Saturday, April 13, 2013

This may explain some things...

Study: Anxiety and alcohol use linked to Facebook.

I've always said - DO NOT drink and blog!

Papal look alike...


Works for me.


How convokative!

Pope convokes group of Cardinals!

I know!

Dress: Informal.

Actual newslink here.

Ad orientem


Illustration (closeup) of Taoist ritual from c. 1700 edition of the Chinese novel The Plum in the Golden Vase. Scanned from Taoism and the Arts of China by Stephen Little. (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago. 2000. Page 192).  According to Little, the scene shown is of a ritual for the dead. Source.

I was thinking...

This morning I was thinking of St. Teresa of Avila, how she urged everyone else to pray - to practice mental prayer - although she had given it up.  If she had a blog she probably would have blogged about ascetical-mystical theology, and yet she would have been entertaining herself privately with whatever interested her.  You know, instead of being the contemplative everyone imagined her to be.  Maybe she would have taken donations and fixed up her cell at the Incarnation, getting it wired for all her electronics and big screen TV.  She might have added expensive lace to her wimple and outshone the richest nuns in the monastery. 

Teresa eventually converted - Our Lord never gave up on her.  He scared her with an ugly toad once...

Our Lord is kind and merciful.

This Easter season I've really been trying hard to put into practice the message of Divine Mercy.  I fail every day.  I take seriously the injunction to be merciful to others, to not judge from appearances - or even suspect something is off with my neighbor.  I fail every day.  To see the good in others, to think the best.  I fail every day.

Did you know to be a martyr you have to love those who persecute you, those who kill you?  You can't call them names and spew venom on them as they are killing you.

Did you know that to be merciful to others we have to love even those who abuse our kindness, those who take advantage of us?  Those who mock us? 

I fail every day.

I'm hoping it is better to fail and repent than it is to pretend I'm St Teresa...

I've read where good people say, usually in response to some evil they see in others, "I hope I'm better than that!"

I'm not.  In justice, I can never say that.

I hope never to get myself entangled in that mindset - and if I do, I pray to be shown my misery and ask the Lord to descend into the depths of my misery and rescue me - save me - in his good time.

"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." - Edith Stein





Take little notice of who is with you or against you... so long as you always try to please God and write what is true. 

Love to be unknown both by yourself and by others...

Those who flatter you deceive you...

Never take a man for your example - however holy he may be - for the devil will show you his faults.

It is a great wisdom  to know how to be silent and to look at neither the remarks, the deeds, nor the lives of others...

Show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.

Allow yourself to be taught, to be corrected, to be despised... to be humbled.

Where have You hidden Yourself, O my Beloved?
For "life is so short, the path leading to eternal life so narrow, and I know the just man is scarcely saved, while the things of the world are vain and deceitful, and all comes to an end and fails like falling water. The time is uncertain, the accounting strict, perdition very easy and salvation most difficult... My life has vanished, I know well I must render an account of everything - from the beginning of my life as well as this later part - unto the last penny, when God will search Jerusalem with lighted candles, and it is already late - the day far spent - to remedy so much evil and harm..."

  Adapted from John of the Cross.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Year of Faith: I967 - 1968

To commemorate the nineteenth centenary of the martyrdom of the holy apostles Peter and Paul.

I did not realize that 1967 - 1968 was a Year of Faith".    Forty Five years later, another year of faith.  Obviously, I should pay better attention. 

Though in 1968 I was far away from the Lord. 

Anyway.  I came upon my old copy of The Credo of the People of God several days ago, it was proclaimed by Pope Paul VI, and remains good for our instruction today.  A few excerpts:
In making this profession, we are aware of the disquiet which agitates certain modern quarters with regard to the faith. They do not escape the influence of a world being profoundly changed, in which so many certainties are being disputed or discussed. We see even Catholics allowing themselves to be seized by a kind of passion for change and novelty. The Church, most assuredly, has always the duty to carry on the effort to study more deeply and to present, in a manner ever better adapted to successive generations, the unfathomable mysteries of God, rich for all in fruits of salvation. But at the same time the greatest care must be taken, while fulfilling the indispensable duty of research, to do no injury to the teachings of Christian doctrine. For that would be to give rise, as is unfortunately seen in these days, to disturbance and perplexity in many faithful souls.

It is important in this respect to recall that, beyond scientifically verified phenomena, the intellect which God has given us reaches that which is, and not merely the subjective expression of the structures and development of consciousness; and, on the other hand, that the task of interpretation—of hermeneutics—is to try to understand and extricate, while respecting the word expressed, the sense conveyed by a text, and not to recreate, in some fashion, this sense in accordance with arbitrary hypotheses.
It is interesting to me how the Holy Father intended his Profession of Faith
[...]to be to a high degree complete and explicit, in order that it may respond in a fitting way to the need of light felt by so many faithful souls, and by all those in the world, to whatever spiritual family they belong, who are in search of the Truth.
That, when so many today accuse him of having confused the faithful, of permitting error, and of weakness in his duty "to confirm our brothers in the faith."

The Church and the Holy See face the same, if not worse, criticisms today.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Actually, this is very good: Michael Voris "What's up with all things gay?"

Michael Voris responds to Melinda Selmys.

In asking, "What's up with all things gay?"  Voris points out how all things gay is all over media: major news, entertainment, education, and so on.  And if anyone opposes approval* of homosexual behavior and same sex marriage, they are labeled bigots and homophobes.  Commenters have asked me - why do you always write about gay stuff? - as if to intimidate and silence me in what I have to say or report on - ignoring the fact that all things gay is indeed - all over media - and in the courts.  There is a dishonesty amongst many who seek to change Church teaching and/or foment hostility against it. 

I have to say, Michael pretty much gets it right as he refutes Selmys' complaints against him.  (He covers it in the introduction.  The rest seems to be pretty much call-in stuff and that kind of radio drives me nuts, so I didn't finish the program.)  He even noted the rewrites and clarifications Melinda is getting to be known for whenever her original statements are challenged.  Listen/watch Voris's radio show here.

*I have written about this frequently over the years.  I stand by it:
Approval. Not just tolerance. Not simply acceptance. But full-blown approval. The agenda is all about approval - and it is exactly that which the Christian can never give. There may come a time when the approval is forcibly demanded - thus it is important for the Christian to understand, such approval is not theirs to give. - Read that post here.

H/T Jeanette

The Michael Voris FBI documentary on Homosexuality here.  It is very well done.

Duck and cover.

Missing Pope Benedict

Every night I pray for the Holy Fathers.

I pray for Benedict first, and then Francis.  Like a little kid, I suppose. 

I miss Pope Benedict very much and always resist the temptation to complain that we never hear about him; now that he is like a cloistered Carmelite, we never see him or receive messages either.  His birthday is coming up in six days, on St. Benedict Joseph's feast day - I've always imagined the Pope had a special devotion to the homeless saint, and perhaps even identified with him...

I was missing him last night and prayed...

Today Fr. Blake posted a report that Benedict is not doing well.  I'll pray for him even more now.

I've always said he is my favorite Pope ever - he still is.  That takes nothing away from the others, nor Pope Francis, BTW.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

This is so much more important than our 'feelings'... what the pope wears... all the rants and raves we distract ourselves with...

Google file image of Wset Philadelphia, Gosnell clinic.

I read the following headlines on Drudge, but couldn't go to the article:
Media ignores abortionist's murder trial...

'It didn't have eyes or a mouth but it was like screeching, making this noise'...
Hell. On. Earth.

+ + +

"But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child - a direct killing of the innocent child - murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love - that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. " - Blessed M. Teresa

If WWIII breaks out tomorrow, don't ask why. 

"You are a teacher of Israel and you do not understand these things?"

Christ and Nicodemus, Fritz von Uhde

Falling in love with Jesus.

Jesus said to Nicodemus, 'you must be born from above.'  The wind moves where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes... but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

My pre-conversion.

Years ago, my friends and I - 4 guys and 2 girls/young women - did our circle the continent tour.  The itinerary started out here, in the Twin Cities, driving a van to San Francisco, north to Seattle/Vancouver.  I met up with them in Seattle.  The next day, we embarked on a cross country tour of Canada - I had to leave them in Montreal because I had a job to return to.  My friends finished up going through to the Atlantic, stopping in New York and back here.  This all took place the summer before my first conversion.

The Spirit blows where he wills.

Somehow I convinced myself - or at least told other people - I had no faith.  Yet in every town we stopped at, I separated myself from the group and wandered into a Catholic church - always, just starring at the tabernacle.  Midway through Canada - Kenora*, I stopped in another church - feeling myself drawn... I sat in the back and it seemed to me the tabernacle glowed with light.  Just now writing about it makes my hair stand on end.  I stared and stared - to this day I can't say what happened.  I left, and returned to my friends and we went on to Toronto.

You hear the sound it makes...

Even when there are no words - something happens.  You can give up drugs and alcohol.  You can give up sexual sin.  You can live chastely and celibately - even if you are in the middle of something.  A sinful life.  A sinful relationship you can't leave or don't know how you can make it better.  God can.

You have to let yourself be loved.

Jesus said something like that to Angela of Foligno, and a holy little Carmelite, Elizabeth of the Trinity grabbed onto the same sentiment... 'let yourself be loved'.

Let yourself be attracted to Jesus, drawn by cords of love.  He doesn't ask what is impossible.

It's the falling in love...

Falling in love with Jesus is always new, one is always reborn, renewed.

When you fall in love with him, everything falls into place.  How can a young man remain sinless?  Fall in love with Jesus.

I did say something to the tabernacle at one of the stops on our cross country tour, I said, "If you are there, please help me."

In Montreal I lit a candle and said, "Please be patient with me, I can't come back yet."

The following spring he grasped me.

Cling to him in love...

As the Popes keep telling us - being Catholic is a relationship with Jesus.  When you fall in love with Jesus, everything else falls into place.  The counsels become live-able.

When you stumble and fall - he is there to catch you.  You get up, and keep going, keep loving.  The sacraments are there for that reason - they are the proofs of his love.  That love so much deeper than any pit...

His love enfolds you - because, his anointing remains in your heart.  In a sense, you have no need for anyone to teach you, as John says in one of his letters.  So long as you remain in him - cling to him in love, for he knows your name.

Let yourself be drawn... let yourself be loved.

*Notre Dame du Portage, Kenora


No bloggers were hurt by this post.

The spiritual combat..
"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 Easter celebration and relaxation. The devil prowls like a roaring lion.)
I don't know about you, but it seems to me the real spiritual battle only now begins. 
Of the Spirit of Conceit
Chapter 9 - How conceit is more perilous when mingled with virtue.
Other disorders when they are opposed by their opposite virtues, are engaged in the open like battle in the light of day, and can easily be overcome or avoided: this alone when it is entwined with virtues is far more dangerously deceptive to the unwary warrior, as if battle were joined in confusion, fighting in the thick of night.
Chapter 14 - How conceit suggests they might rise in the hierarchy.
Often it instills an ambition for Holy Orders and the priesthood or diaconate. If a monk has been chosen for ordination, it makes him imagine himself ministering with such piety and correctness that he can give an example of holiness to other priests, and winning many souls not only by his manner of life but also in his teaching and preaching. Even one dwelling in the desert or in a cell is made to imagine himself travelling round different houses and monasteries, and converting many by the eloquence of his fantasy discourses.

Just for fun:
Chapter 18 - How a monk should avoid women and bishops.
The consistent and still current teaching of the old Fathers (which I am embarrassed to repeat, I who failed to escape from my girl cousin, or elude the hands of the bishop) is that in all ways a monk should flee women and bishops. Neither would allow him, once entangled in their company, either to apply himself to peaceful work in his cell, or to cleave to divine contemplation, in the consideration of holy things with undistracted eye. - The Monastic Institutes, John Cassian

Monday, April 08, 2013

Snow expected in Minneapolis late Wednesday and Wednesday night...

"Isn't that just the weirdest?"

April showers for Tuesday
-winter storm for Wednesday.

"I bet they haven't had snow in New Orleans for years."

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Pope Francis takes possession of the Lateran

Notice the crosier...

I have always loved the crosier of Paul VI - it reminds me of Paul's Letter to the Corinthians: "I determined that while I was with you I would speak of nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified." - 1 Corinthians 2

Notice likewise, the background of the cathedra ... It reminds me of the scene in Zeffirelli's beloved film, Brother Sun, Sister Moon*, when Francis of Assisi meets the Pope, dressed in white.  The movie set was a glittering exaggeration of the real thing.  (I know the many fans of the film are interested to know that.  What?)

"Brothers and sisters, let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God!" - Pope Francis

The content of the Pope's homily is beautiful for Divine Mercy Sunday... he speaks of the Lord's patience.  His attitude brings to mind the beautiful words John Paul I** expressed about Our Lord's patience and mortal sin.

Pati divina - Divine suffering.

A priest once told me that is the Latin root of the word 'patience'.  It's like 'mercy' - derived from the Latin 'miserecordia' - the heart/love moved by pity/misery... or something like that.

Today the Holy Father also spoke of courage - the courage to return to God.  (The word also has a Latin derivative - 'cor' meaning heart):
Adam, after his sin, experiences shame, he feels naked, he senses the weight of what he has done; and yet God does not abandon him: if that moment of sin marks the beginning of his exile from God, there is already a promise of return, a possibility of return. God immediately asks: “Adam, where are you?” He seeks him out. Jesus took on our nakedness, he took upon himself the shame of Adam, the nakedness of his sin, in order to wash away our sin: by his wounds we have been healed. Remember what Saint Paul says: “What shall I boast of, if not my weakness, my poverty? Precisely in feeling my sinfulness, in looking at my sins, I can see and encounter God’s mercy, his love, and go to him to receive forgiveness.

In my own life, I have so often seen God’s merciful countenance, his patience; I have also seen so many people find the courage to enter the wounds of Jesus by saying to him: Lord, I am here, accept my poverty, hide my sin in your wounds, wash it away with your blood. And I have always seen that God did just this – he accepted them, consoled them, cleansed them, loved them.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us be enveloped by the mercy of God; let us trust in his patience, which always gives us more time. Let us find the courage to return to his house, to dwell in his loving wounds, allowing ourselves be loved by him and to encounter his mercy in the sacraments. We will feel his tenderness, so beautiful, we will feel his embrace, and we too will become more capable of mercy, patience, forgiveness and love
. - Papal Homily, Divine Mercy Sunday 2013

Heart calling unto heart.

*Song for this post here.  What?  ;)

** Papa Luciani said: "I will limit myself to recommending one virtue so dear to the Lord: He said, 'Learn from me who am meek and humble of heart." I risk saying an error, but I am saying it: the Lord loves humility so much that, sometimes, he permits grave sins. Why? So that those who have committed these sins, afterwards, having repented, may remain humble. One is not tempted to believe oneself half–saint or half–angel, when one knows that one has committed grave faults. The Lord so much recommended: be humble." - Translation thanks to Don Marco.

A story about Divine Mercy...

Sometimes we need to witness, and sometimes we need witnesses.

The legend of the poor musician and Divine Mercy

There is a legend connected to the painting of Christ on the cross (1605) by Kasper Kurcz hanging in the Romanesque Church of the Holy Saviour in Kraków’s Zwierzyniec. It portrays Jesus in a long, red tunic and golden shoes, of which one is dropping towards a poor fiddler playing at the foot of the cross. The painting, replaced the old Romanesque crucifix, which was rumoured to be a gift sent from Moravia to the first Christian prince of Poland. The crucifix, presenting Christ naked, received the royal tunic, a crown studded with diamonds, and golden shoes to add to its reverence. 
There was a poor fiddler who came frequently to praise the Lord with his music at the foot of the crucifix. God, seeing the poverty in the home of the pious musician, decided to help by removing one of the precious shoes from the figure of Christ, and casting it to the feet of the fiddler. Afraid that someone may accuse him of stealing, the boy asked God to place the shoe back on Christ’s foot. The next time the fiddler turned up by the crucifix, he saw a crowd of people. When he began to play, the golden shoe slipped off Christ’s foot again and fell at his feet. This time, nobody could doubt the honesty of the musician. The crucifix was moved to Italy in the 17th century and was replaced by a painting showing Christ and the fiddler, which to this day reminds us of divine grace, mercy, and generosity. - Source

Jesus!  I trust in you!

Keep repeating that - all through the apostasy.
“In order to solve their problems many people resort to fortune tellers and tarot cards. But only Jesus saves and we must bear witness to this! He is the only one. " - Pope Francis

Contact high or flashback? Just reading about psilocybin makes me feel all warm and fuzzy...

"We live in a world of insanity..."

I know you know that I used to do drugs - way, way, back when I wished that the world could be... just... like... Woodstock.  I wasn't doped up all the time of course, but I did enjoy my weekends.  Fortunately for me, my very best friends became all spiritual - but not religious - and because of peer pressure - Donna and Jim dissing me for being so low class as to continue using - I stopped.  Kind of.  I didn't do as much, and went on 'trips' by myself.  But that's another post.


This morning I was reading an article on how researchers are testing psilocybin, the hallucinogenic ingredient in 'magic mushrooms', to help patients with severe depression.  The problem for researchers is the drug is illegal...
David Nutt, (I know!) president of the British Neuroscience Association and professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, said he had been granted an ethical green light and funding for the trial, but regulations were blocking it. "We live in a world of insanity in terms of regulating drugs," Nutt told a neuroscience conference in London on Sunday.
Psilocybin - or "magic" - mushrooms grow naturally around the world and have been widely used since ancient times for religious rites and also for recreation.

Researchers in the United States have seen positive results in trials using MDMA, a pure form of the party drug ecstasy, in treating post-traumatic stress disorder.

"What we are trying to do is to tap into the reservoir of under-researched illegal drugs to see if we can find new and beneficial uses for them in people whose lives are often severely affected by illnesses such as depression," - Nutt said. - Read more here.
No doubt it would work and not only be effective, but highly desirable as well ... the whole world is depressed, right?  $$$.  Wasn't there a novel about the use of Soma?  Soma is like MDMA - yes, I experimented with that too.  Ah, too bad.  As if the world isn't prescription drugged up enough now?

My recreational use is decades past - I don't want drugs in my life.  Thanks be to God.  Years ago a priest once suggested one of the reasons my conversion experience may have been so extraordinary was that Our Lord needed to overcome the effects of the drugs.  He laughed when he said it, but only God knows.  God's love is so much greater, deeper, and lasting than anything we can do to ourselves.  And no, I was never in treatment - not that it's a bad thing, but my conversion was instantaneous, and I experienced no withdrawal from the drugs or alcohol.  Praise God. 

Praise His Divine Mercy!

Song for this post here.

Divine Mercy Sunday

Jesus, I trust in you.

Proclaim to the whole world my unfathomable Mercy. (1142)

Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to my Merciful Heart, and I will fill it with peace. (1047)

I am Love and Mercy itself.  When a soul approaches me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls. (1074)