Saturday, December 10, 2011

What's up with Terry?



I have the flu - I came down with it yesterday - which may explain my mood.

Back to bed now.

No - I did not get a flu shot.  Pray for me that I may be made worthy of the promises of Christ and may die a happy death.  I ask the forgiveness of everyone I have offended - those recently and in the past, and I forgive all who may have offended me at some point. 

How narrow the gate that leads to monastic life.




It really is.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Fr Z: Worlds's Best Catholic Blogist



Seriously.

Fr. Z has the very best posts of the day, week, month, year!  I'm serious.  And no, I'm not being sarcastic.

WDTPRS must reads:

St. Juan Diego's Miracle.

Bishops of Minnesota will be attacked in the press.

Fathers, people will go to confession if you preach about it and then sit in the box and wait.

When priests and Catholics just don't care enough to get it right.

And for your entertainment - and just to prove Fr. Z can be ROFLOL funny:

Sr. Joan and the organizing committe of the council of elders.
An Irishman was walking down the street one day and, to his delight, he saw a big crowd surrounding a couple of blokes beating each other to a pulp. The Irishman, shoved and elbowed his way though the crowd to the inner circle and, in a lull, shouted, “Is this a private fight or can anyone join?!?”

Fresh from her triumphs in Tahir Square in Cairo, the National catholic Fishwrap’s very own Sr. Joan Chittister has now taken up fight for the Occupists!

Yes, Sr. Joan, looking for a pick-up protest to join, has linked arms with the unwashed. - WDTPRS
So funny.

As for me - I got nothing to blog about.  I talked to my sister last night and I'm not sure I'll be able to recover from it.  The holidays are so DOA for me at this time.  At least Fr. Z made me laugh.  I think I'll go pray to Juan Diego now and get to confession ASAP, afterwards, maybe I'll be fortunate enough to get hit by a bus or something.



Movie quotes.



"You could practically write a whole book about what happened to me."

"Well it was GHASTLY! Just GHASTLY!"

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Thou art all fair O Mary...



And the orginal stain is not in thee.

O Mary!

by thy holy and immaculate conception,

make my body pure

and my spirit holy.

O Mary!  Conceived without sin,

pray for us who have recourse to thee,

and for those who do not,

especially the enemies of the Church

and those recommended to thee.

O Mary!


I declare with the saints: Mary is the earthly paradise of Jesus Christ the new Adam, where he became man by the power of the Holy Spirit, in order to accomplish in her wonders beyond our understanding. She is the vast and divine world of God where unutterable marvels and beauties are to be found. She is the magnificence of the Almighty where he hid his only Son, as in his own bosom, and with him everything that is most excellent and precious. What great and hidden things the all-powerful God has done for this wonderful creature, as she herself had to confess in spite of her great humility, "The Almighty has done great things for me." The world does not know these things because it is incapable and unworthy of knowing them. - True Devotion

A blessed and happy feast day to all of my readers.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The myth of 'queer saints'.



An LGBT invention.

HuffPo celebrated St. Nicholas Day with a misleading post titled, Joan of Arc and 9 Other 'Queer' Saints:
While many would freely admit that most of the men and woman of yore were not gay or transgender as defined by our modern standards, they would assert that these people were involved in non-heteronormative relationships, presented non-traditional gender identities, or understood, approached, and complicated aspects of faith with relation to sexuality and/or gender identity.

Performing a "queering" (or re-appropriating/re-imagining/claiming based on available evidence) of religious texts and lives is one tactic LGBT people have widely used throughout history to see or find themselves and each other in a world where they have been forced to remain hidden. It is a way to celebrate and honor those who did not live "straight" lives and to discover role models and trail blazers who may have been obscured, forgotten, or stripped of their queerness. - HuffPo 
It is a cheesy piece of sensationalist, conspiracy theorist, historical revisionist, and heterodox garbage.  'They' literally make this stuff up, they imagine what they want to imagine, and to paraphrase St. Jude, 'these revisionists pollute the flesh, they spurn God's dominion and revile the saints.' [Jude: 8]

As I've said so often in the past, Homosexual activists love to accuse the Catholic Church of lies and deception when it comes to Catholic teaching on homosexuality and so-called same sex marriage.

For a variety of reasons, homosexual persons have long looked for a saint who was 'gay'. Gay activists speculate about many great souls, insisting they were gay. Their conclusions are based upon 19th and 20th century understanding of homosexual behavior and culture. The modern concept of homosexuality did not exist before the late 19th century. In this case, I think looking for 'gay' saints represents a kind of 'pious narcissism' - with the aim to canonize same sex attraction.
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I once asked a monk if he thought any of the saints had been gay, and he answered that he did not know of any. He went on to explain that the temptation to homosexual acts was likely to have afflicted some of the saints, but it wouldn't have been any different from other temptations to lust. Before the 20th century non-sexual same sex friendship would have known and preserved boundaries, especially as regards that sin they used to say was too awful even to name. We today can't even imagine that kind of discretion.
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Now days many people want to claim this or that saint was gay. Even very good Catholics do this. Not a few insist Blessed Cardinal Newman was gay because of his extraordinary friendship with Fr. Ambrose. Others speculate that the Carmelite Fr. Hermann Kohen was involved in intimate same sex relationships, yet there is absolutely no evidence for such a claim, especially as it is well known that before his conversion he had love affairs with women. Such speculation demonstrates the human desire to have saints be just like ourselves. There is nothing wrong with that, although in some cases it opens the door to validating immoral inclinations or acts, and leads to what I mentioned, a 'pious narcisissm'. Wishful thinking is nothing but a deception and a trap.
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Having said that, all of the saints are powerful intercessors and models for the faithful for a variety of needs, thus it is good to look for those with whom we have some affinity and can identify with. Yet even the most pure and chaste, such as Therese of Lisieux knows and understands the suffering of souls, her sensitivity for the weakest amongst us surely makes her one of the greatest helps and models for survivors of all kinds of abuse, sexual disorders and addictions, and so on. Of course, it is the Heart of Jesus who understands the suffering, wounded soul the best - he alone knows the most hidden recesses of our hearts and descends into depths of our misery to redeem us in his Blood.
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I think in our day and going forward, we will get to know of candidates for sainthood whose intimate lives are very well known. I'm sure we will be hearing of saints who were raped and died, or those who survived to become saints, as well as survivors of abuse. And undoubtedly, there will be saints who had been former sex workers, as well as former active homosexuals, who repented and abandon those lifestyles. Perhaps some of these will even be martyrs. 

Links to my other posts on the subject:

Photo: Pier Vittorio Tondelli.  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.

Crows



Every Christmas season (beginning in Advent for me personally), I put out food for the birds and critters.  I found a new food at a local store that has all sorts of nuts and seeds - including pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and a whole mix of other stuff.  All the critters love it, and it has now attracted the crows, who are fascinating to watch close up BTW.

This morning I saw a crow fly away with a smaller critter, I think it was Mrs. Mole - I'm not sure - else it could have been one of the garden mice.  I usually try to tuck their food under and behind the planter so that they are less vulnerable to predators, but I think someone ventured out into the clearing to perhaps pick up a tasty morsel they liked more.  Then Mr. Crow came along and swept up whoever it was.  It made me sad, being the holidays and all - I have no idea what the family thinks since no one returned home this morning.  I expect their little nests have all been decorated by now, since all the moss I left out is gone.

I know it's the 'circle of life' stuff - or to phrase it more rudely, the food chain at work, but I like my little friends and try to look out for them.  I like it when Squirrel family is around, but they must have slept in this morning or something, because they weren't there until after it all happened.  Whenever they are around the crows fly away - like everyone else, they know how unpredictable squirrels can be, and plus, they really are a little nuts.  Mrs. Rabitowitz once told me that.  Her family continues to feed at night and before sunrise - but they are a bit standoffish, not at all like their mother.  Somewhat like Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal, who usually dine at dusk and at dawn - they are typically very discreet. 

I may have mentioned it before, but once I saw a hawk eating a sparrow just after dawn.  That was very sad, but I understood.

The holidays are always a mixture of emotions, aren't they.

Photo credit.

For the feast of St. Ambrose...



A little bit of the Ambrosian rite...  love this!  I can't tell you why.  But love will find a way.  And play it real loud, as Jacqui Parks always says!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Axe Father.


A new feature.


Editor's note:  A new feature for the holidays is our "Axe Father" column - so without further ado - our guest poster, Father Axel...

Dear Father Axel,

Since Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, is our Sunday obligation covered by the Christmas Mass?  Or do we have to go to Mass twice?

Signed,

Jane

Father's response:

Jane, you ignorant slut, both obligations are met with any Christmas Mass you choose to attend, from the vigil to the last Mass on Christmas day, which is on a Sunday this year.

Bonus feature:  A word from Fr. Axel to anonymous:

If you have ever posted lewd pictures of yourself online, or wrote some nasty stuff - just remember, someday you're probably going to have kids or maybe even decide to run for office, or go for a big job someplace - and all that stuff just might pop up in an online  background check... for everyone to see. And read.

Likewise, if you have written a detailed confessional of your conversion on a blog or in a book - someday your kids will be in school and some kid might taunt them, "Your mom was a stoner!"  or  "Your dad is gay?"  Or worse. 

Why Santa Claus flies through the air...



Because Saints can do that stuff.

Sometimes it's called levitation - or in the case of St. Nicholas - one may trace the tradition all the way back to the story of how the Saint appeared in the air to some sailors facing ship wreck who had sought his intercession.  In response to their desperate prayers, the Holy Bishop guided them ashore to safety. 

Why does Santa deliver gifts in secret?

Because once upon a time, in the dark of the night, St. Nicholas secretly gave dowries to three poor girls whose father would have had to leave them to prostitution due to the fact he didn't have the means to give them away in marriage.

Why does Santa seem to be a kid thing?

Oh that's because St. Nicholas once saved three little boys who had been murdered and pickled by a horribly perverted, child-molester man.  Yes.  He restored them to life.  He still loves little children and helps those who suffer in any way - but he especially assists those who continue to bear the wounds of childhood trauma and abuse well into adulthood.

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Art:  St. Nicholas rescues the ship wrecked sailors.  Read more here.  And there is a new film about him as well - find out about it here.

Filth



And decay...

I was doing some stuff around the house last night and I had television on CBS.  The comedies were so not funny, the writing horrible, and the storyline - if you can call it that - was filth.  I do not have cable, but occasionally, I'll check cable listings in the newspaper just to see what I'm missing.  Not much, that is for sure.  The best stuff on TV used to be the commercials, but now even they are badly done and have become strictly hard sell - totally uncreative. 

Today I was delighted to find these two comments on another thread - which, in a way, speaks to the moral depravity celebrated as art and entertainment:
... I know the beauty and joy of the Church's actual teachings, which are really the only sane way to look at it. Any overburdening of my conscience is my own fault.

This guy (another commenter) has not only praised gay sex, but also masturbation, adultery, divorce, and all kinds of of things that have enriched our culture so much. And I will say again, the culture is dead, not vibrant. One need only look to Europe to see that, or to the arts - what art is there today? Lady Gaga?
- Mercury
Later, another blogger supporting Mercury responded:
Yes, absolutely, Mercury. The consequences of our sins today are so smack in front of our faces, and we really are that blind that we don't see them! - Paul Stillwell
I believe it is important that we as Catholics not only accept Catholic teaching on sexual morality, but that we actually embrace it and publicly support and defend it whenever possible.  Paul is absolutely correct when he speaks of the consequences of sin.  First of all, sin does have consequences, and as Paul said,   "The consequences of our sins today are so smack in front of our faces..."
"How much filth there is..." 
"In Jesus' fall beneath the weight of the Cross, the meaning of his whole life is seen: his voluntary abasement, which lifts us up from the depths of our pride. The nature of our pride is also revealed: it is that arrogance which makes us want to be liberated from God and left alone to ourselves, the arrogance which makes us think that we do not need his eternal love, but can be the masters of our own lives. In this rebellion against truth, in this attempt to be our own god, creator and judge, we fall headlong and plunge into self-destruction." - Cardinal Ratzinger

Yes! Yes! Bishop condemns cell phones and Internet as tools of...



SIN!
Paraguayan Catholic bishop Claudio Silvero said 40% of Catholic families suffer because of the bad use of mobile devices and the internet, “accursed tools of sin”. 
Bishop Claudio Silvero denounced the use of cell-phones and the internet in a homily last week at the shrine of Caacupe, 32 miles east of Asuncion.

According to the bishop, “phones ease access to pornography and aid in “inappropriate relations.” 
The Paraguayan bishop considers it is the Church’s responsibility to “warn and educate” parishioners about the dangers of these devices, a position not necessarily shared by the Vatican, with a handful of apps to their name, and always trying to up their presence in social networks. - Source

I'll bet the Bishop would love my "Blognic in an Egg".   It might even get an Imprimatur now!


Remember!  The road to hell is paved with donate buttons and credit cards.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Christmas crafts: Retablos




I've often told Kat - who happens to be an excellent artist - that she should make retablos from her drawings - but she ignores me.  Anyway - this video explains how to make a retablo ornament -  contact information is included.  (This lady is very smart BTW - she has made a craft business for herself - stamps and kits and so on.  Check it out. http://delgadoarts.bigcartel.com/products  And no, I do not know her.)

Advent is a nice time to die...



My brother died on the feast of Our Lady of Loreto in 1990.  During that last illness the Advent readings seemed to be directed personally to him and his predicament.  I always remember him, especially now during Advent.  I've had other close friends die during this season, and it strikes me as a lovely time to go to meet the Bridegroom.

I've had a regular reader to my blogs ever since I began in 2006, Michael R..  Michael actually did battle brain cancer for several years; now I never hear from him.  I emailed him, but no response, so I'm wondering if he has died?  He sent me his story some time ago - a beautiful life, a life long struggle.  His deepest desire was to be a Trappist, but he couldn't...  I can't say much more, and I don't know for sure if he is dead - but I pray for him either way.  Perhaps you will too.

I think Advent is a nice time to die.

"The Lord is waiting to show you favor, and he rises to pity you..." - Isaiah 30: 18.

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.

Art:  Translation of the Holy House of Loreto

The last Christmas feast...


Monastery Christmas
I made this painting last Christmas after a photo posted by the former Br. Stephen of the now disbanded Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Springbank, Sparta, Wisconsin. It features the hog's head prepped for their final Christmas feast, 2010.  Included in the composition is my own cat, Celine, who died on the feast of St. Teresa a year ago last October. 
I loved the photos and posts Br. Stephen Treat posted on his blog Sub Tuum, on life in the monastery.  No doubt the monks lived rather 'high on the hog' when it came to abbey feasting - one of the monks was an excellent cook who obviously enjoyed preparing wonderful cuisine.  Nothing wrong with good food.
Although there is always that danger that such an extraordinary form of monastic life can sometimes result in the observance becoming just a tad too regal... 

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Sunday, December 04, 2011

Mass Chat: Touching... the honesty is too much.



Polling...

I just checked Fr. Z's blog and he has another poll up - I know! - asking about holding hands at Mass.  He has almost 3000 responses already.  I love his polls, BTW.  I responded.  My response is the 2nd highest category.  The poll: Holding hands with anyone/everyone during the Our Father.  I responded : No, I'd rather not and I avoid it if possible. (I am male) (29%, 695 Votes)

When I was younger I would have responded:  No, I hate it and simply will not do it no matter what. (I am male) (38%, 917 Votes)   However, I've mellowed out a lot since I just turned 30.  So I'll put up with it if I have to.  I never want to offend a little kid by appearing grumpy.  One reason I hate it is because I focus too much on the touch aspect - I get uncomfortable - and if they squeeze my hand right before letting it go... well, I kind of want to follow them home - you know, "You like me!  You really, really like me!  Let's hug now!"  So the best way I have found to avoid holding hands is to fold my own in prayer - no closed eyes though - far too 'affected'.

Folded hands.

Yes.  Orans position - no.  I never went in for that - even at Charismatic prayer meetings.  And I never did the outstretched hands in the giving gesture towards the priest when we respond, 'and also with you' (now being 'with your spirit') either.  Which reminds me of all the touching that goes on at the sign of peace - that can get rather annoying as well.  I do the handshake - but the 'ritual' could be toned down quite a bit - as far as I'm concerned.  After all - we greet each other before Mass actually begins.  Although, I have to admit those people who travel pew to pew to greet everyone sort of crack me up.  There is one older woman who walks up and down the aisle greeting people at the end of the pews.  I always wonder if she takes the 'priesthood of the laity' far too seriously.  (Yes I try to shake her hand graciously when she gets to me.)

Speaking of lay priesthood, one of the CSJ's at my parish spoke before Mass last evening for the Retired Religious Fund Drive.  Before I tell you about it, please be mindful I am not judging her in any way - I'm simply writing here of  how she impresses me.  She's a very nice, pleasant lady.

Anyway, her talk was really long - homily length, in fact it sounded like a homily - she covered a lot of the social activist bases before she launched into the retired religious deal.  She read the entire speech - and to be honest - she made so many mistakes - I'm not sure she authored it.  There were a couple of jokes she just monotoned right over.  I got the feeling however - she wanted to be giving the homily.  I got the impression she wasn't happy that religious were never highly paid years ago when they lived in community.  I got the other distinct impression, that she wanted us to know that religious are people too - just like lay people - that we are all equal, and it seemed to me, that is why they no longer wear the habit.  Whenever I see her, as well as last night, she strikes me as rather joyless and barren - monotoned, as it were.  Fortunately for her she had a church filled with people who remember the 'good old days' when school sisters didn't have to worry about a living.

The new translation.

Yep - just a couple parts seem slightly awkward - perhaps it is just a matter of time needed to become accustomed to it.   For instance, in Eucharistic Prayer II:  "Make holy therefore these gifts we pray, by sending down your Holy Spirit like the dewfall..."  Nevertheless, I'm happy and grateful for what we have. 

In fact my pastor is making great use of the new translation for his homilies - not only explaining things that have changed, but by sharing his meditations on the elevated language.  It's all good.