Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Lent of St. Michael



This year I need to do it.

St. Francis was famous for observing the fast in preparation for Michaelmas or the feast of St. Michael, September 29.  During the lent, on September 17, Francis received the stigmata at the solitude on Mt. Alvernia.  I think the Franciscans once observed the lent, as was the custom for the devout during medieval times - not sure if it is done today.

The lent begins today, the feast of the Assumption.  It seems appropriate to observe it this centenary year of Fatima, especially since it is believed St. Michael was the angel who appeared to prepare the children for Our Lady's apparitions, and was the angel with the sword in the vision of the secret.

Glorious things are said of you, O City of God.



Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising...

+

O Mary, conceived without sin
pray for us who have recourse to thee,
and for those who do not
have recourse to thee,
especially the enemies of the Church
and all those recommended to thee.

+
Immaculata, Queen and Mother of the Church, 
I renew my consecration to you for this day and for always, 
so that you might use me for the 
coming of the Kingdom of Jesus in the whole world. 
To this end I offer you all my prayers, actions and sacrifices of this day.


"Never be afraid of loving Mary too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did." - St. Maximilian Kolbe.

Pope Bl. Paul VI tells us that we can never venerate Mary at the level she merits, precisely because of the mystery that unites her to Christ.

Therefore our Blessed [St. Maximilian Kolbe] is not to be reproved, nor the Church with him, because of their enthusiasm for the formal religious veneration of the Mother of God. This veneration with its rites and practices will never fully achieve the level it merits, nor the benefits it can bring, precisely because of the mystery that unites her to Christ, and which finds fascinating documentation in the New Testament. The result will never be “Mariolatry,” just as the sun will never be darkened by the moon; nor will the mission of salvation specifically entrusted to the ministry of the Church ever be distorted if the latter honors in Mary an exceptional Daughter and Spiritual Mother. The characteristic aspect, if you like, and the original quality of Blessed Kolbe’s devotion, of his “hyperdulia” to Mary, is the importance he attributes to it with regard to the present needs of the Church, the efficacy of her prophecy about the glory of the Lord and the vindication of the humble, the power of her intercession, the splendor of her exemplariness, the presence of her maternal charity. The [Second Vatican] Council confirmed us in these certainties, and now from heaven Father Kolbe is teaching us and helping us to meditate upon them and live them. This Marian profile of our new Blessed places him among the great saints and seers who have understood, venerated and sung the mystery of Mary. - Source

Monday, August 14, 2017

St. Maximilian on never becoming discouraged by our falls ...



A consoling thought from St. Maximilian Kolbe for the feast of the Assumption.

Whenever you feel guilty, even if it is because you have consciously committed a sin, a serious sin, something you have kept doing many, many times, never let the devil deceive you by allowing him to discourage you. Whenever you feel guilty, offer all your guilt to the Immaculate, without analyzing it or examining it, as something that belongs to her…

My beloved, may every fall, even if it is serious and habitual sin, always become for us a small step toward a higher degree of perfection.

In fact, the only reason why the Immaculate permits us to fall is to cure us from our self-conceit, from our pride, to make us humble and thus make us docile to the divine graces.

The devil, instead, tries to inject in us discouragement and internal depression in those circumstances, which is, in fact, nothing else than our pride surfacing again.

If we knew the depth of our poverty, we would not be at all surprised by our falls, and we would thank God, after sinning, for not allowing us to fall even deeper and still more frequently.




St. Maximilian Kolbe and the Militia Centenary



*In 1917 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the conversion of Alphonse Ratisbon, renowned anti-Catholic and agnostic of Jewish lineage, St. Maximilian was moved by divine grace to found a pious association of the faithful known as the Militia of the Immaculate.
The Militia was to be a loosely organized tool in the hands of for the conversion and sanctification of non-Catholics, especially those inimical to the Church. Its members consecrated themselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary, invoked Her daily for the conversion of sinners, and strove by every licit means to build up the Kingdom of the Sacred Heart throughout the world. - More here.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Detaching is the most difficult.



"A bird caught in birdlime has a two fold task: it must free itself and cleanse itself. And he who satisfies his appetite suffers in a twofold way: he must detach himself and, after being detached, cleanse himself of what has clung to him." - S. John of the Cross

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Like a moth to a flame ...



Too close and you get burned.

Facebook is a curse.  Ran into family - literally.  

Just because it's funny and nuts and people take him seriously. Seriously.



Fr. Z's Peace Plan...

So, what to do about North Korea?
Since this blog is probably being monitored by teams from about 17 national security agencies, here’s my idea! 
  • Make a deal with China: they annex NOKO.
  • Convince Seoul to agree or at least shut up about it.
  • Give China money to feed the NOKOs for 2-3 years.
  • China allows US and South Korea to invest in economic and commercial infrastructure in China’s new province/protectorate.
  • Result: China gets buffer state it can control (better than it can now), the West get’s a place to invest, and the world is rid of a threat.
So, fellas, kick the idea upstairs and see what happens.  This might be better than death and destruction. 
And to the teams from the agencies, who probably also watch me through my phone, as I’ve said before, if you send me your addresses, I’ll send you some pizzas!  Deal? - Fr. Z
Really?


Just don't look at the flash and you'll be fine. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

My Secret Garden


My Porziuncola
Plumbago and morning glory.


Madonna of the trellis.


The cistern and bird bath in the courtyard.
Topiary, potted sage, plumbago, potted tomato and eggplant
 in the background.


The "courtyard".
Pierina Rabitowitz lunches on a tomato
near the chair.



Vista #1


Vista #2 - street side, post hosta bloom.
Potted sage and plumbago tower in foreground.

The feast of Santa Chiara d'Assisi


Holy Lady Clare,
most beautiful among women.

Help me.
Help me to 
know anew ...

How does your lover differ from any other lover,
Oh, most beautiful among women?

Where has your lover gone,
most beautiful among women?
Where has your lover withdrawn
that we
may seek him with you?

Oh St. Clare,
Santa Chiara,
most beautiful among women,
come to my aid...
awaken my early love!

Tell him I sicken,
suffer,
and die.

Pray for me.
Pray for us...
Remember me.

Remember when ...

Today,
this day of graces,
overflowing torrents ...

pick for me 
mandrakes,
which give forth fragrance,
to awaken love
and devotion,
strong as death.

St. Clare,
pray for me,
pray for us...
obtain for us
pure
prayer.

+

Hail Mary,
full or grace!
The Lord is
with you.
Blessed are you
among women!
Blessed is the fruit
of your womb,
 Jesus!
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us
sinners,
now
and at the hour
of our death.
Amen.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

How to avoid martyrdom. Git a gun!

"Live each day as if you were to die a martyr." - B. Charles de Foucauld
If this priest only had the foresight to carry a gun, huh?


Conceal and Carry Advice for Priests ...
Keep your head on a swivel. Practice good situational awareness. 
I believe that we will soon see an increase in threats and violent attacks on church property and on priests and, God forbid, even congregations. The rise of violent Islam, militant homosexualists, and idiotic young anarchists must be a concern for which we should plan. - Fr. Z
Don't forget: Say the black, do the red.

Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J.
"Man up, people. These things can’t happen unless the bystanders are sheeple."
- Comment on Fr. Z's post

Conformed to the image of Christ crucified, 
the same posture as at the Eucharistic prayer.
"Father, as a former police officer of 22 years, 
I would suggest quietly encouraging 
CCL holders in the parish to come armed to Mass, 
sit near the entrances at the end of the pews, 
and remain aware of their surroundings."
- Comment on Fr. Z's post


Fr. Pro collapses, crying out,
'Viva Cristo Rey!'


St. Toribio Romo Gonzalez, pray for us.
Fr. Toribio felt fear in the face of death,
yet he did not prevent it,
and died a martyr.


In closing I would just like to add something from Archbishop Aquila from his exhortation to newly ordained priests in his diocese.
Archbishop Samuel Aquila reminded them the priesthood is a gift. 
“It is not something you merit, it is not something that you work for, but rather it is a gift that is bestowed upon you,” Archbishop Aquila told the five seminarians during their priestly ordination Mass May 16. “It is precisely in the total gift of self that you are called to lay down your life as Christ has laid down his life. - source

BONUS!

+For those readers who would like to ban immigrants and refugees, even religious refugees, here's a photo to ponder...

Some of the first religious refugees arrive in New York 
the day the Calles Law takes effect.
Carmelites among them.
August 1, 1926 

Just a reminder friends, in case N. Korea actually bombs us.



“Americans should sleep well at night." - Rex Tillerson

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A garden shed.

The garden shed de Foucauld lived in
at the Poor Clares in Nazareth.


The life of Nazareth can be followed anywhere; follow it in the place where it is most helpful to your neighbors. - Charles de Foucauld

There are decent people out there after all! Boniface says ...






Fr. Z posted the fake news story about Putin and the Pope, with his comments here.


One commenter on Fr. Z's post actually got it right.  How refreshing.

Boniface says:8 August 2017 at 5:03 PMIf I may add another thought: 
I was beyond weary of the lies about and malicious attacks by the leftist media against St. John Paul and Benedict XVI through the 90s and 2000s. 
The media knew that to a large extent St John Paul, due to his obvious personal holiness, the respect he commanded from world leaders, and enormous popularity, was relatively untouchable. But they constantly went on about how when he was gone, their dream pope would come along, ordain women, allow contraception, etc etc. When it didn’t happen and they got Benedict, who didn’t have the charisma etc of John Paul, and therefore was vulnerable, they took the big knives out. Benedict was reviled and trashed weekly. 
Don’t forget how, upon Francis’ election, his anti-homosexual adoption quotes from Argentina (“an invention of the father of lies” – boom!) were being publicized all over. The narrative was, for maybe a week, “here we go again with some mean nasty old white man pope keeping the Church in the dark ages, blah blah.” However, the media switched gears soon after and began to adopt the narrative that Francis was on their side – the good guy against the rest of the bad Church. This was a clever tactic – more effective than the “bad guy pope against the good Church” tack they took against St JP and especially B16. Of course no matter what their approach, the leftist elite hate the Church with a near-diabolical fury, and seek to do damage however they can. But in the case of Francis, the very people who were the last bastion of respect for the papacy were taken in by a new sort of lie – that the pope could not be trusted, that he was on the side of leftists. And that is sad indeed. They don’t see the damage they are doing, and how it will come back to bite us all later. Being a “traditional” Catholic – being truly Catholic at all – means union with and deep respect for the papacy and whoever holds it. 
It’s hard work, but I’ve followed Pope Francis’ doings and sayings weekly or daily since his election. He never did or said what most people think he has – and much of what he has said, which, frankly, is far more bluntly “traditional” than what other recent popes have said, goes unreported. Since when have we had a pope who talked so clearly about the devil, and so often and plainly? And who pushes confession constantly, and makes sure he himself is seen going? (This isn’t a criticism of other popes). Talking about incarnate evil and confession – basically kryptonite to liberal “c”atholicism.

In my opinion, Boniface is absolutely right on.  I just do not know how or why other people, namely "the very people who were the last bastion of respect for the papacy" have been taken in the way they have.  Boniface also said: "What they don’t see is that their negative view of the present Holy Father is itself a product of dozens upon dozens of distortions, misquotes, and lies peddled by an anti-Catholic media since the very beginning."  Although I would have included the Catholic anti-Papist media as well.

I'm thinking Boniface is the author of Unam Sanctam.   I used to read him but then stopped, I didn't realize he was as balanced as he seems to be now.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Another fake news story hits close to home.




The case of Justine Damond murder is still under investigation.

A conspiracy theory making the rounds on Facebook concerning the shooting death of Justine Damond by a Somali policeman in Minneapolis, is a despicable conspiracy theory.  It is the second fake news story I've come across this week, which has no basis in fact.  Sad to say, perhaps adding to the pain of loved ones, the authors are exploiting an unsolved and under-reported story to promote their 'brand'.  The investigation is still ongoing, and though it is very strange that no new details have emerged, this particular report is fabricated.

According to Snopes - Yeah, yeah, I know, people discredit their research as well, however the site provides the origin of the false report and you can check it out yourself:

On 16 July 2017, alternative health blogger Erin Elizabeth reported on her web site Health Nut News that Justine Ruszczyk (who primarily used her fiance’s surname, Damond), a 40-year-old Australian woman living in the U.S. who was shot and killed in mid-July 2017 by Minneapolis police, was among a growing list of holistic doctors who had died under suspicious circumstances. That narrative was further twisted by the disreputable conspiracy site YourNewsWire with the headline, “Holistic Doctor, Working Against Big Pharma, Shot Dead By Police.” - More here.

I live in South Minneapolis not far from where Damond was killed - this is a false news story.

Here you go ... Fake News at Pewsitters ...



A day ago Mark Shea posted the story ...

Turns out it is fake news - which he and other commenters noted, but I speculated it would be picked up by the anti-papist news aggregates and Catholic bloggers who want to discredit the Pope.  Voila!  Today it's headlines at Pewsitters ... because it fits their narrative.  

Pope Francis is not a man of God.
President Putin has slammed Pope Francis for “pushing a political ideology instead of running a church”, and warned that the leader of the Catholic Church “is not a man of God.” -  Baxter Dmitry
 Such stories become embedded in social memory or consciousness, much like the false stories about Pius XII as Hitler's Pope.  It is calumny and slander meant to divide and destroy.  As Pope Francis said about gossip, it is an instrument of terrorism.

“The gossip is a ‘terrorist’ who throws a grenade - chatter - in order to destroy,” he added. “Please, fight against division, because it is one of the weapons that the devil uses to destroy the local Church and the universal Church.” - Pope Francis

Monday, August 07, 2017

Fr. Z chimes in again - on Fr. Martin, SJ

Good for him.  The Catholic Church never taught that he was.


It's clear and concise.

Fr. Z tackles Fr. James Martin's claim that the LGBTQ hasn't received the Church's teaching, after Fr. Martin wrote: "To take a theological perspective, a teaching must be “received” by the faithful."  Fr. Z makes the distinction and corrects Fr. Martin's misunderstanding as regards sensus fidei fidelium:
The sensus fidei fidelium is real and serious. However, the problem with lib claims about the sensus fidei fidelium is that the sensus has to be that precisely of the fidelium… the FAITHFUL. You have to be faithful to the Church and her teachings to have the “sense/grasp/perception” of the Faith. To bring in Augustine: Nisi credideritis non intelligetis… Unless you will have first believed you will not understand. - Fr. Z
Works for me.

I just wish Fr. Z would let go of the jibes and labels he's so fond of.  What he says might not be rejected out of hand so quickly.  It turns people off - not his followers of course, and I get it that he and others don't care about that.  They live in 'camps' - liberals and progressives, and I guess, conservatives.  

One thing I'd like to comment on what Fr. Martin actually said,
 “Theologically speaking, you could say that these teachings have not been “received” by the L.G.B.T. community, to whom they were directed.” Fr. Martin, SJ
I'm not sure the teachings were directed at the LGBTQ.  The instruction, or catechesis is directed to and for the faithful, or the catechumen interested in becoming Catholic.  I may be wrong, but the catechism is intended to educate, to catechize the believer, but it's not necessarily intended to proselytize non-believers.

That kind of popped out at me.

I think Courage Apostolate is sometimes misinterpreted in the same manner.  It is often seen by critics to be a program of rehabilitation, or a group to change homosexuals from gay to straight, as well as an evangelical outreach to convert homosexuals.  When in fact, it was founded as a support for men and women who wish to live chaste, celibate lives in fidelity to Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality.  I'm thinking Fr. Martin may even be prejudiced against chaste-gay groups on account of such misunderstanding.  Catholic teaching and groups like Courage are for those who accept it, those who wish to sanctify their lives in and through the spiritual support the group offers, and so on.

Those who reject Catholic teaching are free to do so.  As Benedict XVI said, "the Church does not impose but freely proposes the Catholic faith."  I have friends who reject Catholic teaching - it's their business, their prerogative, even if they reject me for believing as I do.  This should not be forced as a politicized issue - except when it introduced as a civil issue, as in legalizing gay marriage for instance.  Then voters have the right to be informed and to vote their conscience.  Catholics will necessarily consult Catholic social teaching and other resources.  Yet I think it is wrong to reduce Catholic teaching to a problem between liberals and conservatives.  In and of itself, such arguments detract from the faith, or at least tarnish it.
Catechesis is the act of handing on the Word of God intended to inform the faith community and candidates for initiation into the Church about the teachings of Christ, transmitted by the Apostles to the Church. - USCCB

Around 1982, when I initially discovered Courage and met with Fr. Harvey in the hope of establishing a Courage chapter in the Twin Cities, I was attracted to the spirituality and the idea of a support group for those who believed they were alone in the struggle to live chastely, surrounded by so much opposition.  At the time Dignity was gaining popularity, yet was against Catholic teaching on sexuality, and members lobbied for the Church to change not only the language, but her teaching as well.

The CDF came out with Letter(s) to Bishops on the pastoral care of persons with homosexual inclination, to advise and clarify Catholic teaching, and so on.  Once again, the CDF instructions were addressed to bishops, priests and the faithful - not the LGBTQ 'community'.

Know what I'm saying?

Nun gazing ...

Brignogan-Plage. Groupe de femmes en costume de fête (1890-1910)


Some Catholics are fascinated by it.

Many Catholics lament the abandonment of the religious habit for women religious in active life.  Some have retained a modified habit, or a traditional monastic style with a modified veil, some have not.  However, early foundresses often adapted the traditional 'fashion' of women's clothing of their time and place.  An unique view of that in our day would of course be the Missionaries of Charity who adopted the Indian sari.

The photo above demonstrates the formal feast-day dress for late 19th century women of Brignogan-Plage in Brittany.  It could easily translate into religious garb if the dress was changed to black or blue serge, and perhaps even a veil covering the bonnet or coif.

Just a bit of trivia for those who seem to think women religious should return to wearing 19th century costumes.

That said, the Little Sisters of the Poor have a very dignified modified habit ...

Old habit.

New habit.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

The Transfiguration



I like to just think about it...

Kind of like thinking about the Trinity without trying to explain it.  How can you explain it?  How would you explain the Burning Bush?  The face of Moses transfigured, effulgent from seeing God face to face, as it were.  Radiant.  Then he is with Jesus and Elijah in that light - the epiphany revealing Christ as come to fulfill the Law and The Prophets.   That light.

Remember how Lucia described it at Fatima, seeing God in that light?    Sr. Lucia also explained how Our Lady was clothed in light, and how she opened her hands and they saw themselves in that light that was God, and so on.

The mystery of light.   That light that is God.

S. Elizabeth

The indwelling of the Blessed Trinity.

We have that light in our soul by Baptism ... we have the Blessed Trinity dwelling within us.  We can enter a similar cloud as that the disciples entered and listen to Him.  By faith we enter that cloud. The life of Elizabeth of the Trinity exemplified this, she lived this heaven on earth.  She wrote, "The Trinity - this is our dwelling, our 'home', the Father's house that we must never leave."  [...]  "It is there, right in the depths, in the Heaven of my soul, that I love to find Him since He never leaves me. God in me, I in Him, oh! that is my life!"

When St. Elizabeth died, her last words were: "I go to Light, to Love, to Life."

With Peter we can pray in thanksgiving, Lord, it is good for us to be here ... yet we need not build any tent or dwelling, since we are His tent, His tabernacle ... with St. Elizabeth we can pray:
O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey. Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your greatness. - Prayer to the Trinity, Elizabeth of the Trinity.

We never have to be afraid.  We are never alone.  We are never lost.  No matter what others say or do, all is well, so long as we, by faith, "remain in the presence of God, of the God who is all Love dwelling in our souls."