Saturday, March 03, 2012

Something more...

"Experience has shown me too late that we cannot judge people by their vices, but on the contrary by what they hold intact and pure, by the childlike qualities that remain in them, however deeply one must search for them." - Georger Bernanos, quoted by Fr. Bernard Bro, O.P.

Icon source.

Second guessing myself.

Yesterday I wrote a post about another blogger that I later realized was uncharitable even if I hadn't identified him - unfortunately, other readers seemed to know who I was talking about, which was another factor for my need to remove the meat of the text.  Oddly enough, what I disdain in another is usually a reflection of some aspect of my own personality which I dislike and which I'd rather not acknowledge, proving everything does come back to me.  It's all about me!  Just as an earlier post on the lesbian communicant scandal turned out to be, wherein I revealed more about myself than I care to reveal, and/or, that others really want, or need to know.  And just like the blogger I critiqued, my egoism repels rather than attracts.  For me, that is an excellent lesson which I need repeated endlessly, it seems.  To understand just how motivated by self-love I am, how every good intention is tainted.  Anyway - that is usually why my posts disappear.  I'm always repenting.
For what is it to you whether this man be such and such; or that man do or say this or the other.
You are not to answer for others, but must give an account for yourself; why, therefore do you meddle with them...
Be not solicitous for the shadow of a great name; neither seek to be familiarly acquainted with many, nor to be particularly loved by men. - Imitation, Bk III, Ch. 24:1-2

We must not be easy in giving credit to every word and suggestion, but carefully and leisurely weigh the matter according to God.
Alas!  That is our weakness, that we often more readily believe and speak of another that which is evil than that which is good. - Imitation, Bk I, Ch. 4:1

Allow yourself to be taught. - Maxim of St. John of the Cross

Make me entirely teachable...

O Eternal Word, Word of my God, I want to spend my life in listening to You, to become wholly teachable that I may learn all from You. Then, through all nights, all voids, all helplessness, I want to gaze on You always and remain in Your great light. O my beloved Star, so fascinate me that I may not withdraw from Your radiance. - Prayer of Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Art: Penitent - St. Jerome.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Prayers for the victims and survivors of the deadly storms and tornados.

Blogger of the Week... Third addition.

I couldn't find one.  Not one.

Well, maybe that's not entirely true.  I did find one that stood out, but to identify the blog might be uncharitable. 

Actually, it was kind of a mirror for me. 

"... Every man is a liar, infirm, unstable, and subject to fail, especially in words; so that we ought not readily to believe even that which in appearance seems to sound well." - Imitation, Bk. III, Ch. 45:3

"Woe to you when all men speak well of you." - Luke 6:26

Photo credit.

Face to face Confession

Don Bosco hearing kid's confessions.

Image taken from Google.

Someone famous died.

Andrew Brietbart.

I had no idea who he was.  I think I may have linked to a Brietbart news story on occasion - but I had no idea who or what he was or what he stood for.  (I only recently found out that Drudge was a person named Matt.)

Davy Jones.

I knew who he was of course, but I was never a fan.  Never liked the Monkees - they were a product, a commercial exploit, a mediocre imitation of the Beatles as they were depicted in their film, Help; the Monkees were produced for TV.  I think he must have been a good man however, and was able to make a decent living.

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

Art:  First Mourning - Bouguereau

St. Angela of the Cross

While looking for a saint for the day I came across the recently canonized Spanish Foundress, Angela of the Cross.  I'm normally not attracted to foundress saints, but St. Angela is particularly striking for me.  She lived an authentically poor life, a little life, completely dedicated to the poor.  Perhaps a little like Blessed Mother Teresa, yet without International notoriety.  Her vocation was to be  "poor with the poor in order to bring them to Christ".  I understand that her religious order, Sisters of the Company of the Cross, continues to flourish in Spain. 
These Sisters of the Company of the Cross, under the guidance of Angela, named "Mother Angela of the Cross", lived an authentically recluse contemplative life when they were not among the poor. Once they returned to their home, they dedicated themselves to prayer and silence, but were always ready when needed to go out and serve the poor and dying. Mother Angela saw the sisters as "angels", called to help and love the poor and sick in their homes who otherwise would have been abandoned. - A short biography of St. Angela may be found here at Catholic Online.
The sisters continue to wear the original habit.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Archbishop Nienstedt on 'civil unions'.

Barb Ernster of National Catholic Register has an excellent interview with Archbishop Nienstedt on the importance of marriage in God's plan as Minnesota heads to the polls in November to vote on a Marriage amendment to protect traditional marriage between a man and a woman.  The Archbishop also comments on 'civil unions' saying:
"Civil unions, in my opinion, are just a smoke screen for so-called same-sex “marriage.” In fact, so-called “marriage equality” groups have already begun opposing them, and in states where civil unions exist, such as in Washington, New Jersey and California, the movement to redefine marriage simply accelerates. There are ways of ensuring that people of the same gender have access to certain public services or privileges without redefining marriage. By contrast, civil unions are, if you will, the nose of the camel coming under the tent." - Register

I agree.   Civil unions become a stepping stone to the legal redefinition of marriage.  There are indeed legal provisions friends have access to in order to take of matters relating to inheritance, power of attorney, and other 'public services' or privleges, as the Archbishop refers to them.

"Killing a newborn is no different than an abortion."

I agree.  Both abortion and infanticide are evil.  Both destroy innocent life...

However, ethicists have been twisting the truth and are making the argument to legitimize infanticide.  Were we not warned about the slippery slope of legalized abortion?  And here we are, at the mouth of the pit...
Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.
The article, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, says newborn babies are not “actual persons” and do not have a “moral right to life”. The academics also argue that parents should be able to have their baby killed if it turns out to be disabled when it is born. 
The journal’s editor, Prof Julian Savulescu, director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, said the article's authors had received death threats since publishing the article. He said those who made abusive and threatening posts about the study were “fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society”.

They argued: “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.”
Rather than being “actual persons”, newborns were “potential persons”. They explained: “Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’. - Source

Unspeakable crime.

"Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable. The Second Vatican Council defines abortion, together with infanticide, as an 'unspeakable crime.'" - Evangelium Vitae

Damned if you do and damned if you don't - follow Church teaching that is.

Even Fr. Guarnizo* - the priest who denied communion to Barbara Johnson at her mother's funeral in Maryland, is facing the same dilemma - criticized by his peers and lauded by conservatives - the poor priest was just doing his job, insensitive though it might have been. 

That being said, this case reminds me of another situation back in 2009 in Canada involving Jim Corcoran, who was asked by his bishop to no longer act as lector at Mass because of his living arrangements with another man.  The difference between Barbara Johnson and Jim Corcoran is that Johnson evidently rejects Church teaching on sexuality, while Corcoran accepts it and lives in accord with it.  Two members of the same sex living together is not a sin.
PETERBOROUGH, ON, July 7, 2009 ( - Jim Corcoran, the owner of one of Canada's largest and most lavish spas, has launched a human rights complaint against the Bishop of Peterborough Ontario for refusing him permission to continue to serve as an altar server. Corcoran admits that he is homosexual and lives with another homosexual man, but says that he follows the Church's teaching and lives a chaste lifestyle. According to the Catholic Register, Bishop Nicola De Angelis asked Corcoran to accept his decision that he not serve on the altar based upon the bishops' desire to avoid public scandal. - Source
The Corcoran case has since been settled and I believe the bishop apologized.  I'm not sure what happened next.  However, as I noted back then, it appears that Corcoran had fallen prey to the 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' reality, zealous religious types can sometimes subject sincere people to. It is a difficult fact of Christian life. While it is true one must avoid giving scandal at all cost, the ecclesial action probably called more attention to the situation than it warranted. It is a tough call - sometimes people suffer for righteousness sake even at the whim of fellow Catholics. The lives of the saints are replete with such examples, founders of religious orders falsely disgraced and dismissed from their congregations, former prostitutes alienated and denied entry into religious life, and so on.

Likewise, these days, there is little consistency from diocese to diocese, parish to parish, as to how such matters should be handled, complicated by a sort of holy vigilantism of some to catch and expose all the sinners - reformed or unreformed.  These folks not only hate the sin, they pretty much hate the sinner as well.

Nevertheless, one is frequently damned if they do and damned if they don't when it comes to these issues - divorced and remarried, but living chastely couples know what I'm saying, as do not a few divorced single parents with children, who also live celibate chaste lives.  Which helps to explain why I heretofore have tried to safeguard my privacy (in the workforce, for example) in these days when privacy is under attack and frequently violated.  It also explains why I simply attend Mass, frequent the sacraments, pray, participate in parish adoration, while supporting the Church as I can - yet keep myself away from active participation in parish life.  Perhaps I'm just gun-shy, call it defensive detachment if you want, but I've learned it is better to spend one's life in fidelity to the Gospel and Church teaching, in the performance of good works and hidden service to others, out of love for Christ, and with a clear conscience, than acting as lector or usher or server or sacristan at Mass.  Besides, I'm less likely to be a source of scandal this way.

Trust in God alone:  "Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save." - Ps. 146

*Maryland priest denies communion to lesbian at funeral — UPDATED
 Art source.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What would you do if you were denied Holy Communion?

Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof...

Recently, a priest denied Holy Communion to a woman at her mother's funeral.  Apparently, the woman  is a lesbian, living with another woman.  Not exactly grounds for refusing Communion.  The news story doesn't explain any of the details surrounding the case, instead it castigates the priest who refused the communicant.  One may assume that the woman is not in communion with the Catholic Church as regards Catholic teaching on sexual morality or some other aspect of the faith - or that the priest knew the woman and was aware of something else that could cause scandal.  At least those would be some of the normal reasons for denying Holy Communion, as in the case of pro-abortion politicians - though very few priests and bishops do that.

Perhaps it would have been more charitable if the priest presiding at the funeral would have taken the woman aside and explained the rules for Communion to her, or better, make a general announcement before Mass.  But there must be more to the story.  Unfortunately the embarrassed woman claims she will never go back to a Catholic church.  That is unfortunate - for her soul. 

I'm not sure what I would do if that happened.  Would I protest and say, "But Father, I just went to confession last Saturday and I live a chaste life in obedience to Church teaching, please, can I receive Communion?  I believe with all my heart it is the true body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ!"

Hopefully I would not.  Hopefully I wouldn't make a scene.  Hopefully I would quietly return to my pew and make a spiritual communion.  Perhaps after Mass I would ask the priest if I could speak with him.

A priest can deny Holy Communion to a person for good reason.  It is rarely done, but it is the priest's right, and in grave cases, his duty to do so.  In the olden days, not everyone went to Communion at every Mass, or every day, much less every Sunday.  Did you know that in the really, really olden days that priests sometimes even denied the saints Holy Communion, as a mortification or to test their humility?  St. Teresa of Avila once had a confessor who withheld Holy Communion from her for twenty days.  At other times, I believe it was John of the Cross or Fr. Gracian who gave her just a tiny  fragment of the host, rather than a complete host, to test her faith, test her humility, exercise her in detachment, etc..  No one does such things today, I hope, but it just goes to show us that some day we could find ourselves denied Communion by a zealous priest for some unknown reason, or for being like Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi.  It could happen.

I know!  I am so grateful I am permitted to receive Holy Communion at all.

Art:  Last Holy Communion of St. Francis - Peter Paul Rubens

Three and one half time outs Tuesday.

Editor's note:  I'm doing it.  Larry started it - copied it from another famous blogger, I should say - and so I'm doing it now too.  Why?  Because I want people to like me and I want to be popular and maybe that way I can someday be voted for in the Blog Awards like those big time bloggers who aren't Larry.  Just kidding.  I'm really just being pathetic.

As hosted by Acts of the Apostasy - although this is hosted by Abbey Roads (that's me).


My cat threw up on me in bed last night.  Poor kitty.  I cleaned myself up and went back to bed, trying to get to sleep but I laid there awake, trying to pray and sometimes thinking back to the Rocky Horror show in the White House earlier in the evening.  The president looked stoned at one point.  I don't think we should ever look stoned in public.  That's just me of course - people could never tell when I was.  Cool is so not cool.


I'm in between paintings right now, so I'm taking the time to retouch a few earlier paintings.  Few people know this about me but the paintings I post on my art blog undergo changes after I post them.  The changes are subtle corrections of what I can't see while painting - all because I can enlarge them online.  Yes, my eyes are getting worse and I keep putting off my doctor's appointment.  Don't tell me.


Larry wrote about snow.  So we are getting snow here today - I'm not sure it will amount to much.  TV meteorologists love to exaggerate the winter storm warnings and excite fear amongst the population.  Should I write more here? 


I live like a hermit you know.  I really do.  That is pretty much why I'm so weird.

Photo:  I can't bring myself to use the photo of Larry's delinquent kids.


In the White House

I watched the White House concert last night on PBS.

I'm a blues fan - I've been a fan since high school.  I don't listen much any more - but I can always get into it when I do.

Nevertheless, it just seemed so strange to watch the performance in the White House last night - playing the down and dirty blues.  I noticed the Obama kids weren't in the audience - real blues is pretty blue, pretty raw - was that why?  I don't know.  While Mick Jagger performed, I got this really weird feeling watching him.

It was the same kind of feeling I used to get at open air concerts, everyone stoned - doped up - and stuff was happening.  Even back then I felt an uneasiness, something that told me, 'this isn't quite right'.  I don't know what it was.  I had the same feeling when I was around really dark people - heavy duty rockers - I was uneasy.   Something was off.  When I felt like that I left the party, the concert, the bar, the group - I got away.  It's pretty much what drove me back to the Church.  But I digress.

It sounds dumb to just call it a feeling.  It's really hard to explain - I think it has to do with having acquired a more sensitive conscience or something - which is why I no longer listen to the Stones, or the Blues, or a lot of other music I once loved.  I know, I know, I sound narrow minded, uncool, and conspiracy-theory directed, but I watched the concert with those same old doped up feelings and thought to myself: 'this is the revolution - it already happened.'

Back in the free-concert/Woodstock-Altamont-wanna be concert days, the attitude was: 'the revolution is coming'.  Last night it looked like it was here.

The drug-store music was playing in the White House and the gang was all there.

It was just a feeling however.  Thank God it was just a feeling.  Feelings do not matter.  Besides, it was only a concert.  It was only a concert.  Everything is okay.

(Jeff Beck and B.B. King were awesome though!)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Yeah. So...

I'm not going.

I'll keep the blog going.

Not the best photo....

But at least she was photographed.

It looks to me as if Mother Dolores is in choir dress - you can tell by the sleeves.  I saw her in the crowd a couple of times - she looked much happier than this photo depicts her.  At one point she was actually peeking around bystanders to see who was there.  I hope she had a pleasant experience.  Nothing too offensive happened except for the tacky presentation by the cast of The Bridesmaids - very gross women.

Generally, I liked the Oscars this year.

The habit.

When I was little, it was the habit, and the way the saints were usually depicted in art - in an attitude of devotion - which not only attracted me to the religious life, but to devotion.  I wanted to know everything about the saints and to be like them.  For those of us who have come to understand that we never had a vocation to religious life, or were unable to enter due to some impediment, I'm convinced that initial inspiration was our call to a deeper life of prayer and devotion, as well as good works, in the lay state.  I like to imagine that the saints who most attracted us, became our special companions, patrons and mentors, along with our Guardian Angel, to help us to remain faithful and to become holy.

Art:  Detail of painting of St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, whose feast day is today.  This view of the saint's habit and rosary reminded me of what attracted me to the religious life, as well as the recitation of the rosary, when I was little.  Oh, to be truly little again.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mass Chat: Cardinal Dolan a 'rockstar' - Really?

Cardinal Dolan the first American pope?  Really?

The affable, laughable, cuddly, teddy bear, cheese-head wearing Archbishop is so very popular that journalists are suggesting he is papabile - pope material.  Maybe?  Not likely?  Discussions such as these remind me of the disciples arguing amongst themselves who is the greatest - only to be rebuked by Christ.  The crucifix reminds us that we think as men think - not as God thinks.  If you're interested in how men think, this is how John Allen of NCR sees it:
"[T]he possibility of an American as the next Bishop of Rome has never been so strong Allen, whose latest book, "A People of Hope", is a lengthy interview with then Archbishop Dolan, says,

"With Timothy Dolan there is some of the JP II magic. This guy is a rock star in any room he walks into. He exudes charisma, it's almost as if its charisma on steroids. At a time when the Catholic Church is suffering from an image problem I think a lot of people see in Dolan someone who can put a positive face and voice on the Catholic message." - Source
I dunno.   He's very American...  but Benedict XVI is not even dead yet.  Personally, I don't want a rockstar for pope.  Popularity and celebrity are things to beware of:  "Woe to you when all men speak well of you..." - Luke 6:26