Saturday, July 21, 2012

By the rivers of Babylon

We piped you a tune and you did not dance
-we played you a dirge and you did not mourn.

How can you believe
-when you accept approval from one another?

How can we sing the song of the Lord
-in so strange a land?

Truth has dwindled from the sons of men
-falsehoods and vanities they speak, one to another.

There is not a good man left
-all have gone astray - every one - each to his own way.

God of hosts, bring us back,
-let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

In Memoriam


Prayers for the shooting victims, the living and the dead, and their families and friends.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Colorado... The Dark Night

It is incomprehensible.

Praying, praying, praying for the victims and their families.

People get ready...


Elijah the Prophet

"Do not love the world or the things which are in the world, for the boasting of the world and its destruction belong to the devil." Apocalypse

July 20 is the feast of St. Elijah.

From the 11th century, Carmelites have claimed Elijah as their founder; John and Teresa* arrived much later as the reformers of the order, yet they also pointed to Elijah as their Father.  For centuries, the Carmelites of the Primitive Observance literally traced their foundation to the followers of Elijah on Mt. Carmel, today I believe all Carmelites simply venerate him as Prototype and Patron.  Likewise, Elijah is venerated by both the East and the West as a monastic archetype.

In the 19th century a Coptic manuscript was found, known as the Apocalypse of Elijah.  Elijah is of course associated with the coming of the Messiah - for Jews and Christians - Muslims as well.  Christ attested to his coming in the Gospel - in regard to John the Baptist.  Jews still set a place at table for Elijah, and the Book of Revelation speaks of his return at the end times.  Occasionally I wonder if the current resurgence of Carmelite spirituality and attempts at reform, is somehow a 'sign' of Elijah's presence?  Just wondering of course ...

"No one is able to enter the holy place if he is double minded.  The one who is double minded in his prayer is darkness to himself. And even the angels do not trust him." - Apocalypse

Anyway - I'll post excerpts of the Apocalypse of Elijah below:
 1.The word of YHWH came to me saying, "Son of man, say to his people, 'why do you add sin to your sins and anger the Lord God who created you ?' " 2.Don't love the world or the things which are in the world, for the boasting of the world and its destruction belong to the devil.

13.Hear, O wise men of the land, concerning the deceivers who will multiply in the last times so that they will set down for themselves doctrines which do not belong to God, setting aside the Law of God, those who have made their belly their God, saying, "The fast does not exist, nor did God create it," making themselves strangers to the covenant of God and robbing themselves of the glorious promises. 14.Now these are not ever correctly established in the firm faith. Therefore don't let those people lead you astray.

25.Likewise no one is able to enter the holy place if he is double minded. 26.The one who is double minded in his prayer is darkness to himself. And even the angels do not trust him. 27.Therefore be single-minded in the Lord at all times so that you might know every moment. - Apocalypse of Elijah

* "The reform of the Carmelite Order, the 450th anniversary of which fills us with inner joy, arose from prayer and tends towards prayer. In promoting a radical return to the original Rule and abandoning the mitigated Rule, St. Teresa of Jesus sought to create a form of life which favoured a personal encounter with the Lord, finding 'a place where we can be alone and look upon Him present within us. Nor need we feel strange in the presence of so kind a Guest'". - Benedict XVI, July 16, 2012

Art: Second attempt: Elijah and Virgin of the Messianic Cloud. TN  

I want to do this...

Our Lady of the Angels

I want to do this...

"Each soul is the object of My special love. That is why I am so grateful to those who are resourceful and bringing back sinners to Me. Keep this in mind then. I gave My life for them in the most atrocious torture, for these poor beloved ones. A humble repentance, and they are already on My heart. So speak gently to them. Speak with tenderness. A brusque remark could drive them farther away." - He and I

I so want to do this - and I always fail.

But thou O Lord have mercy on us.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Something found: An observation by an active gay man on why he's against...

Same Sex Marriage.
For me, it does not actually respect the specificity of a man making a lifebond with another man. And it is part of the nominalism of post-modernity, where things have no reality or nature but are just names or slogans to achieve social goals. A man cannot have a husband for the same reason that a woman cannot be a father. Color me essentialist. Gender/sex is a fundamental biological and metaphysical given, not an optional "performance". Accepting gay marriage --like the T in LGBT--is part of the larger urge to make genders --especially maleness--irrelevant. - x cath
I can't link the blog because the site posts offensive images at times.  DON'T GO THERE!

Precipitous conclusions regarding Medjugorje.


Bloggers and their commenters are suggesting a decision and official report will be issued in November of this year.  Those are simply rumors of course, to my knowledge, no one has made an official announcement.  Such speculations precede every controversial issue under study or investigation conducted by the Vatican anyway - and yet people thirst for new leaks, and 'insiders' are willing to bait them.  That said, if  and when the findings of the report are made public, I doubt very much the 'new findings' will contradict the earlier conclusions and directives of the local bishops conference:
"On the base of studies made so far, it cannot be affirmed that these matters concern supernatural apparitions or revelations.  Yet the gathering of the faithful from various parts of the world to Medjugorje, inspired by reasons of faith or other motives, require the pastoral attention and care, first of all, of the local Bishop and then of the other bishops with him, so that in Medjugorje and all connected with it, a healthy devotion towards the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the teachings of the Church may be promoted. The Bishops will also provide special liturgical and pastoral directives corresponding to this aim. At the same time, they will continue to study all the events of Medjugorje through the commissions."

What else can they say? 

I agree with what Fr. Mitch Pacwa has said about the matter:
EWTN talk show host the Rev. Mitch Pacwa, who has been to Medjugorje and did a documentary about it with actor Martin Sheen, said the Vatican will look carefully at the reported messages.
For example, early on, there was a dispute between Franciscans based in Medjugorje and a regional bishop, who was skeptical of the Marian apparitions.

“Some of the visionaries took a stance and said the Virgin Mary is on the side of the Franciscans,” Pacwa said. “That’s odd. That’s inappropriate. The church does not want the visionaries to ask questions trying to get answers. If it’s from God, God is going to take the initiative.” (In fact, St. John of the Cross tells us God is offended by such initiatives.)

Pacwa said there is no chance for the visions to get approval while they’re still going on, and it’s a long shot even after they stop.

One quirk that emerged was when two of the Medjugorje visionaries said the Virgin Mary endorsed a book, “The Poem of the Man-God,” that had been condemned by the Vatican. The fanciful 1940s biography of Jesus by Maria Valtorta contains details like a dancing girl brushing up against Jesus, Joseph giving young Jesus an anachronistic tool kit with screwdrivers and the Virgin Mary making statements such as “man disgusts me,” Pacwa said.
“The book had been condemned by the church in 1959 because it said a lot of silly things that contradicted what was in the gospels,” Pacwa said. “The church rejected it. Any vision must be judged by revelation that exists in the gospels. You can’t say anything you want.”

What may be the unraveling of the Medjugorje visions is the lack of any spiritual depth to the messages, Pacwa said.

“That is a much more pointed critique,” he said.

The writings of Sister Faustina, now a saint, describe visions from Jesus. “As you kept reading, a new depth of spiritual life began to show itself,” Pacwa said. “You can see definite growth over the years in her spiritual messages. I don’t see that with the messages of Medjugorje. They tend to be the same thing over and over again. Something I would look for is a growth in spiritual depth. I haven’t sensed it.”

Pacwa said Vatican theologians will take all that into account and that Medjugorje in the end may be denied church approval.

“I don’t have a sense this is going to go swimmingly. I am very impressed with a number of the positive things I have experienced there. I have a lot of respect for the good things that have occurred. But I’m not going to be naive about some of the problems. It has to be dealt with, with full integrity.” - Religion News Service

Personally, I'm not attracted to Medjugorje, and what a few regard as 'spiritual fruits':  namely, traveling apparitions on demand, as well as Our Lady flying all over to meet the visionaries where ever they happen to be, strikes me as silly - and the messages lack spiritual depth, as Fr. Pacwa says.  Likewise the offshoot apparitions and locutions pilgrims report after they return home strikes me as curious.  That said - people need direction - they need good shepherds - so they are not so easily led astray.  It seems to me the Church is somehow failing these people who travel the world looking for signs and wonders on mountain tops, in corn fields, and on tree trunks.

*Just like the guessing game over the SSPX normalization.

Vicka is always so happy!

J.C. Penney Co. Overhaul.

Big, big mistake!

Look for policy changes...

First a little background:
NEW YORK -- In the latest sign of turbulent times at J.C. Penney Co., the mid-price department store chain said Michael Francis, the former Target Corp. executive brought in to help redefine the brand, is leaving the company.

In a terse statement issued late Monday, the department store operator gave no reason for the abrupt departure of Francis, who had been on the job for a little over eight months. As president, Francis was responsible for the marketing of a controversial new pricing plan that aims to get rid of hundreds of sales events. He also oversaw merchandising and product development.

Shares fell nearly 6 percent in after-hours trading.

Penney said that Ron Johnson, the former Apple executive and new CEO, will assume direct responsibility and oversight of the company's marketing and merchandising functions.

The surprise move comes as the department store chain is scrambling to reverse a sharp drop in customer counts and plummeting sales after Johnson's new pricing strategy ended up turning off customers, who are accustomed to coupons and big markdowns. The plan was implemented Feb. 1. - Source  
Francis left a month ago:  “It’s not us, it’s you” was the underlying sentiment felt as the news broke that President of Marketing for JC Penney Michael Francis was leaving the company this past Monday. Francis, a former Target Corp. executive, was recruited eight months prior to head JC Penney’s rebranding effort in order to turn around troubling times. - Source
Now this: 

J.C. Penney stock crashes with news of gay marriage support

Stock rated "junk" status, loses 50% since February, 350 layoffs at home office
July 17, 2012
Simply put, people are not shopping at J.C. Penney. AFA and OneMillionMoms are showing success in the effort to educate people to Penney's aggressive national campaign to promote "gay" marriage.
The company is going downhill fast. Since February, the company stock has lost more than half its value, and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its credit rating on J.C. Penney Co. further into "junk" status.
Snapshot of J.C. Penney under same-sex marriage crusade
February 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012
JCP announces Ellen DeGeneres as their new spokesperson.JCP launches catalog ad featuring two "gay" moms.JCP launches catalog ad featuring two "gay" dads.JCP stock rated "junk" by S&P. JCP fires marketing exec.
Stock price:
Stock price falls to $35.67 Stock price falls to $25.83 Stock price falls to $20.02
First-year CEO Ron Johnson's decisions have led to disastrous results for the company. Rather than build on the faith-based traditions of founder James Cash Penney, Johnson has abandoned family values and taken the company into a financial tailspin by embracing social activism.
Families are the backbone of Penney's existence. As long as it pushes homosexual marriage, families will go elsewhere. - Source

Wow!  Now I'm thinking boycotts really do work!  Watch your back Target!  General Mills, are you paying attention?

 H/T Ray at Stella

Congresswoman Michele Bachman, R-Minn., Speaks...

She's from Minnesotah!
WASHINGTON — Accusations by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., that an Islamist group has infiltrated the U.S. government are drawing fierce criticism from fellow lawmakers and religious groups.

Bachmann and four other GOP legislators have sent letters to five government agencies citing “serious security concerns” about what Bachmann has called a “deep penetration in the halls of our United States government” by the Muslim Brotherhood. - Read the rest or turn on the TV if you live in Minnesotah.
Another Minnesota Congressman, Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is a Muslim - he didn't inflitrate though, he was actually elected.  Keep in mind that Jesse Ventura was also elected Governor of Minnesota at one time.  I know!

It could happen.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Our Sunday Visitor and L'Osservatore Romano

Print - it's all fishwrap these days...

OSV has the rights to distribute the English version of L'Osservatore Romano.

So?  I used to get the weekly, condensed English version - it was expensive - and very, very condensed.  The English version is not the greatest - the newspaper itself is not the greatest.
Our Sunday Visitor will begin distributing L'Osservatore Romano in August and will also provide fulfillment, customer service, and marketing support for the newspaper. The focus will be promotion to individual Catholics, parishes, dioceses and other Catholic organizations. - Source
Save your money - you can get pretty much everything online now anyway.   For quick updates I go here VIS.

Low self-esteem?

Poor self-image? 

Song lyrics...

I took a vow of celebrity...
- Paul Westerberg


Guest appearance on 'Big Bang Theory'...

Howard's uncle, Fr. Wolowitz.

Who would I cast?

Ever since the shows first season, I thought Fr. Z would be the perfect walk-on cameo-appearance for the sit-com - Father could be a regular character, soutane and all - maybe Howard's Jewish-turned-Catholic-priest uncle, who just shows up from time to time.  I say that with all due respect - and it's just because Father's interests are so techie-geeky and genuinely interesting, if not fun.  He has a great sense of humor.  It would be fun casting.  At least I think so.  (I'm not being snarky!)

Fr. Z's latest post reminded me of my casting dream, click to read the whole thing:
Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecrafts. When last contacted they were mysteriously slowing down. Someone figured out why.

What?  Fr. Martin goes on Colbert. 

St. Camillus de Lellis

Camillus de Lellis.  A former soldier who led a dissipated life, he was quick tempered and addicted to gambling before his conversion. By some accounts, he may have suffered from depression at times as well.  He tried his vocation with the Capuchins but was sent away due to the disabling effects of a war injury.  Guided by St. Philip Neri, Camillus devoted himself to caring for the poor sick in Rome and was later ordained a priest, going on to found a nursing order of men, whose habit bore a large red cross.  He's a good patron for scoundrels, jerks, drunks, gamblers, failed and late vocations.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

If you thought bloggers were nutz - you might be right.

Or if you felt you were going nuts - you just might be.

Must read - Study finds: People Who Are Constantly Online Develop Mental Disorders.


The Symptoms:
  • They start fights over stupid things other people write or say on their blogs or in their com boxes.
  • They complain of "too much stuff - too many books" yet keep adding to their wish list and begging for donations.
  • They keep taking down and putting up their blog - or starting new ones.
  • They imagine the world is filled with poodles. 
  • They blog, twit, face-book their lives while talking on their cell phone and playing online games during their soccer-mom-dad chauffeur-time.
  • They keep posting fake profile photos of themselves and start believing that is really what they look like.
  • They compulsively check email, comments, stats, and comment on as many blogs as possible to get more traffic to their site.
  • They get all stressed out as if they missed something - anything - online.
  • They start believing that their opinion and POV matters and the world awaits their every post.
  • They believe they have a 'public' they must play to and maintain a persona for.
  • They believe they are on a mission from God.
  • They think they are God - or maybe just the head of a new Vatican dicastery.
[BTW - Remember those bloggers whose name begins with the initials C and A and J?  They are still locked up in a State mental institution.  What?]

On Being Spiritual: "The more perceptive know that they are looking for God."

The astonishing conversion of St. Paul.

"Confronting the reality of God in our own lives..."

Last evening I participated in the Mass for the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Of Mt. Carmel.  Four priests concelebrated, all are priests ordained for the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, three of the priests belong to a diocesan community of Carmelite brothers.  The Mass was solemn, and beautifully celebrated, beautiful music.  The vestments were simple, the Mass of Paul VI in English, with some Latin.  The readings, the prayers, especially the Eucharistic Prayer were articulate and careful.  The church was nearly full, and as I was in the back, I noted that everyone approached Communion with great reverence, bowing according to norm, and receiving in the hand.  Communion was distributed under both species by the priests.  I did not see one chapel veil.

Later that evening, on my return home I thought to myself, "These people probably do not read Catholic blogs.  Most of them are probably Secular Carmelites, accustomed to prayer and recollection and fidelity to the duties of their state in life."  Many were with their families, there was a good mix of ages, and sexes.  All were obviously deeply spiritual and religious.  I sensed that all of them were much more holier than myself, yet I felt a sense of inclusion, of belonging, of community.  Some of you will know what I mean by that.  I didn't go downstairs for the reception because I never do that, but I suspect I would have been welcome, and comfortable doing so.

Many of us with blogs make up issues where issues need not exist.  For instance, from time to time, writers from one online site carry on about 'what's the deal with being spiritual but not religious?'   It makes me wonder.  Do we listen/read ourselves online and what we spout off for the sake of creating a wider following of readers?  Would you be attracted to a religion when its religious people belittle and even condemn your deepest aspirations?  Would you want to join a Church where people tell you you are committing sacrilege by receiving Communion in the hand?  Or that the Novus Ordo Mass somehow isn't as holy as the traditional Latin Mass?  Maybe spiritual people see the Holy Virgin in a tree trunk, as religious people no longer are able to recognize the fact that they are themselves the tabernacle of the Most Holy Trinity, because they're too busy promoting themselves on their websites?  If we only recognized the gift of God.  But I digress.

"There is an emptiness at the core of people’s lives, an emptiness waiting to be filled."

A friend sent me a link to an article which may be as relevant today as it was in 1966 - though the talking heads of that time ignored what was said then as those like them do now.  The post is taken from Lux Occulta blog.  I'll reprint just a few paragraphs and link for you to read the entire piece.
Many thanks to Fr. Augustine Hourigan C.P. for sending me this stimulating piece by Fr. Charles Davis from America magazine, January 29th, 1966. Fr Davis was one of England’s most famous theologians and professor of theology at the Jesuit-run Heythrop College. He left the priesthood a few months after this was written, but was subsequently reconciled to the Church in his later years. He died in 1999.
Much speaking in different places on themes of renewal has brought me into contact with many people seeking to revivify their faith. I have found a sense of emptiness, but together with it a deep yearning for God. There is an emptiness at the core of people’s lives, an emptiness waiting to be filled.

They are troubled about their faith; they find it slipping. I am not speaking about those who are worried about recent changes. These people are not. But they are looking for something to fill the void in their lives, and what they hear does not do that.

The more perceptive know that they are looking for God. He seems to have withdrawn from the world and from them. They come to talks by speakers like myself. They hear about the new liturgy, about new understanding of the layman’s role, about collegiality, about the Church and the world, about a thousand and one new and exciting ideas. They are duly impressed. But who will speak to them quite simply of God as a person he intimately knows, and make the reality and presence of God come alive for them, once more?

Before such need, how superficial, pathetically superficial, is much of the busyness about renewal. We reformers know so much about religion and about the Church and about theology, but we stand empty handed and uncomfortable when confronted with sheer hunger for God. - Finish reading here.

"... when confronted with sheer hunger for God."

Seek God.  Be spiritual.  Be spiritual and practice your religion.  In 1966 I was neither spiritual nor religious.  Though disappointed with religion, it seems to me now that I was always attracted to the spiritual.  Eventually my search intensified, delving into the occult, further investigation led me to Eastern spirituality, until I was somehow attracted to Judaism - through the mysticism of the Kabbalah I suppose, which I credit for opening my heart once again to Christ, the Messiah.  In retrospect the process was swift, albeit superficial - until I encountered the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  Even more quickly, I was drawn back to the sacraments and daily Mass.  It seems to me I had to fall away, into some sort of spiritual limbo - searching for I didn't know what: Before I found Him whom my heart loves, and when I found Him, I would not let Him go, though the watchmen beat me and took my cloak...  Some of you may know what I mean by that. 

So.  My advice to the nonreligious but spiritual is:  Be spiritual - which really means to be open to the truth.  Being spiritual can be your path to the Church, if and when you recognize that the Church is Christ - though his body be wounded... He is looking for you more than you are looking for Him.  He looks for you first - and He will find you - right where you are.  It is the spiritual person who is drawn to His Sacred Heart - by human cords, cords of love.  Once there, you no longer follow the flock, but you follow Him, the Good Shepherd... and the littler you are the better, because then He carries you close to His Heart.  

St. Alexis, l'homme de Dieu

St. Alexis and St. Benedict Joseph Labre are my very special patrons.  July 17 is the feast of St. Alexis - the saint who couldn't be married - ending his hidden life as a pilgrim, a mendicant - a beggar, living unrecognized beneath the staircase of his family home until after his death.  Something was off with these two guys - Alexis, and later, Benedict Joseph.  They give me hope.

Last evening I celebrated the feast of Mt. Carmel, joining a group of Carmelite friars and what seemed to me to be a full church of Secular Carmelites.  It was a wonderful grace.  I was astonished at how many people were there, including the six friars, three of whom are priests.  I felt like I had been on a long journey and returned to find the Church renewed by Carmelites.  So many holy people were there - it was a grace to worship with them.

The following is a short story about St. Alexis - he spent part of his life in Syria, so perhaps he will pray for the poor people of that country, so torn apart by civil war - especially the Christians, whose survival is very much threatened.

Story of St. Alexis.

St. 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)

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Behold, a little cloud rising from the sea" ... Kings 18:44

Image depicting Kings 18:44

"In the bush seen by Moses, we recognize the preservation of your glorious virginity, O blessed Mother of God." - Antiphon; Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Church Fathers tell us the advent of the Messiah was foreseen by the Prophets in the scripture I've cited here.  For centuries, iconographers have depicted these events by giving form to the prophecy of Isaiah, "The virgin shall be with child"; and from another place, "The woman shall encompass a man." - Jer 31:22   Hence, the archetype, prototype of the Virgin of the Sign is frequently included in icons of the Virgin of the Burning Bush, Carmelite icons, and so on.

Consider the passage from Kings, the cloud rising from the sea - no bigger to Elijah's sight than a man's fist... So how is it?  How, O how, does one see the Holy Virgin in that manifestation?  Or in the bush seen by Moses?  Or Gideon's fleece?*  I say it is by faith.

Yet today - when the ordinary and simple, but devout, are convinced they see an image of the Virgin in a tree trunk, they are roundly mocked and called 'loons' and are an embarrassment to the sophisticated Catholic 'hierarchy' of the highly educated and pedigreed... the 'magisterium of approved Catholic bloggers'.  I'm reminded of one of the canticles or psalms from the Liturgy of the Hours, "This is the one I approve, the lowly and afflicted man, who trembles at my word." - Isaiah 66:2

"I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, even the stones will cry out.” - Luke 19:40 

Or, why not a tree trunk?

Personally, I'm not 'into' pareidolian phenomena, nor would I even try to promote this type of spirituality or devotion, neither do I suggest people ignore diocesan authority:  Although, as I suggested in an earlier post, such incidents may have happened in the past - from whence approved devotions developed, and fervor spread.  Nevertheless, I find it odd that ordinary people who struggle, often like sheep without a shepherd, can be so easily dismissed and mocked for their simple piety and cultural instincts.  Especially considering how Medjugorje continues to be promoted amidst investigations and allegations of fraud; or dubious mystics are promoted for sainthood (Cora Evans); while New Age spirituality infects diocesan programs and parishes, retreat centers and convents, all over the country.  Indeed, in our day, even those who should know better, deny the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, so it is nothing to mock 'the lowly and afflicted', who show reverence before what is holy.

*       I will put this fleece of wool on the floor: if there be dew on the fleece only, and it be dry on all the ground beside, I shall know that by my hand, as thou has said, thou wilt deliver Israel. And it was so. And rising before day wringing the fleece, he filled a vessel with the dew. And he said again to God: Let not thy wrath be kindled against me if I try once more, seeking a sign in the fleece. I pray that the fleece only may be dry, and all the ground wet with dew. And God did that night as he had requested: and it was dry on the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground. (Judges 6:37-40)

"When the Son of Man returns will he find any faith on earth?"

Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel


Thou art all fair O Mary
and the original stain is not in thee!
O Mary!

By thy holy and Immaculate Conception

Make my Body pure and my spirit holy.

Thou art all fair O Mary!
Draw me in the odor of thy ointments.
Encompass my heart within thine.
Show thyself my mother!

But thou O Lord, have mercy on us.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Vouchsafe, O sacred Virgin, to accept my praises.
Thanks be to God.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Squirrel haters.

Sad story.

I was out mowing my lawn and a woman stopped by to talk to me.  One of us brought up our love of wildlife and the topic of squirrels came up.  She told me someone in the neighborhood has been shooting them.  "I knew it!"  I told her.  I also told her how I had seen wounded squirrels over the winter - and now - I haven't seen any.  It's been like a holocaust in the area - a deliberate, systematic killing.  Rabbits too.  And I haven't see the wild turkeys for months...  It's eerie!

They came for the squirrels, and people said nothing...

Novenas are like micro-Lents for me...

The last communion of Mary of Egypt.

But thou O Lord, have mercy on us.

All that silliness I'm accustomed to, gets bottled-up, repressed, suppressed... who knows what will come out of me once the feast day is actually here? 

But thou O Lord, have mercy on us.

Oh!  So beware those feast-day devils folks!
"For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." - Ephesians 6:12 (So do not grow slack in your  celebrations and relaxation. The devil prowls like a roaring lion.) - Source

Cassian and the monastic malfor or scapular.

St. John Cassian

The scapular as a garment dates back further than St. Simon Stock - or even Benedict...

The scapular originally was thought to be part of the work habit amongst monastics, and was prescribed in the Rule of St. Benedict.  Yet as I mentioned earlier, Eastern monasticism traces it back to the 4th century and St. Pachomius and the 'Angelic habit'.  John Cassian likewise records the habits of the Egyptian desert fathers, which includes the malfor, or scapular.  That text here:
Chapter VI.
Of their Capes.
Next they cover their necks and shoulders with a narrow cape, aiming at modesty of dress as well as cheapness and economy; and this is called in our language as well as theirs mafors; and so they avoid both the expense and the display of cloaks and great coats. - Cassian, Bk. I: The Dress of Monks

Just thinking out loud here.  Wouldn't the Carmelites already have worn a scapular before the apparition of Our Lady to St. Simon?  Probably.  So, perhaps Our Lady singled out the scapular to be more than a work habit for the hermits turned friars?  Gracing the humble garment with a deeper meaning regarding discipleship, taking on the yoke of Christ, as it were?  Indeed, making it a sign and seal of her protection and patronage... reminding those who wear it, to guard their heart - which the scapular covers. 

Anyway, the Blessed Virgin's scapular is a habit, a garment of grace - not just for monks and nuns, but for all the faithful.

St. Simon Stock

Poodles and scapulars...

Poodles do not have to wear a scapular - they can wear the scapular medal on their collar instead.

The last day of the novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel of Arabia

To you do we come, before you we stand, sinful and sorrowful...

Illuminating  the world with the Light of Truth, you cast away the darkness of error. For the idols, unable to stand your might, fall down, and those who are delivered from them cry out to the Mother of God:

Hail, O Resurrection of mankind!
Hail, O Downfall of the Demons!
Hail, O you who crushed the error of deceit!
Hail, O you who exposed the fraud of idols!
Hail, O Sea who drowned the symbolic Pharaoh!
Hail, O Rock who quenched those who thirst for Life!
Hail, O Pillar of Fire who guided those in darkness!
Hail, O Shelter of the World, wider than the clouds!
Hail, O Food who took the place of Manna!
Hail, O Handmaid of holy delight!
Hail, O Land of the promised good!
Hail, O you who flow with milk and honey!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!

Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!

But thou O Lord have mercy upon us.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you.
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Photo:  Pope Pius XII with the statue of Our Lady of Arabia.
"To represent Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Arabia, Fr. Stella wanted to have a special Statue made in her honour. He decided to use a replica of the Statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, venerated in her basilica on Mount Carmel - the birthplace of the entire Carmelite Order. An Italian firm in Rome, "Rosa and Zanzio Ditta" was requisitioned to make the replica, carved out of a solid block of cedar from Lebanon.

It was not long before the supreme sanction was granted. The Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, himself gave a grand lead to this devotion to Our Lady of Arabia, and on 17th December 1949, on the eve of the Great Jubilee Year, in the Vatican Palace, he personally blessed the new Statue of Our Lady of Arabia, and consented to be photographed in prayer before it.

The Statue was received in Kuwait and formally enthroned on 6th January 1950, amidst triumphal rejoicing at her Shrine in Ahmadi. It is with great nostalgia that the first parishioners might recall the sunny, Friday afternoon, the Statue was transported in a jubilant procession from the Shuwaikh Port to reside in the 'mini' Chapel, and to be venerated as Patroness and Protector of the Oilman." - Our Lady of Arabia

Queen of Peace,
Queen of the Middle East,
Queen, Beauty of Carmel,
Pray for us!