Saturday, October 20, 2012

The love of charity.

Seek the higher gifts.

Beauty and splendor, knowledge and riches, rejoicing amidst sorrows, nothing can compare to charity.  Nothing compares...
Whence comes this superiority of the love of God over the knowledge of Him that we have on earth? St. Thomas answers as follows: "The action of the intellect consists in this, that the idea of the thing understood is in the one who understands; whereas the act of the will consists in this, that the will is inclined to the thing as existing in itself. And therefore the Philosopher says (Metaph., VI) that good and evil, which are objects of the will, are in things, but truth and error, which are objects of the intellect, are in the mind." (33) It follows that on earth our knowledge of God is inferior to the love of God, since, as St. Thomas further says,(34) when we know God, we draw Him in a way to ourselves, and in order to represent Him to ourselves, we impose on Him the bounds of our limited ideas; whereas when we love Him, it is we who are drawn to Him, lifted up to Him, such as He is in Himself. An act of love of God made by the Cure of Ars as he taught catechism, was worth more than a learned theological meditation inspired by a lesser love. Our knowledge of God draws Him to us, whereas our love of God draws us to Him. Therefore, as long as we have not the beatific vision, that is, while we are on earth or in purgatory, the love of God is more perfect than the knowledge of God. It presupposes this knowledge, but it surpasses it.

Further, says St. Thomas, even here on earth our love of charity attains God immediately; (35) it adheres immediately to Him, and from Him it goes on to creatures. - Garrigou-Lagrange

Nothing compares... 

Mediatrix of all Graces

That the Blessed Virgin Mary obtains for us and distributes to us all graces is a certain doctrine...
In an encyclical on the Rosary, Leo XIII says: "According to the will of God, nothing is granted to us except through Mary; and, as no one can go to the Father except through the Son, so generally no one can draw near to Christ except through Mary." (24)

The Church, in fact, turns to Mary to obtain graces of all kinds, both temporal and spiritual; among these last, from the grace of conversion up to that of final perseverance, to say nothing of those needed by virgins to preserve virginity, by apostles to exercise their apostolate, by martyrs to remain firm in the faith. In the Litany of Loreto, which has been universally recited in the Church for many centuries, Mary is for this reason called: "Health of the sick, refuge of sinners, comforter of the afflicted, help of Christians, queen of apostles, of martyrs, of confessors, of virgins." Thus all kinds of graces are distributed by her, even, in a sense, those of the sacraments; for she merited them for us in union with Christ on Calvary. In addition, she disposes us, by her prayer, to approach the sacraments and to receive them well. At times she even sends us a priest, without whom this sacramental help would not be given to us.

Finally, not only every kind of grace is distributed to us by Mary, but every grace in particular. Is this not what the faith of the Church says in the words of the Hail Mary: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen"? This "now" is said every moment in the Church by thousands of Christians who thus ask for the grace of the present moment. This grace is the most individual of graces; it varies with each of us, and for each one of us at every moment. If we are distracted while saying this word, Mary, who is not distracted, knows our spiritual needs of every instant, and prays for us, and obtains for us all the graces that we receive. This teaching, contained in the faith of the Church and expressed by the common prayers (lex orandi lex credendi), is based on Scripture and tradition. Even during her earthly life, Mary truly appears in Scripture as the distributor of graces. Through Mary, Jesus sanctified the Precursor when she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth and sang the Magnificat. Through His mother, Jesus confirmed the faith of the disciples at Cana, by granting the miracle that she asked. Through her, He strengthened the faith of John on Calvary, saying to him: "Behold thy mother." Lastly, by her the Holy Ghost came down upon the apostles, for she was praying with them in the cenacle on Pentecost day when the Holy Ghost descended in the form of tongues of fire.(25) - Garrigou-Lagrange, Three Ages of the Interior Life

Break the sinner's fetters...

"At times she even sends us a priest, without whom this sacramental help would not be given to us."  Our Lady has done this for me more than once.  Several years ago I needed to go to confession due to serious sin.  It was during a very difficult period of moral struggle in my life.  I went to a church which had an adoration chapel - if only to pray, although I hoped a priest might be in the chapel and I could ask him to hear my confession.  I prayed very much for Our Lady to send a priest.  When I entered the main church, though it was late in the evening and all was dark, I noticed that Monsignor's confessional had the light on, and I could see that there was a light inside as well.  To my surprise, Monsignor was sitting in his confessional!  I made my confession and stayed afterwards for adoration and thanksgiving.

It was really the Monsignor in there - not some apparition.  Another priest later told me that Monsignor may have been confused and thought that it was Thursday before First Friday, which may explain why he was in the confessional.  I give thanks to Our Lady.

That said, no matter what your state of soul, ask Our Lady to help you, just as she is Mediatrix, she is also the Refuge of sinners.  Pray the Rosary.


Behind the same sex marriage front.

Two steps forward, one step back...

Win or lose the ss marriage ballot at the voting booth, GLBTQ is an established fact of life these days.  Two steps forward, one step back: 'gay' is now part of every day language - little kids get it and know what it means.

Even the 'churches'...

For quite a while now, evangelical Christians have been able to take for granted that "gay affirming" theology and pastoral practice is the preserve of liberal, mainline denominations. But what Justin’s book forces us to recognize is that many people inside the evangelical movement—who are otherwise very traditional in doctrine and practice—are experiencing a shift in their convictions about homosexuality. I don’t presume to know what this might mean for the future of evangelicalism, but I think it’s a significant point to observe. - The love we dare not ignore.
In the late 19th century 'the love that dare not speak its name' was an euphemism for homosexuality... evidently today it is 'the love we dare not ignore.'

Even in the churches. 

In one of the local television ads supported by the St. Paul/MPLS Archdiocese, Kalley Yanta, a Catholic, asserts; people have "a right to love who they choose, but nobody has a right to redefine marriage."  A right to love who they choose - now that is a notable shift in convictions about homosexual relationships.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Gifts and avarice...

'They all love gifts and allow themselves to be carried away by retributions...'

I searched for a story I read last week about a Cardinal, or a Bishop refusing a gift, or an honor from a gay group or charity.  I can't recall the details - my apologies to those who want proof, links, and scholarship with everything I post or write.  (Found a link to the story - it was Cardinal Woelki )

The story doesn't make much difference - to me at least, nor does the source of the gift or honor matter as far as I'm concerned.  I'm only mentioning the incident to say that it seems to me, it would be better for all Cardinals and Bishops to refuse gifts and honors from any group or institution, be it Catholic or non-Catholic, gay, straight, political, whatever.

I'm currently re-reading Archbishop Weakland's memoirs, and he writes about honors and awards and bishoprics and such things as rewards or even punishments.  This may help explain why I think it is better to refuse, or at least be vigilant about such potentially corrupting influences and favors from outside sources and special interest groups. 

Yet here's another thought, albeit off topic:  What if Weakland had the humility to have refused the position of Archbishop of Milwaukee?

Anyway, once again I'll refer you to what John of the Cross had to say about such things:
"If a man gives way to concupiscence or joy about temporal goods, his sanctity and keen interest will be insufficient to prevent this injury. (Blunting of the mind in relation to God, darkening of God's goods, etc.) God therefore warned us through Moses: 'Do not receive gifts that blind even the prudent.' [Ex. 23:8] This admonition was directed toward those who were to be judges, since their judgement must be clear and alert, which would not be the case if they were to covet and rejoice in gifts.

Similarly God commanded Moses to appoint as judges those who abhorred avarice, that their judgement would not be blunted by gratification of the passions. He speaks not merely of a lack of desire but of the abhorrence of avarice. (...)
'They all love gifts and allow themselves to be carried away by retributions, and they do not judge the orphan, and the widow's cause does not come to them and their attention.' [Is. 1:23]" - Ascent Bk III, Ch. 19: 4,6

Even bloggers can be bought. 

Words from the cross...*

"We are under the same sentence, we are suffering what our deeds deserve, but this man has done nothing wrong." - Luke 23

Sometimes we can hear the words of the Gospel over and over, prayerfully ruminate them in our hearts, know them by heart, understand them intellectually, even theologically, perhaps be convinced of them spiritually.  Then, in an instant, "He opens our minds to understand the scriptures"

"In aridity and emptiness the soul becomes humble. Former pride disappears when a man no longer finds in himself anything that might cause him to look down on others." - St. Edith Stein

Former friends and acquaintances read my blog from time to time.  They must, because I find comments which say things like, "Wow!  You have a lot of people fooled."  Or, "Why don't you tell them this or that."  Or, more accurately, "What a hypocrite." They are right of course.

Yesterday I pondered these things at adoration, recalling the Gospel of the rich young man from just a few days ago.  I cringed thinking how I so often imagined myself to have given up money and honors, good jobs, good friends, even family.... as well as having kept all the commandment since my youth - when in actual fact, I've only been able to keep the commandments since my last confession and the point to where I needed to go again.  As far as giving stuff up and trampling the world underfoot - what a delusion - I've either taken things back or found ways to fill the void.

Former acquaintances know these things about me.

"He who praises you deceives you." -John of the Cross quoting Isaiah.

"For they that are such serve not our Lord Christ, but their own belly; and by their smooth and fair speech they beguile the hearts of the innocent." - Roman 16:18  (Talking about me here.)

*The Good Thief rebukes me.

The Al Smith Dinner

I hope they laughed so hard they peed all over themselves.

Who cares?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Crescat is back...

But I think she is highly medicated.  Kat's posts are all warm and fuzzy now.  OMG!  Labotomy!

Ms. Scalia has her ways, you know...

Oh - and curiouser and curiouser, I can't comment any more.  Just like at Adrienne's

I've been banned from better places, BTW!


The 'Feeder Feed'

Has anyone else missed it?

I have.  Fr. Z hasn't been posting his feeder feed series lately.  I miss the bird's eye view of Fr.'s wild-life.  What?

I thought about it last Sunday and today as I have noticed hundreds of robins around the neighborhood.  I did not take any photos, but they are here.  They are either on their way south or Minneapolis has become the new wintering habitat for robins.  Global warming would explain it.

Garden experts say global warming is responsible for changing plant hardiness zones, so I'm sure the robins have adjusted their migratory habits accordingly.

The often ignored: S. Peter of Alcantara

Today was once the memorial of St. Peter, now supplanted by the feast of St. Luke, I think the memorial is currently observed on October 20 or 22.  However, I want to think of him today...

On October 18, 1562, he died peacefully in the Lord. St. Theresa saw his soul take its flight to heaven. Later he appeared to her and said: O happy penance that has merited for me such wondrous glory!"
St. Peter was instrumental in the origin of one of the largest reforms of the OFM. Known for his extraordinary penance and poverty, his spiritual guidance was sought out by such lights of 16th Spain, as St. Teresa of Jesus. His treatise on Mental Prayer is his most famous writing. The Alcantarines*, which implemented his teachings in a reform of the OFM, had a great impact on the evangelization of the New World. And thus through them, this work came to have great influence in Catholic spirituality throughout the Americas.
It is a well known fact that one of the greatest hindrances we have to attaining our final happiness and blessedness, is the evil inclination of our hearts, the difficulty and dullness of spirit we have in respect to good rules; for, if this was not in the way, it would be the easiest thing possible to run in the path of virtues, and attain to the end for which we were created. Concerning which the Apostle says, "I delight in the Law of God, according to the inward man; but I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin." (Rom. 7:22-23) This, then, is the universal cause of all our evil. One of the most efficacious means for overcoming this dullness and difficulty, and for facilitating this matter, is devotion; for as St. Thomas says, "Devotion is nothing else than a certain readiness and aptitude for doing good." For this takes away from our mind all that difficulty and dullness, and makes us quick and ready for all good. It is a spiritual refection, a refreshment, like the dew of Heaven, a breath and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, a supernatural affection. It so orders, strengthens, and transforms a man's heart, that it imparts a new taste and inspiration for spiritual things, a new distaste and abhorrence for sensible things. The experience of every day shows us this. For when a spiritually minded person rises from deep devout prayer, then straight away all his good resolutions are renewed, together with fervor and determination to do good; the desire then to please, and to love, a Lord so good and kind as He has then shown Himself to be, a willingness to endure fresh troubles, and chastenings, even to shedding blood for His sake, then, finally, all the freshness of soul is renewed and blooms again.

If you ask me, by what means so powerful and noble an affection of devotion is attained, the same holy teacher answers that it is by meditation and contemplation of diving things; for from deeply meditating and pondering over these things there springs up this disposition, and affection in the will, which is called devotion; and this stirs and moves us to all good. It is on this account that this holy and religious exercise is so extolled and commended by all the Saints, as being The Means of acquiring devotion, which, though it is but one virtue only, yet it disposes and moves one to all the other virtues, and exists as a general stimulus to them all. - Treatise on Meditation, S. Peter of Alcantara

Blessed Junipero Serra was an Alcantarine Franciscan. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Don't sell your birthright for a meal...

“See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. […] Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. […] Whatsoever [the bishop] shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.” (St. Ignatius: Letter to the Smyrnaeans; Ch 8)

Don't sell your birthright for stats, ratings, donations, popularity, acceptance, approval, praise, any gain whatsoever.


What good is it if a man gains the whole world, but loses his immortal soul?

What good is it if you have 4 million hits, a zillion friend/followers, or ten thousand readers a day?

What can we give in exchange for our soul?

Take no man for your example.

Priest, prophet, forage in a land they know not.

All have gone astray...

There is not a good man left.

"Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious of one another." - Galatians 5:26

Obama and Romney: I don't think they like each other.

Yes I watched the debate.

I imagined that Obama was viewing Romney as a phony conservative Brooks Brothers suit, CEO manipulating numbers for the share holders, Book of Mormon door-to-door snake oil salesman whose right-wing values need to be suppressed.

On the other hand, I imagined Romney viewing Obama as a Socialist Black Panther elite,  Affirmative Action Harvard scholar-upstart, who isn't going to dictate to him or his constituents.

That's just my imagination as regards what these guys maybe were thinking of each other during their down-time. 

I really got the feeling they don't like each other.

When you come to serve the Lord...

Prepare yourself for trials.

"How narrow is the gate and straight the way that leads to life.  And few there are who find it." - Mt. 7:14

I know a guy who has changed religions as often as most people change long distance plans - I took the long distance bit from a 2008 article on how often Americans change their religious affiliations.  Sadly, the problem with the guy I'm thinking of is that he has issues with being gay.  Who doesn't?  Everyone has issues with gay people.  At one time the poor guy was happy with being LGBT and Catholic, then he became SSA and Catholic, then none of the above, only to become 'why I'm not gay and Catholic' -  although at some point before all of that, Protestant and married, and then gay, and then Catholic.  Now he's Anglican.  Fitting in, finding acceptance, accepting Catholic teaching - all very challenging for... gosh...  I don't even know what to call it anymore - many people.  Anyway, he used to be a minister at one time as well.  That can be a huge difficulty for former ministers - they no longer have that sense of 'authority' or position of autonomy to boost their sense of self-worth.

We need to remember the Church isn't a country club, it isn't a cozy blognic.  People aren't always nice, or welcoming, much less accepting or supportive.  This person is another casualty in the Catholic blogosphere; once praised as heroic, proud of his stats, and a staunch defender of Catholic teaching - he left. 

We must guard our faith.  We must be faith-full.  The real body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ is really, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist.  No other sect can claim that. Keep the faith - give up everything else, but not the Holy Faith.  Martyrs shed their blood just for being faithful to the Pope.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Infant Jesus

Today begins the monthly novena in honor of the Infant Jesus.

Devotion to the Infant Jesus is not limited to devotion to the miraculous Infant Jesus of Prague - although the miracles attributed to the Infant of Prague have helped increase devotion to the Sacred Child.  There are other miraculous images of the Infant Jesus throughout the world, many resembling the Infant of Prague, while others may depict the Child Jesus in other guises.  The variety of devotions are solidly based upon devotion to the Sacred Humanity of Christ.

Some people find the clothing of statues, especially that of the Infant Jesus difficult to understand.  For instance the Infant of Prague is dressed as a priest and as a king, in the fashion of the period wherein the statue was made, and the devotion began.  The Child wears an alb - no more considered a dress than that which a priest wears, although the cape, or cope the Child wears is the same as that of a king, as well as a bishop.  The Divine Child wears liturgical vestments, which change with the liturgical seasons, signifying the devotion is anchored and sustained in the liturgy.  It is a liturgical, Eucharistic devotion.  It is also Marian, since the Divine Infant is most often found in the arms of His Mother - and yes, dressed in a robe or tunic, as little boys were often dressed in their infancy.

The monthly novena reminds us of the mysteries of the holy childhood and hidden life of Jesus.  The promises attached to the devotion echo the promises of Christ in the Gospel.  "No one who comes to me will I ever reject."  "Ask and it will be given to you.  Seek and you shall find.  Knock and it shall be opened to you."  "He who honors me honors the Father who sent me."  "Whatever you ask in my name will be granted to you."   And so on.

The monthly novena.  Something I wrote earlier:
The monthly novena is an efficacious spiritual practice. It focuses the soul upon the mystery of the Incarnation, the Nativity, and the early years of Our Lord's life. Some recommend that one not limit the Divine Child by asking for particular favors, since He already knows our needs. I pray the novena to draw close to the Divine Child with the confidence that I shall want for nothing. However, He is a little Child and He knows how little children are, hence he is never put off by our particular requests, indeed, He enjoys listening to them.
The chief effect of devotion to the Infant Jesus is He becomes our constant companion, and increases our capacity to love. In some cases He heals the wounds inflicted upon us in our childhood, tracing our sins to these roots, helping us to overcome them, or at least humbly repent, with greater self knowledge each time we fall. The Infant Jesus instills humility, confidence and love, as He traces out the way of Spiritual Childhood for us.
The Divine Child is vulnerable and open to all, especially sinners. He teaches us to refrain from judging another, or condemning another, and if we do, He quickly reminds us of our own sins to gently reprimand us. With him the soul is able to see the Divine spark within even the most hardened and offensive person, often indicating to us that person's particular suffering, pain, loneliness, and isolation. The Divine Child teaches us to love and have compassion, even upon ourselves - He rejects no one who comes to him. He elicits such a love from our hearts that we quickly find ourselves loving without desire for sensual gratification or self-seeking, rather loving for Love's sake alone.

Prayerof the Holy Father Benedict XVI to the Infant Jesus of Prague

O my Lord Jesus,
we gaze on you as a baby
and believe that you are the Son of God,
who became man
in the womb of the Virgin Mary,
through the working of the Holy Spirit.
Just as at Bethlehem,
we too, with Mary, Joseph,
the angels and the shepherds,
adore you and acknowledge you
as our only Savior.
You became poor
to enrich us with your poverty.
Grant that we may never forget the poor
and all those who suffer.
Protect our families,
bless all the children of the world,
and grant that the love you brought us
may always reign amongst us
and lead us to a happier life.
Grant, O Jesus, that all
may recognize the truth of your birth,
so that they may know
that you came to bring
to the whole human family
light, joy and peace.
You who live and reign
with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Few people realize this...

Ce Ce Peniston was singing about the Rosary in this song.

(At least that was my impression as we danced.  What?)


So anyway, I'm searching Google images for "Bishop Cordileone Pontifical Mass" and this screwball comes up.

Teresa de Jesus

Teresa the Great.

"Prayer is the trapdoor out of sin." - St. Teresa of Avila

But some people already knew that.  Go here.

Happy feast day to all my sinner friends - and especially those who pray!

Andy Warhol... Catholic studies.

Marc Barnes posts on Andy Warhol.

Nice to know.

Andy wasn't a model Catholic, but he was a faithful Catholic - in a way.  A new book discusses how that can be.

Fact is, he was gay and Catholic, before the hairsplitting on what all of that means began to be taken seriously, and subsequently sanitized and legitimized and normalized.  Pier Vittorio Tondelli was a gay Catholic too - faithful by the time he died - before, not so much.  People, gay people who are Catholic, are still Catholic - those whose conscience has been formed correctly do not try to say a sin is not a sin.  Homosexual orientation is not a sin of course - but the behavior is.  Some people who are active homosexuals are like that - hence they stay away from the sacraments.  In doing so they do not say the behavior is not sinful - they know it is - and they know that they cannot act out and be a faithful Catholic.  And in a very strange way - they are faithful in that.  Tondelli was like that, and so was Warhol.  For all of the issues within the manufactured reality and public persona of Warhol, he remained Catholic - and celibate.  Chaste?  That's what he said.

How some gay Catholics manage to live, how some gay Catholics find reconciliation, and what lifestyle they are accused of promoting by their mere existence, may not make them models of virtue, or good examples, or saints even - but one has to acknowledge their fidelity. 

Remember Mark Shea's friend?  Perry Lorenzo?  Now Mr. Lorenzo definitely lived as a very faithful Catholic, yet most would reject the notion that he was a model to be imitated - pretty much based solely on how he identified himself.  Yet SSA people who may struggle to live chaste lives in fidelity to Catholic teaching, can be helped and encouraged by such examples - simply by knowing there have been men, not unlike themselves, who have struggled and found salvation in the Church - even when church-people did not want them there.

Everyone works out his salvation as best he can - which is why the Church provides the sacraments, especially that of penance and Eucharist, and at the end, the sacrament of anointing, once referred to as Last Rites. 

Can a Catholic privately consider the virtue of another person to be heroic?  Yes indeed.  Does the Church always recognize such heroic virtue for public cult.  No.

Photo from an old post I did on The Factory and Warhol.

UPDATE:  I go online too late in the morning I guess - better late than never however.  I discovered  Dawn Eden has a great post up in response to Marc's post on Warhol.  I wish I was as articulate as Dawn, and I wish I had said what she said in her post.  Read it:  Defining deviancy down - Andy Warhol refashioned...

NB: What is notable about Warhol is that he did not try to promote homosexuality as something good or equal to heterosexual love and marriage.  He did not try to promote sinful behavior as virtuous.  In that respect he can be called a 'proud sinner' - although sitting at the back of the church during Mass pretty much cancels out the pride aspect.


memento mori... on the anniversary of your death.

It was 1966.

This song was popular, but not for you.

It was mine.

You never knew

I was being stalked by two men at the time. 

Somehow you missed that.

A year later I left. 

I left after living alone, for so many years.

I never came back until you were dying.


I'm afraid if I go to heaven,

   I might run into you there.



Sunday, October 14, 2012


Mass Chat: The rich he has sent away empty....

St. Benedict Joseph Labre

Today's Gospel is about the rich young man who kept all the commandments from his youth, but went away sad when Jesus asked that he give up his own will, perhaps even his own ideas on what Christ really was teaching, and give it to the poor, and come follow him in meekness and humility. 

The man went away sad, bereft. 

But Jesus didn't, couldn't follow him.

The rich man went away empty.

It's kind of scary to be so cocksure. 

     What?  That's a word.

"Who can be saved then?"  They asked him.

"What is impossible for man, is possible for God."  He answered.

"How might one recover what was lost?"  I ask.

Speaking about something similar, St. Bruno wrote:
Therefore, my brothers, you should consider it certain that whoever in any way loses such a good, will grieve to his death, if he has any regard or concern for the salvation of his soul...
Perhaps that is how we might find the rich young man if we located him later in life, spiritually bereft and humbled, weeping and mourning.

In his riches, self-opinion and pride, man lacks wisdom...