't want to offend Terry."  I was deeply touched.
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Anyway, while they were here, the artist said he would like to paint Jacques Fesch, whose story intrigued him.  My friend is Jewish and will be moving to Paris for a year to perfect his French.  He wanted to know what makes a man like Fesch a saint.  Then he wanted to know why the Carmelite nuns were put to death in the Revolution.  I mentioned he is very well educated and well read, and of course he believes the Revolution was a good thing.  Anyway - I tried to explain as best I could without making it too pious.
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My point in telling all of this is threefold:  First, it is an introduction to the story of the Carmelite martyrs, in case my friend reads this.  Second, it is to remark on how the saints lovingly attract souls to Christ and  Christian perfection.  Third, it is to demonstrate how we can love those who disagree with our faith; 'one by one' - we have to love one another, one by one - not 'brick by brick'.  We cannot win souls by attacking, denouncing and condemning persons.
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The Carmelites.
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The French Revolution reveals the titanic struggle between good and evil. During the terror, over 40,000 Frenchmen were executed just for holding fast to the Catholic Faith and objecting to the worst excesses of the Committee of Public Safety. The blood lost in the years of 1792-1794 staggers the imagination even in the retelling and the campaign against the Church was as diabolical as it was cruel.
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Contemplative religious communities had been among the first targets of the fury of the French Revolution against the Catholic Church. Less than a year from May 1789 when the Revolution began with the meeting of the Estates-General, these communities had been required by law to disband. But many of them continued in being, in hiding. Among these were the community of the Carmelite nuns of Compiegne, in northeastern France not far from Paris - the fifty-third convent in France of the Carmelite sisters who followed the reform of St. Teresa of Avila, founded in 1641, noted throughout its history for fidelity and fervor. Their convent was raided in August 1790, all the property of the sisters was seized by the government, and they were forced to discard their habits and leave their house. They divided into four groups which found lodging in four different houses all near the same church in Compiegne, and for several years they were to a large extent able to continue their religious life in secret. But the intensified surveillance and searches of the “Great Terror” revealed their secret, and in June 1794 most of them were arrested and imprisoned.  - Read the rest here.

Jacques Fesch - what is so saintly about him?
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Jacques Fesch, a young French man, was a convicted murderer who was guillotined for his crime in 1957 at the age of twenty-seven. He killed a police officer while fleeing from the scene of an attempted armed robbery. He has left us a testimony in his letters, written while in prison, that can bring hope to even the most hardened of sinners. His letters show that he was successfully able to resist the terrible temptation of despair, and present a clear witness to the unconquerable strength of a God who is Love, and whose love no crime can overpower. The letters display a glowing testimony to the fact that Love is stronger than even the most horrible of deaths. On  the last night of his life, Jacques Fesch, wrote, "I wait in the night and in peace... I wait for Love." - Read more at: Murderer, Convert, Contemplative, Mystic

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So you see - we have to love one another, one by one.

And Another Reason Some Couples Avoid A Church Wedding...

Because most weddings are a joke, a time to party, a big blow-out for your friends.
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Long Island Couple Taking the Big Plunge On Wedding Day.
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April Pignataro and Michael Curry are preparing to take their vows this Sunday while in the Lost City of Atlantis Shark Tank at Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead.  When searching for a setting for their special day, both Pignataro and Curry were drawn to the Long Island Aquarium. Johanna Zucaro, a spokesperson for Atlantis Marine World said the Long Island destination hosts more traditional weddings every weekend. - Story

The bride is Italian too... Italian wedding... I wonder what kind of stole fee they have to pay?
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My niece is Italian.  She had a grand wedding despite the fact it was small and intimate, maybe just 150 guests or something like that - I didn't go.  The wedding was in a hotel with a Joey Tribianni style minister witnessing.  She married a man she'd met 3 or 4 months earlier.  They were divorced less than a year later.  I am her godfather, and since her dad was dead, I was expected to give her away.  I figured since she gave it away already, my presence wasn't necessary.
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But you see from this, and stories like them, why gay people think anyone can get married.  Celebrities for a day.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

"Have a carnal love for Christ."

The Sacred Heart of Jesus.

A novice master* once recommended that I have a carnal love for Christ - he said he was quoting St. Bernard of Clairvaux  I believe he was referencing Bernard's Treatise On the Love of God or his Commentary on the Song of Songs.  I think Father took the quote out of context, since Bernard discusses carnal love in a much different manner than what the monk was communicating to me.  I think I realized then, as I understand better today, that his idea of a carnal love would fit rather well with some of Chris West's confusing views on Theology of the Body.  One needs to be cautious when it comes to spiritual lust and spiritual directors who interpret mystical doctrines in a far too sensual manner.  In making use of the imagery contained within the Songs, Bernard always stressed the experiences were totally spiritual and produced by grace.  Referring to mystical union, the Saint writes: "Be careful to think of nothing corporal or sensible in this union of the Word with the soul. Let us call to mind here what the Apostle says: `He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him' (I Cor. 6:17).
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One can witness the sensualization or sexualization, if you will, of the mystical experiences of St. Bernard in the manner by which they are sometimes depicted in art.  The images themselves are edifying and evocative of deep spirituality, ideally moving the soul to devotion, yet to the more sensual person, infected by contemporary culture's obsession with sexuality, or his own passions, the sacred images can be misinterpreted or misreprepresented.  I dare say, often appealing - consciously or unconsciously - to a 'gay spirituality' of sorts.  This may sound prudish, but I think I speak from experience.  Sadly, that is one reason why Bernard is sometimes referred to as a 'gay saint'.  (Aelred and John of the Cross have been likewise misunderstood, and misrepresented.)
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However, devotion to the sacred Humanity of Christ is indispensable for the Christian, as all of the saints attest - perhaps none more than Teresa of Avila, who certainly understood the mysticism of St. Bernard.  The Sacred Humanity was Teresa's 'constant companion'.  Indeed, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the perfect devotion which encompasses a chaste 'carnal love' leading to the highest mystical love.  I mention this because not a few men with homosexual attraction long for an intimacy with Christ that can be corrupted by modern 'homsexualist' spiritual directors, who tend to emphasize sensuality in direct opposition to authentic spirituality.
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To avoid these errors, I believe devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the proper antidote, as well as the source of healing for disordered passions, affections and especially movements to lust.  The Heart of Jesus attracts all the affections of our soul and purifies them in the burning furnace of charity that is His Heart.
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Divine Love, A Gift of the Heart of Jesus.
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The infusion of this divine charity also has its origin in the Heart of the Savior, 'in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.'  For this charity is the gift of Jesus Christ and of His spirit; for he is indeed the spirit of the Father and the Son from whom the origin of the Church and its marvelous extension is revealed to all the pagan races which have been defiled by idolatry, family hatred, corrupt morals, and violence.
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Divine Love, the Source of All Graces.
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This divine charity is the most precious gift of the Heart of Christ and of His Spirit:  It is this which imparted to the Apostles and martyrs that fortitude, by the strength of which they fought their battles like heroes till death in order to preach the truth of the Gospel and bear witness to it by the shedding of their blood.  [...]  This finally, moved the virgins to a free and joyful withdrawal from the pleasures of the senses and to the complete dedication of themselves to the love of their heavenly Spouse." - Pius XII: Haurietis Aquas 
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(And I'll share with you a secret to insure your personal, intimate devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is pure and chaste and true.  Go to him through the Immaculate Heart of Mary...  He will perhaps lead you there anyway.  "I will lead you, bring you in to the home of my mother." Songs 8  There he will teach you true and pure and chaste love... and heal you.)
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*Note:  Strangely enough, that particular novice master discouraged devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Paul VI on Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

I've been considering the Apostolic Letter Investigabiles Divitas Christi of Paul VI on devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as we begin the month of June.  The following is an excerpt:
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"This, therefore, seems to us to be the most suitable ideal: that devotion to the Sacred Heart - which, we are grieved to say, has suffered somewhat in the estimation of some persons, - now reflourish daily more and more.  Let it be esteemed by all as an excellent and acceptable form of true piety, which in our times, especially because of the norms laid down in the Second Vatican Council, must be rendered to Christ Jesus, 'the king and center of all hearts, who is the head of the body the Church... the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in all things he may have first place.'" - Paul VI, 1965
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Sometimes I think there is a strong undercurrent present amongst some Catholics to discredit anything coming out of Vatican II or promulgated by Pope Paul VI.  That is too bad.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Liturgical Prayer of the Church.


Every true prayer is a prayer of the Church; by means of that prayer the Church prays, since it is the Holy Spirit living in the Church, Who in every single soul 'prays in us with unspeakable groanings'.  - Edith Stein
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There is an interesting debate going on in the com box at Fr. Z's discussing the Liturgy of the Hours (liturgical prayer) as liturgical act, which raises the question whether or not laity can perform a liturgical act on their own, or is it necessary for a cleric to officiate?  (Did you know that The Liturgy of the Hours is an extension of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.)  A couple of the commenter's may have forgotten that many men and women religious, as well as members of secular institutes and secular third orders in the Church are also obliged to pray at least part of the Divine Office each day, or substitute it with another approved office or rule of prayer.  (Monastics are strictly obliged.)  Apart from the vowed religious, these are essentially lay people actively participating in the official prayer of the Church   Lay people do indeed participate in the liturgy of the Church.  It is the Prayer of the Church.  The prayer of the Church  is the prayer of Christ. 
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It amazes me how people have to make everything so complicated and exclusive.
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How many Catholics have even read the Catechism?
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Speaking of which, this is what the Catechism says regarding the Liturgy of the Hours:  "The Liturgy of the Hours is intended to become the prayer of the whole People of God.  In it Christ Himself 'continues his priestly work through His Church'  His members participate according to their own place in the Church..." - CCC 1175
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Roman Catholic people:  Read your Catechism.  Learn your Catechism.  And if you pray the Liturgy of the Hours, read the Introduction... the Decree (Apostolic Constitution Promulgation: The Divine Office Revised Ny Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council).  Don't just make this stuff up on your own.
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If you do not own a Catechism, buy one.
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Photo credit.

Pier Vittorio Tondelli

 President Obama Designates June as GLBT Pride Month

Always the patriot, and out of respect for President Obama I hope to honor his designation of June as Gay Pride month by posting about good Catholics who left behind the homosexual lifestyle for the sake of the Gospel, heeding Christ's call to "reform your lives, the kingdom of God is at hand!"  Motivated by divine love, these men obeyed the call to "'Come out from among them and separate yourselves from them'... 'I will welcome you and be a father to you and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty". - 2 Cor 6: 17-18. Of course that is not an easy thing to do and requires great grace - but there are holy men and women who have come through the struggle and who are intercessors and models, thus, "since we have these promises, beloved, let us purify ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, and in fear of God strive to fulfill our consecration perfectly." - 2 Cor 7:1



Pier Vittorio redux....
The controversial Italian homosexual writer, who died in 1991 due to complications of AIDS, had been reconciled with the Church before he finally succumbed to the disease. He died a Catholic. I mention Tondelli today, as a sort of patron saint for those who struggle with the issues of homosexuality and Catholic teaching.
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“Tondelli was fascinated with the works of Jewish mysticism, the Imitation of Christ, and the mystics like St. Teresa of Avila. “I love to look through them, to find and read stories, and the idea of holiness,” he wrote.
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In 1989, the Italian writer said, “Everyone that has been raised in the bosom of a religion has his own religiosity. I have always tried to seek out not so much a discussion about the Catholic faith, but rather to express my own religiosity—without a doubt in the bosom of Christianity—which seeks out or questions its own positions, especially in confrontation with other authors.”
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Speaking about chastity after his conversion, Tondelli called it “a mystic virtue for those who have chosen it and perhaps the most superhuman use of sexuality.”” - Catholic News Agency

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My reflections…
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I love Tondelli's statement regarding chastity…”a mystic virtue…the most superhuman use of sexuality.”
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This scripture come to mind: “When he found one really valuable pearl, he went back and put up for sale all that he had and bought it.” - Matthew 13:46
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And this: “I assure you that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.” - Matthew 21:31
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I also find it interesting Pier Vittorio enjoyed reading the mystics before his conversion. Many saints read the lives and writings of the saints before their own conversions, - two that come to mind immediately, Ignatius of Loyola and Edith Stein - what they read led them to the truth.
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(Originally published on Abbey-Roads 2.)

The Month of June Is Dedicated To...


The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
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How do we serve God faithfully? We serve Him only as faithfully as we serve Him lovingly, by giving ourselves to the needs of everyone whom God puts into our lives. No one reaches heaven automatically. Heaven must be dearly paid for. The price of reaching heaven is the practice of selfless love here on earth.
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That is why God puts into our lives so many occasions for loving people who obviously do not love us, or giving ourselves to people who have never given themselves to us. How desperately we need, especially in today’s world, to learn that God became man in order to suffer and die out of love for us on the Cross.
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That is what devotion to the Sacred Heart is all about. It is the practice of selfless love toward selfish people. It is giving ourselves to persons that do not give themselves to us. In all of our lives, God has placed selfish persons who may be physically close to us, but spiritually are strangers and even enemies. That is why God places unkind, unjust, even cruel people into our lives. By loving them, we show something of the kind of love that God expects of His followers.
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Devotion of the Sacred Heart is the solution to the gravest problem in the modern world today. How can we give ourselves to those who do not love us, who even positively hate us? We can love them, with the help of divine grace, by following the example of Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross out of love for a sin-laden human race. - Fr. Hardon
Photo:  Altar of the Sacred Heart in Notre Dame, Montreal, Quebec to which I felt irresistibly drawn when I first visited the church.  It was before this image of Christ appearing to St. Margaret Mary that my conversion 'began' in the summer of 1971.  Not sure what I was doing, I lit a candle and asked the Sacred Heart of Jesus to "be patient with me because I can't give it (sin) up just yet."  The following spring I returned to the Church after another call from the Sacred Heart.
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A very efficacious prayer is this one: "Sacred Heart of Jesus I place all my trust in you."  Your salvation may depend upon it.
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My loving Jesus, out of the grateful love I bear you, and to make reparation for my unfaithfulness to grace, I give You my heart, and I consecrate myself wholly to You; and with Your help I purpose to sin no more. Amen. (Raccolta, n. 260)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Cutie finds his niche.

Alberto Cutie who left the Catholic Church to marry his girlfriend was ordained a priest Saturday for the Episcopal church.  That seems odd - don't they recognize Roman Catholic orders?  Wouldn't Cutie know the difference?
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Photo:  Cutie and the Mrs..

Ecclesialwear...


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I love this scene.

Blessed Pierina di Micheli

Mother Maria Pierina di Micheli was beatified this past weekend at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.  I had heard of Mother Pierina when I was younger, and became interested in her because of her devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.  My devotion to the Holy Face was first inspired by the Carmelites who introduced me to the revelations of Sr. Marie of St. Pierre, the French Carmelite who promoted the devotion to Veronica's Veil.  It seems to me this devotion remains very much necessary in our day.
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 *CNA 
Mother Maria Pierina De Micheli was beatified in Rome on Sunday. Although the Pope was not present at the rite, after the Angelus he commended her for her "extraordinary devotion" to the Holy Face of Christ.

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The beatification ceremony, presided over by the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Archbishop Angelo Amato, took place on Trinity Sunday at the Basilica of St. Mary Major.*
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"I firmly wish that my face reflecting the intimate pains
of my soul, the suffering and love of my heart, be more
honoured! Whoever gazes upon me already consoles me."

Another reason some young people may decide to avoid a church wedding.


Aside from a lack of faith.
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I was reading Fr. Z's post regarding wedding stipends or stole fees to the priest witnessing a marriage ceremony in a Catholic church.  Fr. Z suggested that $100 dollars is not an excessive 'stole fee' given to the priest in appreciation for his services.  Father indicated it could be more.  Ordinarily this offering would be on top of that given for the use of the church, the music director's fees, and if servers are used - tips for the altar boys.  It dawned on me that young people, who can be somewhat apathetic about religious services in general, not to mention conventional etiquette, may not want to bother with such formalities.  I'm not just talking about the unchurched kids of fallen away Catholics either.  College kids and young urban professionals, although they or their families could afford it, may not want to bother with the added expense of a church wedding.  What I'm trying to say is that a lot of unmarried couples use the money angle as an excuse either not to marry at all, or to opt for a simple civil ceremony.  (I have no idea what civil fees amount to.) 
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Anyway - when I first read the post, a fee of $100 or more seemed a bit steep to me.  (I've never been married and so the practice of paying the celebrant never even occurred to me.)  I checked around however and it does appear a stipend reflecting the level of grandiosity for the wedding extravaganza is expected, and $100 may indeed be on the cheap side. 
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Normally, diocesan priests are salaried and housing is offered/provided by the parish or institution to which they are assigned, hence the priest does not necessarily live off the stipends received - unless he lives in the third world.  So naturally I just assumed... 
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I believe it is the responsibility of the bishop of the diocese to regulate matters concerning monetary offerings involving Mass stipends and the like.  (Of course a Catholic is not expected to make an offering for the sacrament of penance, or the anointing of the sick, the blessing of sacramentals or other such things.)  As to be expected, parishes are supported from regular offerings by the faithful through collections, donations, endowments and fundraising events.  Each parish may be budgeted differently, but I'm quite certain a portion of the income received supports the priest and his residential requirements in addition to his salary.  I might be wrong about that however. 
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Regardless, the most important thing for non-practising Catholics and non-believers to understand is that the Mass and the sacraments are not for sale - Catholics do not pay for the sacraments - but we do provide support for our priests.  Discussions about fees, stipends, offerings, and 'price-fixing' is one of the most misunderstood aspects of the Catholic Church for 'outsiders' and critics of the Church to pick up on.  Very often lapsed Catholics and non-believers hear this stuff and convince themselves the Church is just after their money - we've all heard it.  Unfortunately trying to defend the practice can sometimes make the priesthood sound like an ordinary career with a pay scale for different levels of service.
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Generally I think weddings are overdone anyway - they are usually much too extravagant and ostentatious. 
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"All you who are thirsty, come to the water; You who have no money come, receive grain and eat;  Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk." - Isaiah 55:1 
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Links:
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Pittsburgh - St. Paul's Cathedral Wedding Costs
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Edmond, OK - St. John the Baptist Wedding Costs.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

"And he opened the bottomless pit..." - Book of Revelation 9:1-3

The Catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.
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The wall paintings from Mt. Athos depicting scenes of the Apocalypse keep coming to mind each time I see footage of the oil leak in the gulf.  And as I read the text from the Book of Revelation the frescoes illustrate, I can't help but think of the volcanic activity taking place around the world as well.  Yet volcanic activity is natural... the oil leak is not. 
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All the efforts to stop the leak have thus far failed
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Art: Athos - Agion Oros: A Weblog about the Holy Mountain

Fr. Louis

And Terry.
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"My idea of what I am is falsified by my admiration for what I do. And my illusions about myself are bred by contagion from the illusions of other men. We all seek to imitate one anothers imagined greatness....If I do not know who I am, it is because I think I am the sort of person everyone around me wants me to be. Perhaps I have never asked myself whether I wanted to become what everybody else seems to want to become. Perhaps if I only realized that I do not admire what everyone seem to admire, I would really begin to live after all."  - Merton: No Man Is An Island
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Not so much.  I'd have to rephrase it a bit to fit me...
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... My idea of what I am is falsified by my preoccupation about what I do.  And my illusions about myself are bred by contagion from the illusions of other men. We all seek to emulate one anothers imagined greatness....If I do not know who I am, it is because I think I am the sort of person everyone around me wants me to be. I have asked myself whether I wanted to become what everybody else seems to want to become... only to realize that I do not admire what everyone else seems to admire.  I have only thus begun to live after all...  But it is very late.
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That's a better fit.
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I haven't bought all of what Merton had to say - I just thought I'd mention that.

The Matisse Chapel



Chapelle du Rosaire
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I came across this video at Idle Speculations (one of the most beautiful blogs online BTW) - and I had to post this for Sunday morning.  Terry at Idle felt the commentary was a bit over the top, but I found it rather moving.  The young commentator seems to be deeply moved within the wonderful light of the chapel, though he seems not to understand religion - just yet. 
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I have seen the chapel before, but I'm not sure my readers have.
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Thanks to Terry of Idle Speculations.