Wednesday, July 17, 2019

St. Alexis

Story of St. Alexis.

t. Alexius the only son of Euphemianus, a wealthy Christian Roman of the senatorial class, fled his arranged marriage to follow his mysterious holy vocation. Disguised as a beggar, he lived near Edessa in Syria, accepting alms even from his own household slaves, who had been sent to look for him but did not recognize him, until a miraculous vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary singled him out as a "Man of God." Fleeing the resultant notoriety, he returned to Rome, so changed that his parents did not recognize him, but as good Christians took him in and sheltered him for seventeen years, which he spent in a dark cubbyhole beneath the stairs, praying and teaching catechism to children. After his death, his family found writings on his body which told them who he was and how he had lived his life of penance from the day of his wedding, for the love of God. (Source)

"Who would not have judged that poor Lazarus was supremely miserable and the rich man quite happy and content?  Yet such was not the case, for that rich man with all his wealth suffered more than poor Lazarus tormented by his leprosy. For the rich man's selfish will was alive, and this is the source of all suffering.  But in Lazarus this will was dead and his will was so alive in me that he found refreshment and consolation in his pain.  He had been thrown out by others, especially by the rich man, and was neither cleansed nor cared for by them, but I provided that the senseless animals should lick his sores.  And you see how at the end of their lives Lazarus has eternal life and the rich man is in hell." - The Dialogue, Catherine of Siena

Art: The Lotus Eater,  Carl Dobsky - John Pearce Gallery, San Francisco.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Queen, beauty of Carmel!

O most beautiful flower of Carmel, 
fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, 
Blessed Mother of the Son of God, 
Immaculate Virgin, assist us in our necessity. 
O star of the sea, help us and show us the way. 
O Mary conceived without sin, 
pray for us who have recourse to you.

In the Ascent of Mount Carmel, St. John of the Cross wrote: “Oh that someone might show us how to understand, practice and experience what this counsel is which our Saviour here gives us concerning the denial of ourselves, so that spiritual persons might see in how different a way they should conduct themselves upon this road than that which many of them think proper.... Oh that someone would tell us how far Our Lord desires this self-denial to be carried!” This lament is addressed to us “spiritual persons,” who claim to be Christ’s friends. - Sr. Ruth Burrows ocd

In thanksgiving for the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

We're all going to die.

Monster storm approaching Taranto, Puglia, Italy yesterday, 
July 10th. Report: Alessandra Drago /


At the risk of sounding kind of crazy, some mystics - like Marie-Julie Hahenny, said that mini-chastisements (such as unprecedented weather events) will accompany an interior notion (in individuals) that something bigger, more catastrophic, is on the way. 

The purpose is to warn people to repent. 

The inference being there will be warnings in and through plagues, severe storms, tempests, crop failures, frequent earthquakes and other signs in nature to prepare/warn the faithful. Though I don't follow prophecies or private revelations like these, I was reminded of them after the series of strong storms with ostrich-egg size hail in Italy, Greece, as well as the six-feet of hail in Guadalajara last week, and of course the over 10,000 earthquakes in So. California since July 4th. So who knows? 

Of course there can be no denial that the weather related phenomena is entirely natural and part of climate change - which is more or less a warning in itself. Going to confession is a great way to get ready for the big one - whatever that might be. 

Marie-Julie Jahenny was a Breton mystic and stigmatist.
She was also devoted to O.L. of LaSalette.

Monsieur Vincent, RIP

Vincent Lambert died this morning after having been denied the basic food and water he needed to survive for over a week. All human beings, regardless of ability level, deserve to live free from the violence of intentional starvation. May he rest in peace. -  Rehumanize International

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

I don't like to simply post quotes ...

But I will today.

So that I can remember them.

“Become simple and live simply, not only within yourself but also in your everyday dealings. Don’t make ripples all around you, don’t try to be interesting, keep your distance, be honest, fight the desire to be thought fascinating by the outside world.” -  Etty Hillesum

With increasing regularity, Etty described her compulsion to drop to her knees in prayer. Toward the end of her journals, God had become the explicit partner of her internal dialogue: “God take me by Your hand, I shall follow You faithfully, and not resist too much, I shall evade none of the tempests life has in store for me, I shall try to face it all as best I can…. I shall try to spread some of my warmth, of my genuine love for others, wherever I go…. I sometimes imagine that I long for the seclusion of a nunnery. But I know that I must seek You amongst people, out in the world. And that is what I shall do…. I vow to live my life out there to the full.” - Etty Hillesum

In a Nazi transit camp, Etty Hillesum wrote in her diary: “Sometimes when I stand in some corner of the camp, my feet planted on earth, my eyes raised towards heaven, tears run down my face, tears of deep emotion and gratitude.”  On September 7, 1943, Etty and her family were placed on a transport train to Poland. From a window of the train she tossed out a card that read, “We have left the camp singing.” - Source

I like this particular thought very much: “I know that a new and kinder day will come. I would so much like to live on, if only to express all the love I carry within me. And there is only one way of preparing the new age, by living it even now in our hearts.”

I have a similar sense.  

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

My Favorite Martyrs

Blood of Christ,
strength of confessors,
save us.

Those who died for their fidelity to the Pope...

  - And faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

I want to share the story of the Gorkum Martyrs, men who were tortured and mutilated before and after being hanged to death. They died a martyr's death because they would not renounce their faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, and because of their obedience and fidelity to the Pope.  How fitting to commemorate them once again in our day.

The Gorkum Martyrs.

By 1572, the Netherlands had fallen culturally and politically into Protestant hands, and Catholics of the country became objects of persecution for Lutherans and Calvinists alike. As town after town fell to Protestant control, the Catholic clergy of the area were arrested and often tortured. The goal of this mistreatment was not death, but apostasy.

In June of 1572, the town of Gorcum (modern Gorinchem, 20 miles west of Rotterdam) fell into the hands of Calvinist pirates, and immediately they arrested nine Franciscan priests. Later, two Franciscan lay brothers, three secular priests, and an Augustinian canon were also arrested. Eventually four more priests were added to their number. These included two Norbertines, another secular priest, and John of Cologne, a Dominican friar working outside of Gorcum. After hearing of the arrests of the Franciscans, St. John disguised himself and traveled to Gorcum to console his brother priests with the sacraments. He was eventually caught and imprisoned along with them.

The pirates demanded that these nineteen priests and religious deny the Real Presence and the authority of the Pope. They refused, much to their captors’ distress. Despite a plea for leniency from William of Orange, the Dutch prince and leader of the Protestant Rebellion, the Calvinists of Gorcum transferred their prisoners to nearby Brielle, where they were martyred outside of town in a dilapidated shed. Their bodies were horrifically desecrated both before and after their deaths, out of mockery for their priesthood.

De heilige Andreas Wouters / Arnoldus.

One of the secular priests, Andreas Wouters was notorious for his unchastity. When accused of this by his captors, he offered his famous reply, “Fornicator I always was, but heretic I never was.” - Source

St. Andreas' example is encouraging to all of us 'steeped in sin since birth' demonstrating the love and mercy of God who will choose the most unlikely of sinners to participate in the Passion and Death of His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Precious Blood of Christ is the courage of martyrs, the hope of the penitent, even bringing forth virgins from those who were once contaminated by the world's slow stain.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Novena In Preparation For the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Monasterio de los Carmelitas Descalzadas de Cristo Rey
San Francisco

O Beautiful Flower of Carmel, 
most fruitful vine, 
splendor of heaven, 
holy and singular, 
who brought forth the Son of God, 
still ever remaining a pure virgin, 
assist us in our necessity! 
O Star of the Sea, 
help and protect us! 
Show us that you are our Mother! 


Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is an ancient devotion, and one, it seems to me, necessary in our times when there are signs of persecution and the threat of war. When the dogma of faith is challenged and compromised throughout Christendom. When paganism has once again attracted and made captive mainstream society. When idolatry has replaced true worship of God the Father in spirit and truth.

Mt. Carmel reminds us of the Prophet Elijah of course, he who defeated the false prophets of Baal. The Order of Carmel has always seen the prophets Elijah and Elisha as the 'proto-founders' of the order. In the passage from Kings wherein Elijah sees the "little cloud rising from the sea" from his perch atop the summit of Mt. Carmel many have written that this little cloud prefigures the Virgin who would bear the Savior - hence, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

The last apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes took place on the feast of Mt. Carmel, July 16:

The 18th appearance 16 July 1858
This was the final appearance. Because the grotto was barricaded by the local government, Bernadette knelt outside the fence by the riverbank. "I thought I was at the Grotto, at the same distance as I was the other times. All I saw was Our Lady ... She was more beautiful than ever."

Perhaps more significantly, at Fatima Our Lady showed herself as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel during the miracle of the sun. For me, there are intriguing parallels on that account with the Prophet Elijah in his confrontation with the pagan priests on Carmel, and calling down fire from heaven. Because of that, it lends an apocalyptic nuance to the final vision of Fatima.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

A Series of Unfortunate Events

California earthquake series.

The experts are saying the frequency of foreshock-aftershock, along with bigger quakes, is a bit unusual. More are certain to follow.

(CNN)The earth hasn't stopped rumbling under Southern California since Thursday, when a powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake rattled Ridgecrest and the surrounding area.
The quake was followed by more than 1,400 aftershocks, according to scientists. On Friday, an even stronger quake -- with a magnitude of 7.1 --- rattled the region, leaving residents traumatized, Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breeden said Saturday morning.
"Many of them are sleeping outside tonight," Breeden said. "They're fearful to be in their homes. Many are choosing to just be with their neighbors ... in their sidewalks, in their driveways and some of them are in the streets."
There's been an average of one aftershock per minute since Friday's quake in the southern part of the state, according to the United States Geological Survey website. - Source

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Betsy Ross is no longer politically correct?

Call her, Ms. Ross.

Colin Kaepernick made it a national issue.

The NAACP and Kaepernick associate the Betsy Ross flag with racism, slavery and white supremacy.

While searching for an explanation with what's wrong with Betsy? I came across the following story about Ms. Ross appearing to a gay writer to announce to the world that she was a lesbian.  Holy crap - how does that work with the claims of white supremacy and racist ideology her flag represents? 

“First I saw the colonial flag, then I saw this woman in old fashioned clothes, with a petticoat, then I saw the Betsy Ross house, and I knew it was her,” psychic medium Susan Lander explained. The author of Conversations with History: Inspiration, Reflections, and Advice from History-Makers and Celebrities on the Other Side, Lander is also a native of Philadelphia and says she had often visited the Betsy Ross house as a child. When Lander asked Ross why she contacted her, the American icon announced: “I am gay and I fly the flag of pride and liberty for all of us.”

"Betsy blew me away," Lander said. "I didn't see that coming. She dropped that statement down in 10 minutes. She had it all ready. She said it over and over: ‘I am gay, I am gay, I am gay.’ It was amazing." - Source

Happy 4th of July. 

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Habit Change

I'm not sure what these sisters were doing, but the photo is from around the time nuns began modifying their habits - 1967.  The strange photo which I found here, Studs Terkel - Radio Archive, documents the sisters in a line dance.  It's so ironic, considering how the essence of religious vocation was a call to leave the world to follow Christ.  Today the number of members of these orders have diminished.  In many cases, they've completely reconstituted to secular life.  That's not to say religious in secular dress are any less religious for that, yet one can't ignore the collapse of religious life in certain congregations.  I know readers know that.

Interestingly, one of the top interviews on this page is with Father James Kavanaugh, discussing his book, A Modern Priest Looks His Outdated Church.  Kavanaugh lived to see the Church update itself - to its current crisis mode - he died in 2010.  He left the priesthood shortly after the publication of his book, and was twice divorced.  His celebrity, which got him on late night talk shows, was more or less short lived.  An obituary here.

Of course, the habit doesn't make the nun.