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 04, 2011

Pride and shame.


"Pride is not the opposite of shame, but its source.  Humility is the only antidote to shame."
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The sin of pride is an inordinate desire or love of one's own excellence.  Through pride a man thinks himself better than he is or he thinks he can do things which are beyond his own power.  The proud man thinks all of his talents are his own, he will not even acknowledge that he owes them to God.  If he does concede they come form God, he he still thinks they are due to his own merit.  He boasts of gifts which he does not possess, while despising other men and imagining himself to be unique.  Pride is a serious sin because it leads man to resist even God himself, not to mention God's plan for humanity.  Pride and presumption calls vice virtue.
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The original sin of our first parents was a sin of pride.  Through pride, through a disordered desire to attain some spiritual perfection without God, they fell.  (Paraphrased from My Way of Life, Confraternity of the Precious Blood)
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Original sin is the source of disorder in man's soul.
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Shame is good.
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When we do something wrong and we are exposed as doing so, we become ashamed.  Shame, or guilt is a necessary realization or understanding of wrong doing.  Modesty, or sexual shame protects us from sin - it is a safeguard against sin.  Shame is the result of original sin.  The ordinary man knows instinctively that moral shame is a consequence of sin, as is sexual shame.  Sexual shame is in fact a positive shame in so far as it is the guardian and protector of purity and chastity.   To construct a perfect definition here is beyond my 'pay grade' but it is something Blessed John Paul II discusses at length in his Theology of the Body.
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"(T)he mutual shame of the man and the woman as a symptom of the fall..." - JPII
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A certain fear always belongs to the essence of shame. Nevertheless, original shame reveals its character in a particular way: "I was afraid, because I was naked." We realize that something deeper than physical shame, bound up with a recent consciousness of his own nakedness, is in action here. Man tries to cover the real origin of fear with the shame of his own nakedness. Thus he indicates its effect, in order not to call its cause by name. Then God-Yahweh says in his turn: "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" (Gn 3:11).
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Man alienated from love

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2. The precision of that dialogue is overwhelming; the precision of the whole narrative is overwhelming. It manifests the surface of man's emotions in living the events, in such a way as to reveal their depth at the same time. In all this, nakedness does not have solely a literal meaning. It does not refer only to the body; it is not the origin of a shame related only to the body. Actually, through nakedness, man deprived of participation in the gift is manifested, man alienated from that love which had been the source of the original gift, the source of the fullness of the good intended for the creature.
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According to the formulas of the theological teaching of the Church,(1) this man was deprived of the supernatural and preternatural gifts which were part of his endowment before sin. Furthermore, he suffered a loss in what belongs to his nature itself, to humanity in the original fullness of the image of God. The three forms of lust do not correspond to the fullness of that image, but precisely to the loss, the deficiencies, the limitations that appeared with sin.
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Lust is explained as a lack which has its roots in the original depth of the human spirit. If we wish to study this phenomenon in its origins, that is, at the threshold of the experiences of historical man, we must consider all the words that God-Yahweh addressed to the woman (Gn 3:16) and to the man (Gn 3:17-19). Furthermore, we must examine the state of their consciousness. The Yahwist text expressly enables us to do so. We have already called attention to the literary specificity of the text in this connection. - Real Significance of Original Nakedness, Pope John Paul II

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Art: The Fall of Satan.
The very perfection of the angels exposed them to the constant danger of the gifted, the danger of enchantment with the splendor of the gifts to the denial of the Giver. - My Way of Life, The Angels

God created them, male and female.



After the fall.
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It cannot be said God created a person to be homosexual - in other words, God did not make you gay.  The natural sexual identity of the human person is male or female.
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The genesis of homosexuality is mysterious and difficult to understand, nevertheless it cannot be said God created the homosexual.  Natural law and scripture defy such an assertion.  As the Catechism teaches: "Basing itself on sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved" - Catechism of the Catholic Church 2357
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Even if it could be proven there was a genetic predisposition to homosexuality, it would not make the behavior natural.  A person may be genetically inclined to alcoholism, but it doesn't change the disordered nature of the behavior - it doesn't make alcoholism good. 
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Statements from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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Providing a basic plan for understanding this entire discussion of homosexuality is the theology of creation we find in Genesis. God, in his infinite wisdom and love, brings into existence all of reality as a reflection of his goodness. He fashions mankind, male and female, in his own image and likeness. Human beings, therefore, are nothing less than the work of God himself; and in the complementarity of the sexes, they are called to reflect the inner unity of the Creator. They do this in a striking way in their cooperation with him in the transmission of life by a mutual donation of the self to the other.
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In Genesis 3, we find that this truth about persons being an image of God has been obscured by original sin. There inevitably follows a loss of awareness of the covenantal character of the union these persons had with God and with each other. The human body retains its "spousal significance" but this is now clouded by sin. Thus, in Genesis 19:1-11, the deterioration due to sin continues in the story of the men of Sodom. There can be no doubt of the moral judgement made there against homosexual relations. In Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, in the course of describing the conditions necessary for belonging to the Chosen People, the author excludes from the People of God those who behave in a homosexual fashion. - On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons

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The 1975 Statement.
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At the present time there are those who, basing themselves on observations in the psychological order, have begun to judge indulgently, and even to excuse completely, homosexual relations between certain people. This they do in opposition to the constant teaching of the Magisterium and to the moral sense of the Christian people.
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A distinction is drawn, and it seems with some reason, between homosexuals whose tendency comes from a false education, from a lack of normal sexual development, from habit, from bad example, or from other similar causes, and is transitory or at least not incurable; and homosexuals who are definitively such because of some kind of innate instinct or a pathological constitution judged to be incurable.
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In regard to this second category of subjects, some people conclude that their tendency is so natural that it justifies in their case homosexual relations within a sincere communion of life and love analogous to marriage, in so far as such homosexuals feel incapable of enduring a solitary life.

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According to the objective moral order, homosexual relations are acts which lack an essential and indispensable finality. In Sacred Scripture they are condemned as a serious depravity and even presented as the sad consequence of rejecting God.[18] This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and can in no case be approved of. - DECLARATION ON CERTAIN QUESTIONS CONCERNING SEXUAL ETHICS, 1975
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Art: Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel.  "Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside." (Genesis 9:20-22)

Friday, June 03, 2011

Pilgrimage Lost



The 'way' becomes a 'lifestyle'?
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Like monasticism, the spirituality of pilgrimage has been watered down in modern times.  Personal comfort, convenience, nice accommodations, and pleasant company seem to be high on the priority list, not to mention ease of travel as well as the availability of sightseeing side trips and good eating.  One or two exceptions to this rule may be the more obscure  pilgrimage destinations which have not been developed for tourism.  Even in St. Therese's time, the bourgeoisie secured for themselves all the comforts their Grand Tour counterparts enjoyed in their travels.
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The pilgrimage as tour.
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I came across this story about a festival in Rome celebrating pilgrimage:
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Rome, Italy, Jun 2, 2011 / 09:08 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Rome is hosting a gathering that would be unusual in almost any other city-- a festival showcasing possible pilgrimage destinations from 31 different countries.
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The Journeys of the Spirit Festival, or JOSPFest, is bringing over 120 exhibitors from 31 countries to the Italian capital to promote their particular locations as destinations for pilgrimage.
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The organizers predict that over a million people will descend on Rome to take part in the festival. For those in the tourist business there are numerous seminars, debates and trade shows.
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This year’s theme connecting all the events is “The Pilgrim Lifestyle.”
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“The pilgrim lifestyle is really an interesting way of life,” said Mancini.  "The idea with a pilgrim lifestyle is that the values that come along with that journey of the spirit – building bridges, interacting, dialogue, being respectful, being kind - those values don’t have to end after you finish your pilgrimage. You can use them and implement them in your everyday life afterwards.”  - CNA
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The pilgrim lifestyle.
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I wouldn't be surprised if the festival presents more of a Disney-esque version of pilgrimage rather than anything close to the earliest concept of the meaning of religious pilgrimage.  It is obvious the festival version is about tourism as much as it is about religious pilgrimage - and both spell profit - which accounts for the festival/market in the first place.  Modern pilgrimage today makes Canterbury Tales look positively austere.
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Authentic pilgrimage is about penance and prayer, be it done in reparation, in petition, in thanksgiving, or simply for the sake of worship - it isn't a tour, or at least it shouldn't be.  A rock-wall climber ascending the most state-of-the-art climbing wall in the best of gyms is more ascetic than most pilgrims today.  A tour through the Tibetan mountains to visit Lhasa is probably more spiritually challenging and fulfilling than most first class pilgrimages to Rome or Rue de bac in Paris.
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Traditionally pilgrimage meant leaving the comforts and securities of home, seeking God, emptying the self as Christ did - arriving as a pilgrim and stranger, demonstrating to the world that we are not at home on the earth, rather we seek a fatherland which is above.  Ideally, it is a time of ascesis and contemplation, as well as spiritual renewal.  of course it is different for people of different ages and conditions, such as the sick who go to Lourdes, but pilgrimage of itself is an act of prayer and worship, and no matter the condition of the pilgrim, it should always have some character of self-renunciation.
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Like so many other spiritual endeavors of today, including monasticism and even priesthood, many seem  to be seeking to accommodate themselves, and even profit from their endeavors - that profit not always being spiritual.
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The Christian life should have the character of a pilgrimage.
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The pilgrim "withdraws from his acquaintance and those dear to him, and keeps his mind disengaged from all temporal comfort, so the blessed apostle Peter beseeches the faithful of Christ to keep themselves as strangers and pilgrims in the world." - Imitation of Christ
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"For there is no lasting city here on earth, we are looking for the city which is to come." - Hebrews 13
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Hence, in reality a pilgrim, and even the monk, does not need to ask for donations or secure accommodations to set off in pursuit of God, knowing he will receive everything he needs, "provided he is content with a sufficiency."
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"Today we love the world and it's luxuries and profits more than God.  We place our trust in insurance rather than God.  The whole idea of the pilgrim is to follow Jesus in a life of humility, poverty, hiddeness and ceaseless prayer in obedience to the will of the Father.  He walks in the way of abandonment to Divine Providence, and since he has been raised with Christ he seeks the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of the Father; his whole mind is set on the things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for he has died and his life is hidden with Christ in God." - Rule for a Pilgrim
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Wenski and Farrel - betting bishops.


A lot of hot air in the south.
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Miami, Fla., Jun 2, 2011 / 07:36 pm (CNA).- As the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks begin the NBA Championship series, the Catholic bishops of the teams’ hometowns have made a friendly wager on the outcome.
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Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami offered Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas three items from three parts of his archdiocese: a collection of Key Lime pies and stone crabs from Monroe County, a box of cigars handmade in Miami, and a fish bowl containing Ft. Lauderdale sand, shells from the beach, and water from the Atlantic Ocean.
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He will also include some “ocean breezes and oranges” if the Miami Heat lose, the Archdiocese of Miami reports.
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Bishop Farrell has accepted the challenge. He has offered barbeque ribs from Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q in Frisco, tortillas and salsa from Luna Tortilla Factory in Dallas, and a deep dish pecan pie from Colin Street Bakery in Corsicana. He is also offering a “Don’t Mess with Texas” hat.
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If the Heat loses, Bishop Farrell said, he would like to receive a picture of Archbishop Wenski wearing the cap, perhaps while sitting on his Harley motorcycle. - Catholic bishops bet on Heat v. Mavericks NBA Championship
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Who the hell cares?

Whatever happened to Euteneuer and Corapi?




Remember Dave Stone?

Uganda Martyrs - reprised.

Saint Charles Lwangda and Companions
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I always find it ironic that the feast day of a group of martyrs who were put to death for refusing King Mwanga of Uganda homosexual advances is celebrated during what has come to be known as Gay Pride Month.  Though many Christians were killed by Mwanga, a group of pages were sentenced to death not only out of hatred for the faith but for resisting homosexual relations with the King.  Homosexuality is a cultural taboo in Uganda to this day, although it is believed the king learned and acquired the practice from the Arabs. (Source)  Since certain cultural taboo were more or less ratified by Christianity, while other practices such as polygamy were condemned, Mwanga sought to rid the country of the new religion and all Christians.
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The story of the martyrs is at once gruesome and edifying.  Imagine accepting torture and death rather than committing a sexual sin which has become so commonplace in our day?  The sacrifice of the martyrs demonstrates that conquering sin is indeed possible for anyone, and their witness offers the Christian great hope, reminding us how they "endured the opposition of sinners", thus encouraging us, "do not grow despondent or abandon the struggle."  Their intercession is powerful before God, for their blood cries out on our behalf, encouraging us...  "In your fight against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood." - Hebrews 12: 3-4
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St. Charles and Companions pray us.   

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The ever evolving, progressive Bishop Joseph Sullivan on LGBTQ equality.



Bishop Sullivan's new ways ministry.
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I guess when you're retired you can come out and say whatever you want in support of the homosexual movement...
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Joseph Sullivan: Catholics are reaching out to the LGBT community.
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One need only flip through some of today’s cable news channels to witness how some of our society’s most sensitive public policy matters are overly simplified in black-and-white terms, in which only the most strident voices seem to get heard. Of those many hotly debated issues, the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community continue to make headlines.
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What you would probably be surprised to learn is that Catholics are among those who increasingly are reaching out pastorally to the LGBT community. A recent study released by the Public Religion Research Institute found that a majority of Catholics believe that job discrimination against gay and lesbian people should be outlawed. By almost 2 to 1, Catholics believe that gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children.
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The views of Catholics about the LGBT community have been evolving for years. - Bishop Sullivan Read on
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"The views of Catholics about the LGBT community have been evolving for years..."  Evolved.  Progressive.  No small thanks to bishops like Sullivan.


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Links:

Bishop Sullivan, friend of New Ways Ministry

Two Bishops Speak at Gay Conference Condemned by a Third Bishop
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Bishop opposes church teaching


BREAKING! Cardinal Burke Scandal



Cardinal Burke withdraws from London conference at last minute.
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Mystery surrounds the unexpected withdrawal of Cardinal Raymond Burke as the main speaker at a conference organised by Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice at Westminster Central Hall on June 18. - Source
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One can only speculate why, can't one.  I'm afraid there is quite a scandal waiting to happen here, Lady Hestor.
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Photo:  Cardinal Burke incognito.  It is a little known, often unspoken fact; the Cardinal slips about not wearing his usual red cassock, rochet, mozzetta, zuccheto, biretta, and cappa magna.  Again, one can only specualte why.  One source tries to explain that the cappa gets caught in the bus doors.
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What?

Fr. Peyton's Family Rosary Crusade, San Francisco Redux.



This is a great idea.
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When I was little Fr. Patrick Peyton visited St. Paul, Minnesota and hundreds - perhaps thousands - of faithful Catholics assembled on the lawns of the Capitol Approach, the huge area in front of the State Capitol, to recite the rosary.  My brother and sister had to take me to it - probably some mandate from the school sisters, I don't know.  They weren't happy about it - especially when they had to kneel, and we prayed the rosary publicly with the famous Fr. Peyton.  I was so thrilled, I was sure the Blessed Virgin would appear or that the miracle of the sun would take place.  After all. it was around 1960 and everyone expected the Third Secret of Fatima to be made public.
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Anyway, the Legion of Mary is reviving the practice and will stage a public rosary rally in San Francisco on the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Fr. Peyton event.  Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR will be the keynote speaker.
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Throughout history, during times of plague and famine, war and disaster, public prayer and processions were  key factor in obtaining God's mercy and an end to these chastisements.  The miracles of the rosary in this regard are numerous and well known.  I've been thinking how good it would be if bishops and the pope would call for such public prayers in these days when the faith is under attack and the world is beset by so many evils.  "Public prayer is far more powerful than private prayer to appease the anger of God and call down His Mercy and Holy Mother Church, guided by the Holy Ghost, has always advocated public prayer in times of public tragedy and suffering." (Secret of the Rosary
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The announcement of the San Francisco event seems to me to be a wonderful opportunity to re-introduce the practice of public prayer and processions to obtain the grace and mercy of God in our perilous times, when the faith and morals are under relentless attack.  If only the hierarchy would take leadership roles in this and promote such public devotions and prayers in reparation and petition in their dioceses.
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Public Rosary in San Francisco
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San Francisco, Calif., Jun 2, 2011 / 06:01 am (CNA).- Fifty years after a 1961 public Rosary gathered over half a million people in San Francisco, a Catholic lay group is organizing the same event for October of 2011.

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“We expect thousands,” spokesperson Gibbons J. Cooney told CNA June 1.
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On October 15, the Bay Area chapter of the Legion of Mary – an international community of lay Catholics – will host their Family Rosary Crusade. The event will be held in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza, starting at noon.
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In the 1950s and 60s, Holy Cross priest Father Patrick Peyton led Rosary events in countries across the globe. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the record-breaking 1961 Rosary Rally at the Polo Fields in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
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That event drew 550,000 people, making it one of the largest gatherings in the history of San Francisco. - CNA
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Pray the rosary every day.
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Finally, when people say the Rosary together it is far more formidable to the devil than one said privately, because in this public prayer it is an army that is attacking him. He can often overcome the prayer of an individual, but if this prayer is joined to that of other Christians, the devil has much more trouble in getting the best of it. It is very easy to break a single stick, but if you join it to others to make a bundle it cannot be broken. "In union there is strength." Soldiers join together in an army to overcome their enemies; wicked people often get together for parties of debauchery and dancing, and evil spirits join forces in order to make us lose our souls. So why, then, should not Christians join forces to have Jesus Christ present with them when they pray, to appease Almighty God's anger, to draw down His grace and mercy upon us, and to frustrate and overcome the devil and his Angels more forcefully? - Secret of the Rosary

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Photo credit:  Family Rosary Crusade 2011  Father Peyton addressing the crowds at the San Francisco Family Rosary Rally, October 7, 1961

Sagrado Corazon Jesus



"Mira este corazón mío, que a pesar de consumirse en amor abrasador por los hombres, no recibe de los cristianos otra cosa que sacrilegio, desprecio, indiferencia e ingratitud, aún en el mismo sacramento de mi amor. Pero lo que traspasa mi Corazón más desgarradamente es que estos insultos los recibo de personas consagradas especialmente a mi servicio."


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Medjugorje! Medjugorje! Medjugorje!



She could never be a saint, but she thought she could go to Medjugorje if you donate quick.
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Or is it, "She could never be a nun, but she thought she could be a martyr if you killed her quick."  Whatever Flannel wrote - I don't know.
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Kat is planning on going to Medjugorje!  This issue is almost as controversial as the decision to wear a chapel veil or not... To veil or not to veil?  Oh!  The humanity!

June: The month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.



The Twelve Promises of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary for those Devoted to His Sacred Heart:


•I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
•I will establish peace in their families.
•I will console them in all their troubles.
•They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.
•I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
•Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.
•Tepid souls shall become fervent.
•Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
•I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
•I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.
•Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.
•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.
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"The devotion produces rich fruit and makes a great change in those who are devoted to it and earnestly practice it." - Letters of St. Margaret Mary

Summer Job Postings: Christian Camp Counselors Needed!



Qualified candidates please send resumes to:

Deacon Jason Vorhees
Westborow Baptist Bible Camp
Camp Crystal Lake, Kansas


Memories that last a lifetime!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Painting and stuff.





The interview.
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Why haven't you been posting your art work?
  • I haven't posted my latest art work because I haven't photographed it.  I've been busy in the yard and working on some home improvements. 
What is your favorite color?
  • The sky. 
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Are you happy with what you've been making?
  • Not so much - I seem to be mostly filling frames - I have several antique frames that need paintings.  I'm not all that pleased with my recent paintings.  I've decided against entering any art shows this year as well.  I'm not interested in competition or awards. 
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Would you rather be doing commissions?
  • Not at all.  I've decided that creating stuff - just like writing stuff - to please someone else, or appeal to a particular audience is too constraining.  From now on everything must be done freely.
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How will that affect the blog?
  • Nothing will change - I don't think I've been anything less than authentic here. 
If you were a dog, what kind of dog would you be?
  • A cat-dog. 
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You have been blogging for about six years now, what has it taught you?
  • That living online isn't really living.  Many people seem to create an online persona to which they escape and reign from - as if they are major voices and influences upon culture and politics, religion and entertainment - notice I combine religion and entertainment - because many of the online personalities become entertainers - much like Oprah and other televangelists.
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You think?
  • Well I just use Oprah as a popular example, but there are other entertainment personalities one might compare others to.  I'm talking about many of the for pay bloggers - the ones who use advertising and donation buttons for their work.  Not all of them of course, but many.  Many people are deluded by their own conceit.  It isn't just religious bloggers of course.  Some of the design bloggers seem to be people who would prefer to be published in a design magazine but are unknown in the industry.  It seems many bloggers have hoped to get themselves discovered and published.  In a way, they've helped legitimize self-publishing, something publishing houses once mocked is working for the budding author online.
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You always seem so critical of online social networking, why is that?
  • Probably because I think it is phony - pretentious - much like characters in televised reality shows, we know someone is watching, or rather, someone is reading what we write.  Even when we are at our most honest I think we self-edit and orchestrate what we say to such a degree that we leave open the possibility that those who are reading will still like us and accept us.  It is a risky hobby for people who like to write.  Many times we face criticism and contempt for what we write.  Yet we only have ourselves to blame, for we are the ones who damage our personal reputation the most - by what we write about and how we express ourselves.  Regardless of how careful we may be of our reputation.
Did you ever read Tom Roeser, the blogger who just died?
  • No.
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What do you think of anonymous bloggers? 
  • You mean bloggers who hide their real identity or use a pseudonym and tend to be critical and mean spirited, right?  I think they are like many of the nasty anonymous commenters - they are cowards and most likely disturbed people.  Young to middle aged men whose psychological profile would put them in the same category of domestic terrorist as Ted Kazinsky.
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Not a few bloggers seem to have closed down their blogs.  What do you think of that?
  • I'm happy they have found that life is worth living - that they have found a life.  I'll never hear from them again.  It's strange because they kind of sort of let you into their life for awhile, asked you to pray for them and their loved ones - then suddenly they are gone.
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If you were a famous movie star would you be an alcoholic drug abuser?
  • Don't be impertinent.
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What do you think of priests and religious bloggers?
  • If they spend a great deal of time online they are failing in their vocation - it is a huge distraction to the spiritual life and a danger to be so concerned with friend connect and followers.  Recently a hermit priest has come online and solicits for donations and invites readers to visit - online and at his hermitage.  That is a bad start to a religious life.  
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One monastery blog and website went offline - what do you make of that?
  • Personally I think it is a good idea.  The blog posted too much information and the blogger was not a seasoned monk.  They made their own problems - not as serious as Santa Croce in Rome - but their self publishing damaged their already questionable reputation.  Getting offline was the right choice.
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So you don't think religious should be blogging?
  • I'm not saying that.  But cloistered religious are not cloistered if they are online all of the time, and if a priest is posting a lot, or spending most of his time online, something is wrong.
What do you think of people who asked for money to pay off student debt in order to enter religious life and then they leave the monastery?
  • I don't know what to think - I hope they paid the money back.
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Who are your favorite bloggers and who are your least favorite?
  • I can't say, but I will say that I read my least favorite bloggers the most because I get the most material from them.  So in a way my favorite bloggers are my least favorite.  You can tell who they are by what I write about.  I also tend to like the blogs most traditional types dislike. Some bloggers who were once my friend, I supported and promoted, only to be betrayed by them.  Well, betrayed is a bit strong - they dumped me.  A couple of them even tried to destroy my reputation with other people - the joke is on them however, since I've already destroyed it here.  As I said, 'Yet we only have ourselves to blame, for we are the ones who damage our personal reputation the most - by what we write about and how we express ourselves.'     
To be continued.

Monday, May 30, 2011

What?



Beverly: Mrs. Hinkle, do you drink?


Dottie Hinkle: No, I don't.

Beverly: So you weren't drunk when you received those alleged obscene phone calls?

Dottie Hinkle: I certainly was not.

Beverly: You mean to tell me the day I came over to Mrs. Ackerman's, the day you claim you recognized my voice, you weren't drinking?

Dottie Hinkle: One beer with lunch is hardly drinking.

Beverly: So you do drink?
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Dialog taken from the award winning classic film, Serial Mom.
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Is that Thistle pattern from Waterford in the photo?

Memorial Day 2011



Honoring the dead.
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Our country comes together this day to honor the fallen, the soldiers who gave everything in defense of our nation, not unaware of their comrades in arms, who continue to sacrifice their lives in defense of freedom.  In time of war, every day is some one's memorial day.  We honor those soldiers who died with our respect, gratitude and memorials, yet more deeply, we honor the dead most with our prayers and lives of integrity, striving to live up to the principles and ideals this nation is founded upon.  In honoring the fallen we show our support and solidarity with the troops who continue to serve our country - especially those most in harms way.
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Though Americans celebrate this day with celebrations, parades, BBQ, fireworks and other festivities, it remains a somber day in many ways, since we are still at war; in fact, for most of my life this country has been engaged in one war or another, some peace-keeping mission or just the rebuilding of our former enemies countries, destroyed by war.  It is a sobering reminder.  War destroys families and nations.  As Our Lady of Fatima said, "War is a punishment for sin."  Several Popes have pleaded, "No more war!"  perhaps it would be better to say, "Repent!  Do penance and sin no more!"
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Finally, war destroys families.  The bigger the war, the greater the devastation.  It takes moms and dads away from little kids.  Husbands and wives away from their spouses.  Sons and daughters away from their parents.  It not only kills and maims real men and women, it devastates the entire fabric of societies and culture.  War has its consequences.  Might doesn't make right.
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In memoriam, prayers for all of the fallen and their loved ones.  Thank you to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country at such great cost.  May we not only bury the dead, but honor them nobly and soberly, and hold their memorial dear - never forgetting them.  We can do this by supporting those who return, those who survived combat - I'm pretty sure we owe them a living.   

Temperance



Fr. Hardon on Temperance.
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The word temperance is derived from the Latin temperantia, which was used by Cicero to translate Plato's sophrosune, which meant restraint of the appetites and passions in accordance with right reason. As seen before, temperance is one of the four cardinal virtues, that moralists consider the most fundamental because it is the one on which the other three depend.
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In the New Testament, the Greek noun sophrosune, is variously translated as "soberness" or "sobriety" when it occurs in the Acts of the Apostles and St. Paul. (1) The adjective sophron, translated indiscriminately as "sober... temperate...discreet," is listed among the attributes proper to people of mature age and to leaders in society.

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For Christians, temperance in its physical aspects is related to the need for self-control of the body, regarded as a temple of the Holy Spirit. The teaching of the ancient Fathers of the Church, notably Origen, Ambrose, and Augustine, was synthesized in the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas, whose treatment of the moral virtues remains the classic theological work on the subject. He places temperance into context as the virtue that controls our unruly desires, including the appetite for food and drink.

As fortitude controls rashness and fear in the face of the major pains which threaten to unbalance human nature, so temperance controls desire for major pleasures. And because pleasure follows from connatural activity, so therefore are pleasures the more vehement when they attend our most natural activities. They are those which serve the individual through food and drink, and the species through intercourse of male and female, and it is with them that temperance is properly engaged. They come from the sense of touch; hence we conclude that temperance, in its most precise sense, is concerned with tactile pleasures.

In its broader aspect, therefore, temperance spans the control of all pleasures, but by common usage the word is applied to restraint in the taking of food, and mainly of drink. A familiar synonym is sobriety, in the reference to a person being "sober" when he is not under the influence of intoxicants.
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Moral theology teaches there are two ways of practicing temperance in the use of alcohol, either by moderation or by total abstinence. Both are approved by centuries of Christian practice, much as the practice of chastity is sanctioned by Christian morality, either by total abstinence, as with those who vow themselves to a life of celibacy, or by moderation, among the millions who marry and confine the enjoyment of sex pleasure to the married state. - Fr. Hardon Archives

David

Before visiting the United States.


After his visit to the United States:


That's what Martinis and fine dining will do when you just sit around all day.


H/T Paula

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jacob and the Angel.



The struggle.
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I once wrote a post about the struggle - the wrestling of Jacob with God in that dark night wherein Jacob's hip is injured and he was given a new name, that of Israel.  It is an important event in salvation history, yet is also an important image of the life of prayer as well.  Especially the role prayer plays in overcoming personal sin. 
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Every sin after baptism is a choice. The temptations - as well as the tribulations and seductions of life - test our fidelity. In every life one is faced with a fundamental choice - to choose between good or evil, Christ or the Antichrist. Some people may live in such severe testing, the choice is every day. Sometimes we lose, sometimes we win - yet so long as we live in the body we have access to hope, and mercy is available to us - thus we can lose a battle, recoup, and begin anew. But we have to keep trying, we have to persevere in the struggle - just as Jacob, the deceiver, struggled in the darkness with the angel, and was finally freed - though left with a dislocated hip as a sort of thorn in his flesh to keep him humble.
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"Even though we are unable to remain in control of the temptation, we are nevertheless being asked not to run from it or avoid it. We need to undergo the temptation and pass through it in order to come to Jesus, and we need to follow in his footsteps, our eyes focused upon his, he in us and we in him... In every temptation, in the depths of the infatuation of our senses or in the densest darkness of our mind, there is but one way out, for us as well, the way of Jesus." - Dom Andre Louf, o.c.s.o.

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The Holy Father's allocution from Wednesday, May 25 touches upon these mysteries of the interior life.
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Once the fight is over Jacob says to his opponent that he will only let him go if he blesses him. Jacob "who had defrauded his brother out of the first-born's blessing through deceit, now demands [a blessing] from the unknown man, in whom he perhaps begins to see divine traits, but still without being able to truly recognize him. His rival, who seems restrained and therefore defeated by Jacob, instead of bowing to the Patriarch's request, asks his name. ... In the Biblical mentality, knowing someone's name entails a type of power because it contains the person's deepest reality, revealing their secret and their destiny. ... This is why, when Jacob reveals his name, he is putting himself in his opponent's hands. It is a form of surrender, a complete giving over of himself to the other".
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Paradoxically, however, "in this gesture of surrender, Jacob also becomes the victor because he receives a new name, together with the recognition of his victory on the part of his adversary". The name "Jacob", Benedict XVI continued, "recalls the verb 'to deceive' or 'to supplant'. After the struggle, in a gesture of deliverance and surrender, the Patriarch reveals his reality as a deceiver, a usurper, to his opponent. The other, who is God, however, transforms this negative reality into a positive one. Jacob the deceiver becomes Israel. He is given a new name as a sign of his new identity ... the mostly likely meaning of which is 'God is strong, God wins'. When, in turn, Jacob asks his rival's name, he refuses to say it but reveals himself in an unmistakable gesture, giving his blessing. ... This is not a blessing obtained through deceit but one given freely by God, which Jacob can now receive because, without cunning or deception, he gives himself over unarmed, accepts surrender and admits the truth about himself". - Benedict XVI

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"You need perseverance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised." - Hebrews 10
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As I see it, and evidently the Pope does to some extent as well, our identity can never be limited to our sin or our disordered natural self.  In fact it is in and through prayer and mortification and surrender to the grace and mercy of God that we find our true identity in Christ.  Or as the Holy Father put it:
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"Our entire lives", concluded the Holy Father, "are like this long night of struggle and prayer, passed in the desire of and request for God's blessing, which cannot be ripped away or won over through our strength, but must be received with humility from Him as a gratuitous gift that allows us, finally, to recognize the face of the Lord. And when this happens, our entire reality changes: we receive a new name and God's blessing".
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"This is why, as also affirmed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 'from this account, the spiritual tradition of the Church has retained the symbol of prayer as a battle of faith and as the triumph of perseverance'". - Benedict XVI
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Morning Update:  I just discovered Idle Speculations has a better post on the subject here.

I've been thinking of Our Lady of the Rosary very much lately.



The only way I know of getting very close to Our Lady is to pray her rosary.  So from now on I will try to pray it more often throughout the day.
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The Rosary will be a very powerful armor against hell; it will destroy vice, deliver from sin and dispel heresy.

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The rosary will make virtue and good works flourish, and will obtain for souls the most abundant divine mercies. It will draw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means. - Promises of Our Lady to Christians who pray the Rosary
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If by chance your conscience is burdened with sin, take your Rosary and say at least a part of it in honor of some of the mysteries of the life, passion, and glory of Jesus Christ, and you can be sure that, while you are meditating on these mysteries and honoring them, he will show his sacred wounds to his father in heaven. He will plead for you and obtain for you contrition and the forgiveness of your sins. One day our Lord said to Blessed Alan, "If only these poor wretched sinners would say my Rosary often, they would share in the merits of my passion, and I would be their Advocate and would appease the justice of God." - Secret of the Rosary