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, October 29, 2011

Halloween weekend prep...



Thanks to Sara Puddytat.
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A friend just told me my posts have been rather dark lately.  Seriously.

Public Service Announcement: Shadowlands is offline.



SHADOWLANDS IS OFFLINE I SAY!
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Shadowlands deleted her blog.  She is okay - she just decided to take the blog down.  However - someone, something took her blog over but what is there is not hers.  I deleted my link because I think the new site is an alien portal and while I was on it I felt my breath being sucked out of my mouth and so I quickly shut down - rebooted the computer and deleted that dastardly site.  Monkberry moon delight!
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Guess what?  Fr. Z is on a plane going someplace.  I know.
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'So what', you say?  Halloween weekend?  Don't you see?  Can't you figure it out? 
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BTW - for people who put up and take down blogs like dressing and undressing - you lose followers and readers and links when you do that.  It's better to keep your crazy old posts and just keep blogging - you can't erase the past. 
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"We love you!" - Bob and Penny Lord

The politics of evangelization.


Kind of.
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I'm still reading the index of The Duty of Delight.  It reads like a who's who in my early spiritual life - I know exactly what and who Dorothy Day is talking about - and I'm just a 29 year old kid!  (That's a lie!)
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I returned to the Church/sacraments in - a long time ago now - and when I did I had to hide mt piety and pretend I was more with it politically/spiritually than I was.  Isn't that hypocrisy?  No.  It was survival and guarding my soul - especially when I had to try and convince psycho-therapist-confessors that what I was confessing was indeed mortal sin, or that if I embraced my disordered affections - which I couldn't do - I couldn't receive the sacraments and I'd no longer be able to be Catholic.  I've gone through years and years of that crap, so don't cry to me. 
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Just as at home, I had to learn to keep my piety hidden, and just sneak off to some church which still had adoration, or hide the fact that I prayed the rosary.  In fact I developed a way of praying the rosary without the beads ever being seen.  I of course loved the Bible and so I kind of fit in with the Charismatics.  The social activists - not so much.  Though because of my attraction to the Little Brothers of Jesus, socially active types were able to understand my attraction to the contemplative life amongst the poor... "I'll just 'be' poor and live amongst the poor - and pray."  I told them, some understood.  To non-religious friends it didn't much matter, so I actually found more tolerance amongst them than I did amongst "The Wanderer" types from St. Agnes, or the Catholic Charities types from the Dorothy Day Center in St. Paul, or even the Charismatics or the Blue Army.  I never quite fit the mold.
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Back on topic - is there one? 
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The Diaries reminded me of the days shortly after my conversion when I was seeking religious life.  After leaving the Carmelite Fathers I decided I wanted to investigate the Little Brothers of Jesus since I so admired the spirituality of Charles de Foucauld.  The Brothers had a house in Detroit.  What a culture shock.  They were poor alright, and lived in what I considered a ghetto, and the life was tough.  I think one or two of the brothers had jobs in factories, another was visiting from the Amazon, he slept in a hammock in the basement.  Conversation was always socio-economic-political.  The brothers went to neighborhood meetings and defended their neighbors rights.  They had their time for prayer and adoration, and daily Mass of course.  They used Tastee Bread - white sandwich bread.  I know.  Don't start - I have been through so much make-shift Masses and sacraments and religious rites it would make your head swim.
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The great amongst the weak.
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Anyway - one day I was helping one of the brothers in the yard.  By then I knew theirs was not even close to what I felt called to and I thought they were a bunch of communists - that was before I knew anything about liberation theology BTW.  So brother was cleaning up the alley and getting ready to make a garden.  Brother had what seemed to me a bit of attitude.  I was trying to be nice and helping clean up and I said something dumb - meant to be funny - "So we'll be the prettiest house on the block when we're done, won't we Little Brother?"
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Brother just looked at me - and I laughed and said, "Just kidding - but since you guys are so active at the city council meetings for neighborhood improvement, I really did kind of think you were fixing the place up as an example."  Again he just stared at me.
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After a long pause, I muttered, quite audibly, "Oh f--- you, I was just trying to be friendly and make some conversation."
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As I walked away, he said, "No - no!  I'm sorry.  I was just trying to process what you were saying." 
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"I'll be heading back home this afternoon."  I answered.
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So you see, once again, I didn't fit in. 
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The Little Brother was exulted in his humility, and I went away confused and empty.
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I trust in God's mercy.
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Photo:  Tomb of Bl. Charles de Foucauld, Algiers

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dorothy Day



I finally received my copy of Day's diaries, The Duty of Delight, edited by Robert Ellsberg.  I've always liked Dorothy Day, even if sometimes I 've been suspicious of that period in her life when she was a "Marxist bitch" as I uncharitably referred to her on occasion.  That was mean, I know, but I never really liked leftist/activist women, though I've usually preferred them to their opposites.  I often find them cold, humorless and rather dykie.  But my attitude softened a great deal after meeting several nuns over the years, from Day's era, who remained faithful to Roman Catholic Church teaching/spirituality and their religious vows - some in monasteries, others in what used to be termed semi-cloistered convents with a direct apostolate to the poor.
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These nuns, several now deceased, told me of the days they either worked with Dorothy Day, or met her, and some even had her to dinner in the convent.  Others met and got to know several of her proteges, such flamboyant characters as 'The Baroness' Catherine Doherty; as well as religious celebrities like Thomas Merton, the Berrigan brothers, and others.  Dorothy and Mother Teresa also met/knew one another.  Through these sisters good example and stories of the early days of the Catholic Worker, as well as the vitality of Catholic activism combined with solid Catholic devotion which animated the Church before the Council, I got to appreciate the real Dorothy Day.  She no longer 'scared' me.  The woman really had abandoned Marxism for the Faith, although many continue to regard she and her movement suspiciously.  I like her - of all candidates for sainthood in modern times, Dorothy Day especially reminds me of St. Catherine of Genoa - another humorless yet deeply mystical social activist - albeit from a different era.
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Day has her staunch defenders and promoters of course - I'm neither of those.  I appreciate her spirituality and intuitive, albeit traditional understanding of the Gospel.  In fact, I like reading about the good Catholics who lived the Catholic faith generously in the first half of the 20th century - right through the 1950's, '60's, and '70's!
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I find it strange when people like John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter suggests that there is something totally new and unexpected happening today in the Church with what he calls the 'new' Catholic Evangelicals - who are living the faith so radically, while more or less condemning, or at least dismissing the pre-Councillor Church as made up of dull and non-participatory 'pray, pay, and obey' zombies.  How absurd when one considers movements such as the Catholic Worker and holy people such as Dorothy Day and numerous others who contributed to the propagation of the Faith.  It is this type of self-exulting, myopic arrogance that really annoys me these days.  The highly educated, half-baked intellectuals of our day dismissing one another as well as those who have gone before and actually paved the way for them to get to where they are today.  Mistakes are made in every generation.  Wait and see.
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Anyway - I look forward to reading more of Dorothy Day's more candid reflections and getting to better appreciate her deep, traditional Catholic spirituality.  Recently I read something Benedict XVI had asked Mother Teresa while he was Cardinal Ratzinger.  He asked her something like what she thought the Church must do to attract souls, and Mother Teresa replied, "We ourselves must change."  I find that beautifully echoed in something Day wrote, "We are not going to attract the masses to Christianity until we live it." - July-August 1961
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Some of our more smug brothers and sisters like to bring up quotes from the Holy Father regarding how at ease he seems to be in suggesting that it is not a bad thing that the Church becomes smaller - remnant-thinkers imagine he is talking about a pure, more exclusive Catholicism, a Catholicism where 'not all are welcome'.  I disagree completely.  I think it more reasonable, if not faithful to the Gospel, that Benedict XVI is referring to external realities - Catholic influence falling apart due to government intrusion and legislation which limits religious freedom.  As in times of persecution, such limitations account for the inevitable loss of property and perhaps institutions, as well as the various foundations that rely so much on private fund raising and marketing to promote their 'apostolate' and provide income for management and staff.
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I may be wrong, but I'm convinced the Holy Father could never envision a smaller Church as regards souls - like Christ and his saints, the Holy Father wants the Church to be filled to overflowing. 
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PS:  The Wanderer is referenced in the diaries.  I know!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thank you Holy Father!



"Do not become wolves among wolves!"
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The Holy Father is calling Christians to peace, to not  “giving in to the temptation of becoming wolves among wolves.” 
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According to the Pope, the main contribution Christians can make to the peace cause “is to pray.”
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This prayer should be unarmed, as was that of Jesus and his disciples: As Benedict XVI recalled, Jesus is a “poor king among the poor, he is temperate among those who want to be temperate. In this way, he is the king of peace, thanks to the power of God, who is the power of good, the power of love.”
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He is a king who “brings peace on the Cross, bringing earth and sky together and building a brotherly bridge between all people,” the Pope added. Hence the call for individuals not to become “wolves among wolves.” The Pope expressed his belief that “it is not with power, force or violence that the kingdom of God’s peace is spread, but with the gift of oneself, with extreme love, even towards one’s enemies. Jesus does not win the world with the force of arms but with the force of the Cross, which is the real guarantee of victory.” - Vatican Insider
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And this from CNA:
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"(Christ) did not enter Jerusalem accompanied by a mighty army of chariots and horsemen. He is a poor king, the king of the poor of God,” said the Pope, “he is a king who will make the chariots and steeds of battle disappear, who will break the weapons of war, a king who brought peace on the Cross, uniting heaven and earth and building a bridge between all mankind.”
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And the kingdom of Jesus, the Pope noted, is universal. Its horizon is not “the territorial horizon of a State,” but “the confines of the world,” and wherever Christ is to be found “in the great network of Eucharistic communities covering the earth, wherein the prophecy of Zecheriah re-emerges in splendor.”
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Christians can help expand the bounds of this kingdom of peace “not with the might of war or force of power,” but “with the giving of self, with love carried to its extreme consequences, even towards our enemies,” said the Pope.
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He then turned the pilgrims’ attention to a physical reminder of that attitude, pointing to a statue of St. Paul with a sword in hand—the means by which he was executed in Rome—located on the front of St. Peter’s Basilica.
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St. Paul’s strength “lay in the fact that he did not seek a quiet life,” said the Pope, but rather in the fact that “he was consumed by the Gospel” and “gave all of himself without reserve.” This led to him becoming the “great messenger of peace and reconciliation in Christ.”
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Similarly, he said, Catholics today must be willing “to pay in person,” even if that means suffering “misunderstanding, rejection and persecution.”
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“It is not the sword of the conqueror that builds peace, but the sword of those who suffer and give up their own lives.”  - One day before Assisi... CNA
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That's all.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On Communion in the hand, again.



"The Son of man will be given over into the hands of sinful men."

I think I mentioned before I think of that scripture frequently as I receive communion in the hand.  I also think of the following from 1 John: "... what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and our hands have touched... the word of life."  What a thrill it was for me to be able to touch our Lord - the word made flesh - and hold Him in my hands.
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When I was told we could receive communion in the hand I was thrilled to touch Him, to hold Him - unworthy though I am.  He allows himself to be given over into the hands of sinful men, to communicate, to unite himself to us.  He humbles himself for our sake.  So you see, I'm conflicted about the communion in the hand controversy.  The bishops say it is permitted - others say not.
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Personally, I prefer to receive kneeling and on the tongue, but that isn't how it is done at my parish, nor the standard practice in this archdiocese, although I could drive 10 miles to get to a church which does that.  Nevertheless, we are permitted - and in the past, encouraged - to receive standing, after a bow, in the hand - and now more recently it has been publicly acknowledged that we always could receive on the tongue.  (Although many priests discouraged it.) 
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Now days, lay people assist the priest in distribution, I receive from a lay person - a lay person handles the sacred host and places it in my hand.  The lay person usually doesn't know how to place the host on my tongue - that organ St. James so aptly disparages as a "restless evil, full of deadly poison."  Which is in part, why we plead, "Lord, I am not worthy that you come under my roof, only say the word and my soul shall be healed."  Yet the love of God cannot resist, and He gives us his precious body, blood, soul, and divinity in holy communion - giving himself over into the hands, or on the tongues, of sinful men.  Which is worse?  The soul in mortal sin of course - one cannot receive worthily while conscious of, and obstinacy in mortal sin.  But I digress. 
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"What our hands have touched."
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Anyway, I normally receive the sacred host from a lay person - with all due reverence possible, my hands carefully cradled beneath his/her hand, taking the host from my palm wherein he/she placed it, consuming the host immediately, checking my hands for any particles before returning to the pew.  If a deacon or priest distributes at the line I'm in, then I try to receive on the tongue.  I don't normally take from the cup, knowing full well the complete and entire body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ is in the host just as much as it is in the cup.  Though it is permitted to receive the Precious Blood, I normally mortify my desire for it.  (I know talk of the indult expiring abounds, but the privilege hasn't been ordered stopped in my area yet.  Always wait for your local ordinary to decree before you jump to conclusions on your own.)
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I personally do not like handling the consecrated host.  It is one reason I now dislike being at my parish for adoration on Wednesdays.  I'm expected to repose the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle at the end of the day.  Which means I'm handling and transferring the Eucharist.  I replace the glass luna, without a case, in a dilapidated tabernacle.  The altar I take it from frequently has dirty linens, the corporal has specks and sometime crumbs of what appears to be particles of the host on it, along with wine stains.  Some priests no longer remove the corporals after Mass and use them over and over  If they want to avoid this negligence they ought to restore the use of the burse and the proper care of the altar and its linens.
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"Mere men ate the bread of angels."
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Pious lay people are often very concerned about minuscule particles left on one's hand, or those that could fall from the host as it is distributed.  I'm not sure they know what happens at the altar, nor should they perhaps.  As I'm closing adoration, I pick up the particles I see on the corporal and consume them - thinking they are probably left over from Mass.  I'm thinking I can't do that any more - I shouldn't even be on the altar.  Though I continue to go to adoration on Wednesdays, I try to avoid closing when possible.  Although since there are so few people who come - usually none - it's inevitable that I must do the closing.  So I see what may be fragments from the Eucharist still on the altar.  One psalm concerning Jerusalem comes to mind, "even the dust (of the Holy City) I revere"  so how can I leave paticles lie there?  While the verse, "even the dogs eat the leavings at their master's table" moves me to do something lest something else consumes them.  I don't feel right about doing it however.  Yet not doing it seems to me even more sacrilegious. 
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The responsibility to close falls to me nonetheless, so after quietly reciting the prayers of Benediction, I repose the Blessed Sacrament quietly.  The weekly bulletin says Benediction closes the day - but we never have Benediction at the end of the day.  I can't pretend to do Benediction, although I can silently recite the Divine Praises.  More recently, whether I make the Wednesday date or not, I go to another church for adoration on Thursdays, where I can be alone and ignored - just He and I.  Unfortunately, if I don't show up on Wednesday afternoons, no one else does either - Adoration ends at mid-day then.  As you may have noted, I'm conflicted about touching the Blessed Sacrament.  I also think adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle and not exposed should be revived and encouraged.
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Having said all of that, the intention of this post was to draw attention a discussion regarding communion in the hand and St. Cyril of Jerusalem who has been often quoted/misquoted? in the debate on how to do so - you might know the instruction:  by making a little throne of our hand for the sacred species to rest.  The post also mentions those laity who carry the sacrament to the sick.  It's an interesting post, yet adds somewhat to the confusion, read more at The Great Deception about Holy Communion in the hand.
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I'll wait for Archbishop Nienstedt to make a decree.  Nothing wrong with being taught and guided by one's local ordinary.
"O that my people would heed me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
At once I would subdue their foes,
turn my hand against their enemies.

The Lord's enemies would cringe at their feet
and their subjection would last for ever.
But Israel I would feed with finest wheat
and fill them with honey from the rock."
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Art source.

Quick post.



Sad post:
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News today that Amy Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning - she drank too much in one sitting.  Women cannot physically drink as much as men.  I feel sad.  Don't drink alone - sometimes you lose track of how much you are consuming and never know when to stop.
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My family drank too much - those of us who stopped frequently ended up as dry drunks.  Believing we were much nicer when we drink - many of us returned to the bar to sweeten up - until we realized it didn't help - we really were assholes.  LOL!  Not really - we just lacked discretion and manners and any sense of propriety.  Drunks always make excuses BTW.  Both my brother and my dad died of alcohol related illness.   
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But what is a dry drunk?
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What is a dry drunk, and the ‘dry drunk syndrome’ as it is sometimes called? It can best be described as someone who fits one of two conditions.
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The first is someone who has given up drinking and drugging and not made any internal or emotional changes, they stay the same but the substance is gone. Or in the second case what was once someone abstinent and on a progressive path of recovery has slowly returned to chaotic and unrealistic thinking.
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Being active in your addiction sets up many trains of thought, attitudes, feelings, and actions that are problematic. Simply removing the alcohol or drugs without changing these underlying factors will produce a dry drunk syndrome. The dry drunk really refers to a condition and not the person. It is important to recognize a reversion back to our old ways of thinking and acting, or lack of progress in moving forward in recovery.
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The dry drunk can be a precursor to the beginnings of relapse, the AA Big Book describes this condition as being “restless, irritable, and discontented”. This set of attitudes can apply to anyone who is chemically dependent, or even those were not. - Finish reading here.
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"Prayer cannot be accompanied by self-indulgence."  Teresa of Avila said that - but never forget she also said "prayer is the trap door out of sin".  So keep trying and never drink like Amy Winehouse if you happen to relapse.  And go to confession.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If I wasn't Catholic...



I would certainly want to be.
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Why?  Because we have Christ truly present, body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Blessed Sacrament.
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And because we have the Mass and the sacraments, especially the sacrament of penance.
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Everything is mine... Christ is mine.  The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph and all the angels and saints are mine.  Mine are the heavens and all the earth and everything created, 'God himself is mine and for me, because Christ is all mine and all for me'.
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Nothing else matters.
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Art:  Infant Jesus, Dali

Where the word for 'cosmetics' comes from.


I think the world of Fr. Z!
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Fr. Z has an informative post entitled Fun with Latin!  The 'makeup' of the cosmos.  See where this is going?
Mundus, a, um is an adjective for “clean, cleanly, nice, neat, elegant” and “morally pure, upright, free from sin” as in the famous phrases from the Vulgate “cor mundum crea in me Deus… create in me a pure heart O God” (Ps 50 (51):12) and, “beati mundo corde … blessed are the pure of heart” (Matthew 5:8). In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, before the the Gospel the priest says the prayer called the Munda cor meum:
“Cleanse my heart and my lips, O Almighty God, Who cleansed the lips of the Prophet Isaiah with a burning coal. In Your gracious mercy deign so to purify me that I may worthily proclaim Your holy Gospel.”
As an aside, mundus, -i refers in the first place to “a woman’s dress or ornamentation” such as cosmetics. It is also “the universe, the world, esp. the heavens and the heavenly bodies” and thus “the earth, the inhabitants of the earth, mankind”. This is the equivalent of the Greek kosmos, whence is derived English cosmos and cosmetics. - Fr. Z

I love that!  Cosmos - cosmetics.  I never thought of that before  Thank you Fr. Z. 
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I sincerely think Fr. Z is the very best Catholic blogger/writer on the internets - ever!  (He has like 43 bishops reading him and the pope!)  I check his blog 2 or 3 times a day, not just because he has interesting and informative things to say and report on, but because I can always be sure of solid Catholic content, an honest handling of news and events - frequently better reported than the news agencies, as well as entertaining features such as his lifestyle/living features on cooking and travel and priestly dress.  Of course he sometimes can annoy individuals in the manner he chooses to state certain issues and opinions, but all in all, he's a gem.  He honestly and truly promotes the Catholic faith and defends the Church untiringly.  For all of my occasional jibes and jabs (he is entertaining!), Father Z is number one in my book.
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Let's all 'say a little prayer' for Fr. Z - every day.
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Disclaimer:  I'm totally serious.  I'm not off or on any meds.  I'm not drunk.  I did not just come back from confession nor am I performing a penance or any specific act of charity.  I just think I should acknowledge my true feelings, and I mean that sincerely.  I also pray for Fr. Z every day.  And no, I do not wear make up.
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Photo:  Cosmic Girl, Imelda Marcos checking her make up.

While on the subject of extravagant spending...



This photo shows a new Poor Clare monastery in France.  All the modern conveniences.
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I appreciate the Zen-like simplicity however - very poor in spirit.  There is really nothing wrong with the design and architecture in my opinion - but what were their old accommodations like?  What would St. Clare think?  This monastery looks to be on equal footing with the homes of the very rich and sophisticated.
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Is that bad?  I don't know.
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To be fair, the monastery is connected to a new visitor's center for the Le Corbusier masterpiece, the chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France.



The minimalism of the monastic complex was designed so as not to detract from the beauty of the chapel.  I'm sure most monasteries today are built with all modern conveniences and state of the art utilities and facilities - after all, they are intended to last until the end of the world, aren't they? 
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And then there was Spring Bank.
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H/T Rorate Caeli for the original piece.
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Photo credit/source and architectural background here.  (The Le Corbusier chapel was considered to be a little jewel

Auctioning off the abbey.



I hate stories like this.
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The alienation of church goods - selling off art and statues and vestments from a suppressed abbey is really sad.  I'm not as upset that the monastery was suppressed and the monks disbanded, as I am that sacred furnishings are sold off.  What am I talking about?  The Cistercian Abbey of Spring Bank, Sparta, Wisconsin, of course.  There is an online auction of estate furnishings - going on now until October 27. 
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What kills me is that the abbey was most likely mismanaged and fell short of the religious ideal they cracked themselves up to be.  Granted there must have been 2 or 3 fervent members of the community - but from what I'm told, something was off.  My original understanding was that the former prior left to become a chaplain to a monastery of nuns in Ireland, but now I'm told he is in Switzerland on sabbatical at the mother house.  At any rate, he appears to be out of the country as the monastery is dissolved in silence - no public announcements or explanations of what went on that I know of.  In the meantime, they are digging up the dead monks and transferring their remains to a Canadian monastery of the same order.  Pity.
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I say pity for the sake of the faithful, because this abbey solicited funds for their foundation - they accepted bequests and estates from the faithful to support the monastery.  As a religious house they accepted countless Mass stipends and requests for prayers and suffrages.  Throughout the 20th century, faithful American Catholics have helped build monasteries such as Spring Bank, as well as numerous churches, monasteries, seminaries, schools, and convents - only to have them sold off to the highest bidder when something went wrong, or as population shifted and vocations dwindled - and not infrequently, at the whim of an unscrupulous Church official - if not just poor stewardship by religious superiors.
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Today religious people keep asking for money and donations to build extravagant, fantasy monasteries in the mountains or the desert, or to replace great cathedrals and churches that were torn down or renovated beyond recognition, or sometimes, just to make their personal life more comfortable. 
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Fortunately, Canon Law governs the alienation of Church goods.  See here.

Art:  Amplexis of St. Bernard, 19th Century, Falknbah.  Estate of OL Spring Bank Abbey.  Sold.
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H/T to Badger Catholic for the auction story.

Monday, October 24, 2011

WOW! What if the Vatican really IS the seat of the antichrist?



Nah!  Couldn't happen!
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Vatican document calls for global authority to regulate markets!!!
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New World Order!
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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A Vatican document called for the gradual creation of a world political authority with broad powers to regulate financial markets and rein in the "inequalities and distortions of capitalist development."

The document said the current global financial crisis has revealed "selfishness, collective greed and the hoarding of goods on a great scale." A supranational authority, it said, is needed to place the common good at the center of international economic activity.

The 41-page text was titled, "Toward Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority." Prepared by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, it was released Oct. 24 in several languages, including a provisional translation in English.

The document cited the teachings of popes over the last 40 years on the need for a universal public authority that would transcend national interests. The current economic crisis, which has seen growing inequality between the rich and poor of the world, underlines the necessity to take concrete steps toward creating such an authority, it said.
- CNS

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Money, money, money $$$!  Gimme $$$!
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Holy crap Batman!  What does this mean?  Vatican approval for the Occupy Wall Street/ overthrow capitalism crowd?
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Just kidding.  Or am I?  At any rate, don't worry, I'm sure there will be a retraction in the morning.  Fr. Z has a call into  Fr. Sirico at the Acton Institute - keep tuning in. 


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I believe in God.
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Good news - Thomas Peters clears it all up for us here.
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I still believe in God, the Father almighty...

Still crazy...



Because I write and say whatever comes to mind...
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Which is why I blog I guess - and may explain some of my more stupid comments.
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Anyway, this is one of those days I have nothing to blog about so I will write whatever comes to mind.
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Like Occupy Wall Street.  It still is on my mind despite the fact I don't really follow it except to defend people when they are called bottom-feeders and scum.  See, that bothers me because it means people who say such things imagine themselves better than those people.  We always act like the Pharisee in his attitude towards the publican when we do that stuff.  We are all going to die however.  I thought of that watching the video of Gaddafi's death - in fact I meditated it during my rosary considering the passion of Christ.  Christ was treated like the criminal dictator.  That is how low Christ humbled himself. 
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The poor you will always have with you.
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I watched a piece on ABCNews this past weekend about a doctor in Pittsburgh whose 'clients' are the homeless - he makes street calls for free, and sometimes helps the poor he encounters to get back on their feet.  I was deeply impressed.
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America has an article/report from a priest, pastor of a poor parish out east who has noted an increase in funerals at his church which he attributes it to health care - or the lack there of.  The poor and destitute seem to only go to the emergency rooms when they are ill, and without insurance, they have no preventative care.  The pastor attributes the increased deaths to a lack of health care.  "'There’s no preventative care,' he said. 'They go to the emergency department for treatment. They’re not getting adequate care. They don’t have money for medicine.... Most of them shouldn’t die. It’s the result of socio-economic issues,' he said."
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I believe it is true.
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People who have worked all of their life and seem to have everything they need or want - their retirement savings, including added benefits like health care, allowance for travel budgets, as well as money for gambling, dining out, and other entertainment, have a difficult time understanding these things.  Especially if they had been able to pull up their boot straps and become a self-made man, and found a way to live a safe distance from the urban poor and undesirables.
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Seeing Christ in the poor and disagreeable...
Knowing they ('men from the Bowery') were “living on relief in lodging houses or sleeping in doorways,” Dorothy writes, “they were as poor, as destitute, as ‘down and out' as man can get. And yet how close they are to our Lord!” “I felt Christ in that man beside me and I loved him.” Then she offers a brief meditation: “Every morning, I break my fast with the men in the breadline. Some of them speak to me. Many of them do not. But they know me and I know them. And there is a sense of comradeship there. We know each other in the breaking of bread.” (Feb 27, 1939)
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This meditation, re-phrased in the postscript to The Long Loneliness , signals the abiding importance for Dorothy of seeing Christ in the poor. But it was not easy. Later in the same entry, she writes “Today we had to send Mary O'Connor away to Bellevue. She had been with us since last April, almost a year.” Staying at the Worker helped her for a while, but lately “she had been keeping us up nights chasing imaginary pursuers with a broom . . . cleaning her room at two in the morning . . . attacking people, stepping on their feet, kicking them, spitting at them, throwing a plate with very poor aim. We took broom handle and scissors away from her.” (Feb. 27, 1939). A few months later, Day writes about a guest named Joe being drunk: “drunkenness and all the sins which follow in its wake are so obviously ugly and monstrous, and mean such unhappiness for the poor sinner that it is all the more important that we do not judge or condemn them.” (July 8, 1939) Not easy to see Christ in Mary and Joe. Not easy to see Christ in the families living nearby either: “I remember one family on the west side, a longshoreman who got only a day or so on the docks every few weeks. He drank, his wife drank, and their children were growing up disorderly and dishonest. . . . They sold the clothes they were given for liquor. We spent all one winter giving food and clothing to this family. It was indeed hard to see Christ in these poor.” (Jan 2, 1940) - A Review Essay: The Duty of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day

Photo: NYC Breadline, Catholic Worker 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Blessed Virgin and Egypt



The most recent appearance.
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Reports are the Blessed Virgin is once again appearing in Egypt - perhaps to strengthen and console the Coptic Christian undergoing such severe persecutions.  The photo shown here is purported to be one of the apparitions which bears a resemblance to many other sightings since the famed Zeitoun apparitions which occurred in 1968-1971.  Those apparitions were approved by the Coptic and Roman Catholic Church as being worthy of belief.  I believe the early apparitions were considered to be a gift from heaven to strengthen and prepare the faithful for troubled times ahead.
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It seems to me Egypt is especially dear to Our Lady since she and the Infant Jesus and St. Joseph were given refuge there after they escaped the first persecution by Herod.  The Coptic Church is known as the Church of martyrs.
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