"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Monday, January 23, 2017

It's going to be interesting ...

So ... One prophecy bites the dust - but the good news is there are 'alternative facts' from other locutores to follow - if you're interested.

"I don't know what it is."

Locutions abound.

I'm just being facetious, kinda-sorta, but yesterday I followed a couple of links on Facebook and found another set of locutions about this and that ... one even with ecclesial approval.

So anyway.  I'm played out on the subject, not to mention the election-inaugural-protests-fakenews stuff.

That said, I did want to do a follow up post on why we often get prophecy wrong ...

Visions and locutions, even though from God, can mislead us.
St. John of the Cross in Chapter 19 of the Ascent lays out proof from Scripture on how this can be, for the sake of brevity, I will only high light a few passages to help explain the dangers and misunderstandings locutions can and do generate.

"We mentioned the two reason why, although God's visions and locutions are true and certain in themselves, they are not always so for us. The first reason is because of our defective manner of understanding them, and the second because their basic causes are sometimes variable.

Clearly in regard to the first, not all revelations turn out according to the literal meaning. The cause is that, since God is immense and profound, he usually embodies in his prophecies, locutions, and revelations other ways, concepts, and ideas remarkably different from the meaning we generally find in them. And the surer and more truthful they are, the less they seem so to us.
We behold this frequently in Scripture. With a number of the ancients, many of God's prophecies and locutions did not turn out as they had expected, because they interpreted them with their own different and extremely literal method."
The Letter kills, the spirit gives life.
John goes on to cite several passages from Scripture, explaining why and how the recipients got it wrong and events turned out not as human nature expected. John then explains:

"[...] Souls are misled by imparting to God's locutions and revelations a literal interpretation, and interpretation according to the outer rind. As has been explained, God's chief objective in conferring these revelations is to express and impart the elusive, spiritual meaning contained in the words. This spiritual meaning is richer and more plentiful than the literal meaning and transcends those limits."

[...] "Anyone bound to the letter, locution, form, or apprehensible figure cannot avoid serious error and will later become confused for having been led by the literal sense and not having allowed for the spiritual meaning which is divested of the literal sense. 'The letter kills, the spirit gives life'" - 2 Cor. 3:6)" - Read St. John of the Cross, The Ascent, Bk II, Chapter 18 and 19

"Quit calling here - next time
you hear voices, 
go to the emergency room."

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Fr. Longenecker on the Women's March

10 Reasons why it will come to nothing.*

I was really impressed by the massive crowds gathered to protest in major cities in the United States and around the world.  When I read Fr. L's take on why it will come to nothing, I thought he was being naive and a bit reactionary.  I still think that.  (Fr. L's post here.)

The one point Fr. L makes which I agree on is that this protest is indeed about abortion - the 'sacrament' which is the source and summit of women's rights and equality.  No doubt about it.  Fr. Longenecker, in the eyes of the protesters, demonstrates how he is actually part of the problem (their POV) they are determine to end:  The end of structural patriarchy.

And that is exactly why it is naive to say the Women's March will come to nothing.

The Atlantic has an interesting article on the Women's March titled When Protest Fails, suggesting the Women's March will go the way of the Moscow demonstrations on December 10, 2011 when around 50,000 people came out to protest fraudulent parliamentary elections.  The author makes excellent points and very convincing arguments comparing the two events, but she seems to discount the global dimension of the protest and how sacred women's reproduction rights are to the Women's Equality Movement.  Likewise, on some level, the 2011 Moscow protest might have been a sort of precursor to what is happening now?  I don't know, of course.  I'm no expert, just an observer.

Major and relentless demonstrations can indeed topple governments.  I think it is important not to be so dismissive of what is happening.  I'm very much reminded of St. John Paul's precaution so many years ago:
"We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God's Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously." - Cardinal Karol Wojtyla

Predictions and news reports and commentary which upset, which attempt to guess or predict the outcome of civil unrest, distract and worry us.  For me, the Women's March demonstrates the very deep division in society and culture, as well as the diabolic delusion which has pervaded popular culture, making idols of so-called pop stars and Hollywood celebrities - who have become spokeswomen for the Culture of Death.  The dividing line is becoming more distinct as we go forward.   Yet we need faith, we need to believe what St. John Paul said: "The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence."  We need to trust that... therein lies our hope.

This is why I find Don Dolindo Ruotolo's prayer of surrender so helpful and so consoling ... it seems to me it is more than just a novena.
Day 2
Surrender to me does not mean to fret, to be upset, or to lose hope, nor does it mean offering to me a worried prayer asking me to follow you and change your worry into prayer. It is against this surrender, deeply against it, to worry, to be nervous and to desire to think about the consequences of anything. It is like the confusion that children feel when they ask their mother to see to their needs, and then try to take care of those needs for themselves so that their childlike efforts get in their mother’s way. 
Surrender means to placidly close the eyes of the soul, to turn away from thoughts of tribulation and to put yourself in my care, so that only I act. Saying “You take care of it.” 
O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! (10 times) - source

I may be wrong of course.

*Ultimately we know the plans of men come to nothing.  It just seems to me this battle has entered into a new phase and cannot be so easily dismissed.  

Saturday, January 21, 2017

His relatives said: "He is out of his mind."

"God does not answer man's expectation, the expectation of pride, of flesh and blood, not of the Spirit of God who wills all that is best for man.  God does not do what man expects him to do, does not approach him in the form he wants, which at the deepest level means that God, far from boosting man and making him feel grand, does exactly the opposite." - Sr. Ruth Burrows, O.C.D.
Jeremiah 7:1-11: Put not your trust in deceitful words.

Put not your trust in princes,
in mortal man, 
in whom there is no salvation. - Ps. 146

NB: That goes for prophets and presidents as well.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The problem with prophecies ...

A novena ...

“I as totally poor, a poor nothing. 
My strength is my prayer, 
my leader is the will of God 
which I let Him take me by the hand. 
My security over the uneven path
 is the heavenly mother Mary.”

Day 1
Why do you confuse yourselves by worrying? Leave the care of your affairs to me and everything will be peaceful. I say to you in truth that every act of true, blind, complete surrender to me produces the effect that you desire and resolves all difficult situations.
O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! (10 times)

I'm happy for the peaceful transition of power ...

Looking good!

Thanks be to God!

If you hate Trump, or you hate Obama ...

I have friends who hate hate Trump and spend their time searching for hateful gifs to post about him.

I have friends who hate Obama and spend their time searching for hateful gifs to post about him.
If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. - 1 John 4:20
I may be a jerk and I may have said, and may have done some pretty awful stuff - but hatred is soul destroying.

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

When you see things become more complicated ...

Don Dolindo Ruotolo
pray for us.

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!

"How many things I do when the soul, in so much spiritual and material need, turns to me, looks at me and says to me: ‘You take care of it,’ then closes its eyes and rests."

“When you see things become more complicated, say then with the eyes of the soul closed: ‘Jesus, take care of it’. And don’t think about it anymore, because your mind is acute, and for you it is very hard to see evil and to trust in me and to not think of yourself. Do this for all your needs; do this all of you and you will see great, continual, silent miracles. By my love, I promise this to you. And I will take care of things. I promise this to you. Pray always in readiness to surrender, and you will receive from it great peace and great rewards, even when I confer on you the grace of immolation of repentance and of love. Then, what does suffering matter? It seems impossible to you? Close your eyes and say with all of your soul: ‘Jesus, you take care of it’. Do not be afraid, I will take care of things and you will bless my name by humbling yourself. A thousand prayers cannot equal one single act of surrender: remember this well. There is no novena more effective than this:
O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!
- Jesus to Don Dolindo Ruotolo a Neapolitan priest (1882-1970).  More here.

A friend sent me a novena prayer from Don Ruotolo - I prayed the prayer, "Oh Jesus, I surrender to you, you take care of it” - repeating it 10 times and peace returned immediately.  The novena may be found here.

And when I must lead you on a path different from the one you see, I will prepare you; I will carry you in my arms; I will let you find yourself, like children who have fallen asleep in their mother’s arms, on the other bank of the river. What troubles you and hurts you immensely are your reason, your thoughts and worry, and your desire at all costs to deal with what afflicts you.
O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! (10 times)

The Mike Pence Dance Party

A big ‘queer dance party’ was thrown outside the Washington home of Vice President-elect Mike Pence to protest his stance on LGBT rights. - Source

I do not want to offend anyone, nor do I want to cast aspersions here, but when I came across this story, I thought of the passage in Genesis about the inhabitants of Sodom, demanding their way (with the visitors) outside the house of Lot. 

Last week, LGBTQ activists demanded Jennifer Holliday refuse to sing at the Trump Inaugural.  Ms. Holliday is not a political person but an entertainer - LGBTQ demanded she withdraw.  That was unfair and an example of LGBTQ bullying.  (Black people against Trump also pressured her, but I think Jennifer was most concerned about the LGBTQ lobby, because gay people have long been her fan base and she may have felt obliged.)

I'm not sure what rights gays are afraid of losing?  Ms. Hudson was told, "It's not just about marriage."  So what is it about?  Are there special rights just for LGBTQ people?  I know Pence was in favor of so-called 'conversion therapy' but there is no way it would become a law that people must go through conversion or reparative therapy, regardless if they are unhappy with their sexual and affective orientation, or not.  People have a right to choose to seek help if they desire to do so.  I know the background on the issues, and I think LGBTQ groups are wrong.  They protest too much.

Yesterday, the guy who cuts my hair was talking 'concentration camps' and mandatory reprogramming-rehab centers for gays - because of Trump.  He wasn't kidding.  It was like being in that Esurance over-sharer commercial with Beatrice - I just responded with crazy remarks.  It's the only way I know to avoid getting into a serious discussion.  

I walked out of the shop thinking, 'What if we are all nuts?'

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

If I could turn back time ...

Cardinals showing homage to newly elected John XXIII.

I remember that of course.  Because I'm old.  I wrote to John XXIII when I was little.  He was the first Pope I ever wrote to.

Today I'm wishing I could have run away and gone to Rome to be an orphan and never grew up to what we have today.

I appreciated the cappas back then.  I love the worn fresco - it seems now the frescoes are the only thing restored in the Church.  It's ironic, isn't it.  Not a question.

"They" say Cardinal Spellman didn't like Pope John and disparaged him.  Nasty American.  He should be around today.

Earthquakes and impending doom: Though the mountains leave their place, and the hills be shaken ...

I was meditating that passage from Isaiah this morning.

I came across it in my prayers.  I was reminded of a time long ago when I was in the friars chapel at Carmel in Arkansas, we just began to pray Psalm 46, when a small earthquake rumbled the building:
God is for us a refuge and strength,
a helper close at hand, in time of distress,
so we shall not fear though the earth should rock,
though the mountains fall into the depths of the sea;
even though its waters rage and foam,
even though the mountains be shaken by its waves.
Therefore whenever I randomly come across these prayers of confidence in liturgical prayer, I'm always reminded of that experience so many years ago, and I wonder if an earthquake maybe just ccurred someplace in the world.  A childish thought, no doubt.

Although, when I came onloine I noted a report that Umbria and Rome were shaken by multiple earthquakes today - 3 consecutive quakes measuring magnitude 5+.  The area has already suffered much, one resident stated: "This is totally unnerving. It's never ending. We are all shaking."  Story here.

Only a blind man can deny there is great confusion ...

So.  Even the stones cry out.

I came across Monsignor Pope's essay on St. Michael and Our Lady and why 2017 is so critical.  He's a good priest, a good pastor, he is observing the Fatima Jubilee encouraging prayer and penance - just as Our Lady requested.
Will you join me in praying with special fervency this year? In my own parish, we will be observing the First Saturday devotions that were requested by Mary at Fatima. This will be a communal way to engage the call to prayer. It involves attending Holy Mass, praying the Rosary, and going to confession (that day or within one week) on the first Saturday of five consecutive months. Others also add the wearing of the scapular and/or making a consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. - Monsignor Pope

I'll leave it at that.  It's the best advice I've come across online.

I'm tired of the negative discussions and essays on how bad everything is.   Only a blind man can deny there is great confusion ...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Bad Habits: New design for the Dominicans

I don't mind habits for enclosed religious or as choir dress ... but ...

I could never be a religious or priest because I don't like the clothes - I've always said that.  I used to ask my friend in the novitiate if the habit made me look fat - and I was anorexic.  (No one knew that at the time.)  I'm so vain.  So I'm not one to critique habits.  My problem with white tunics is that you can kind of sort of see through them - so a scapular helps - and for that reason I can say, 'looks good!'

All kidding aside - it's none of my business what religious wear - except some 'habits' really were dumb - precisely because, in the cases of women religious, they wore the current fashion for widow's weeds, their coifs were starched according to local custom, and so on.  Traditional men's habits were monastic or clerical - although fashionable updates were made and as fashion changed - they looked dated and ridiculous.  So much could be said ... but I digress.

Confrater Claes go to choir now.

It now looks as if one design firm hopes to revive the tradition of the dumb-fashion-victim habit for the 21st century.
Dutch clothing brand Byborre has collaborated with the Dominican Order of Preachers to create an updated unisex version of the friar's habit. The New Habit capsule collection consists of several unisex garments, including tops, track trousers, tunics, hooded gilets and coats. - Read more here.

I like my designs better...

"Got a match?"

I remember when I was fooling around with these ideas, and a friend asked me if I was nuts.  LOL!  Maybe a little bit.

All I have to say is this, just wear men's clothes brothers - black and white around the collar - and women should always have a little (or plus size) black dress.  Stick with the classics.

Like I said - it's none of my business.  But it seems to me the problem isn't so much the habit, but the fact 'they' just don't want to be obligated to wear one - so no matter how you redesign it, it's never going to work for those who 'don't like the clothes'.  Of course, then you have the problem of those who like them a little too much ...


I obviously enjoy posting about this subject - more here.

I suppose this could work too.

"Hold onto the rope, and endure." - P. Francis

St. Anthony of Egypt.

Narrative here.

Anthony is often depicted in his temptations - especially by more or less secular artists.  I often think of what Christ said, 'what did you go out to the desert to see?'.  Anthony went out to the desert and their confronted demons, and himself ... that is, fallen human nature.  Fallen human nature, perhaps scarier than demons.


You tell me there's an angel in your tree
Did he say he'd come to call on me
For things are getting desperate in our home...

I wish I could be back in Lourdes.  Maybe I could be transported by my angel ...  

Monday, January 16, 2017

Just when I thought it couldn't get worse ...

I found something encouraging ...

If - Rudyard Kipling

 If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, 
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, 
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, 
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, 
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster 
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken 
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, 
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, 
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, 
And lose, and start again at your beginnings 
    And never breathe a word about your loss; 
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew 
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you 
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, 
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, 
    If all men count with you, but none too much; 
If you can fill the unforgiving minute 
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

. . .

When I grow up - I want to be such a man.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Here's a thought on that ...

Cardinal Burke is not afraid to lose his title.

Apparently the other three cardinals aren't either.  Although the other thirty cardinals claimed to be with them might be, since they remain anonymous.  I'm just guessing of course.

Since the Four Cardinals with the Five Dubia want answers, and feel they haven't received them, and contradict Cardinal Mueller who says the Faith is not in danger, why don't they say something directly and in person to the Holy Father himself?  They were face to face with him at Christmas, which everyone seems to think was another mean-spirited Christmas address to the curia.  It wouldn't be like casting a pall over the reception afterward, if they would have broken protocol and spoke directly to the Pope, since they felt insulted already.

Nevertheless, they continue to give interviews and talk around the Pope without ever confronting him face to face.

The Pope lives in a hotel - he's not living in the Apostolic Palace, tucked safe away by miles of corridors and endless doors.  Even if he was, these guys have the opportunity to break protocol and speak to the Pope man to man.

Remember Henry IV?  How he stood penitent in the snow outside the Papal residence, for three days at Canossa?  You'll say the Cardinals have nothing to repent for.  Fine.  But they need to get off their high horse, take off the cappas magna and maybe even put on penitent's garb - a Franciscan of the Immaculate habit would be awesome, and stand outside in the piazza and wait for the Pope to come out - or better yet - stand outside the dining room of Santa Marta and force the issue face to face.  Dispense with protocol and the niceties of office they are so attached to, get offline, stop the phone calls and interviews, and talk to the Pope.  I just read the outcries about the Bishops of Malta, and a post about an interview Cardinal Caffarra gave, again 'reportedly' contradicting Mueller, and discussing how confused and therefore unhappy, many priests are, and so on.  Do something about it.

Speaking of unhappy priests, unfortunately it was Fr. Z who may have misinterpreted the interview - or at least the circumstance.  (Here.)  It may be that Caffarra was not contradicting Mueller's recent statements at all.  Nevertheless, Fr. Z jumped on the story, which I found disturbing combined with the reports concerning the Maltese Bishops Conference letter.  How often does this happen?  How often are interviews taken out of context?  How often is a sound bite enough to cause great confusion and argument?  How often does a Catholic online scandalize readers?

Double talk, whispers in the loggia, gossip, back-stabbing complaints to save your soul without action to stop the spread of more gossip and attacks upon the Papacy, does nothing to quell the confusion and strengthen the faith or ordinary Catholics.  Burke giving interviews to The Remnant doesn't help matters.  He has plenty of opportunities to speak directly to the Pope.  Since he's not worried about his title - drop the princely protocol and go to him disguised as a beggar.  Perhaps he forgot his own admonition to Mary Therese Helmueller when she called him out?

I'm not scandalized by the Pope, but I am deeply scandalized by the controversies generated from interviews given by the Four Cardinals.  Interviews given to news sources which are anti-Francis, anti-Vatican II, and anti-Novus Ordo.

In the meantime, I have my own repenting to do for stuff I've written and said.  But I'm not selling out the Holy Father.

People who want a vision or
private revelation to apply 
to our times maybe should
ponder this one.

I recently discovered the identity of a longtime negative commenter ... aka troll.

The sad thing about it is that over the years I thought it was a couple of different people doing it, and I made some uncharitable statements about them, and to them - that's rash judgement.

Anonymous comments can be a sort of scourge.

Unnamed sources can create a lot of problems for many people.

But God knows who you are.