Saturday, June 08, 2013

Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

We then looked up at Our Lady, who said to us so kindly and so sadly:
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world”.  -Vatican website. 

Friday, June 07, 2013

If you never read another blog, you have got to read this guy: Scott Woltze

I am totally amazed that this man even commented on my blog.  You must read his conversion story at his blog, Thou wilt turn, O God, and bring us to life.

Anyone who has had a deep conversion experience will recognize something authentic in Scott's story.  God loves us so much.  Today the Holy Father said at Mass: "...let Him love us. Let Him draw close to us and feel Him close to us."  In that he echoes another great penitent, Angela of Foligno, to whom the Lord said, "Let yourself be loved."
"A God who draws near out of love, walks with His people, and this walk comes to an unimaginable point. We could never have imagined that the same Lord would become one of us and walk with us, be present with us, present in His Church, present in the Eucharist, present in His Word, present in the poor, He is present, walking with us. And this is closeness: the shepherd close to his flock, close to his sheep, whom he knows, one by one. " - Pope Francis
To be open to God's love, to allow ourselves to be loved, to be taught... not to teach - but to be taught:
"'Lord, I want to love You, but teach me the difficult science, the difficult habit of letting myself be loved by You, to feel You close and feel Your tenderness ! May the Lord give us this grace. " - Francis
Thank you Scott Woltze for visiting my blog.


Surrveillance State

We gave up our rights without a fight.

We really did - or should I say - we are doing so at an accelerated speed.  And no one seems to be concerned.

The Internet is a surveillance state.
The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we're being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him; 105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period.
Facebook, for example, correlates your online behavior with your purchasing habits offline. And there's more. There's location data from your cell phone, there's a record of your movements from closed-circuit TVs.

This is ubiquitous surveillance: All of us being watched, all the time, and that data being stored forever. This is what a surveillance state looks like, and it's efficient beyond the wildest dreams of George Orwell. - Finish reading here.
We give it away - free.  All of our information is marketable.  All of our activities traceable.  Perhaps we are allowing ourselves to be programmable as well.  I watched a David Karp interview on Charlie Rose.  If you didn't know, Karp sold Tumblr to Yahoo for big bucks.  It's social media but it is also a marketing cash cow.  We give away all of our information - and talents - on social media.

What will become of it?

Personal surveillance drone.
No kidding - I found this attached to my screen door.  What?

Check this out - Adrienne has something to tell you

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Come to me,
all of you who are weary
and carry heavy burdens...
I will give you rest.

It is true.

Happy feast day.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Bikinis and scantily clad women and men suffering from innapropriate erectile dysfunction...

Obviously the woman in the ad
is much too fat to be wearing so little.

There is a great post on the subject here.

Why do people obsess about what other people wear anyway? 

I just don't know.

Never mind.

He's a crackpot blogger,
one minute he posts something decent,
then turns around and posts
something nuts!


Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Tomorrow is the First Friday of June as well as the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Editor's note:  Some Catholics may look upon solemnities which fall on a Friday as an excuse not to perform some penance or to abstain from meat - which is permitted - the obligation is removed.  However, traditionally, religious people always fasted or abstained the day before a major feast day.  Therefore, if you are really concerned, and really generous and pious, you can fast and or abstain today! (Big smiley face here.)

Sacred Heart of Jesus, cleanse us from all our impurities and all our idols!

Hopefully Pope Francis - and Elizabeth Scalia's book - can help some of us to examine ourselves and the strange gods or idols we pack away in our hearts.  I've written about modern idols before, as have other more excellent bloggers.  I was reading some of my older posts today and came upon something from John of the Cross, my favorite author on spirituality and faith.
"Avoid greed in all its forms." .
The real American idol seems to me to be greed...  I've been reading St. John again, so I'll share some things he says about it.  Something to think about.
"The greedy... their appetite and joy is already so extended and dispersed amongst creatures - and with such anxiety - that they cannot be satisfied. The more their appetite and thirst increases, the further they regress from God, the font which alone can satisfy them.  God himself refers to these individuals through Jeremias: 'They have abandoned me, the font of living water, and dug for themselves leaky cisterns that cannot hold water.' [Jer. 2:13]  The reason for this dissatisfaction is that creatures do not slake the thirst, but rather intensify it.
These greedy persons fall into all kinds of sins out of love for temporal goods, and the harm they suffer is indeterminable. 
The avaricious man, because of temporal goods, is unconcerned about setting his heart on God's law, and consequently his will, memory, and intellect wander far from God, and he forgets him, as though he were not his God at all.  The reason is that he has made gods out of temporal goods and money.  St. Paul indicates this in declaring that avarice is a form of idolatry. [Col. 3:15]
Many in the world today, their reason darkened through covetousness, serve money and not God, and they are motivated by money rather than by God, and they give first consideration to the temporal price and not to the divine value and reward.  In countless ways they make money their principal god and goal and give it precedence to God, their ultimate end.
Likewise included in this category are all those miserable souls who value earthly goods as their god and are so enamored of them that they do not hesitate to sacrifice their lives when they observe that this god of theirs undergoes some temporal loss.  They despair and commit suicide for wretched reasons, and demonstrate with their own hands the miserable reward that comes from such a god.  Since there is nothing to hope for from him, he gives despair and death." - John of the Cross, Ascent, Bk III, Ch 20
I think what we are witnessing today is envy and greed at work:  Festering and oozing out all over - even religious people are not immune to it. - Archives

"For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." - Ezekiel, 36

The Pope and The Anchoress

I know!

It's almost as if Pope Francis is promoting Elizabeth Scalia's book: Strange Gods, Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life.  Talk about providential and fortuitous and, and, and...
"Idolatry is subtle…we all have our hidden idols"

"We can now ask Jesus: 'Lord, you who are so good, teach me to be this path so that every day I may be less distant from the kingdom of God, this path to drive out all of my idols'. It is difficult, but we must begin ... The idols hidden in the many saddles, which we have in our personalities, in the way we live: drive out the idol of worldliness, which leads us to become enemies of God. We ask this grace of Jesus, today. " - Pope Francis homily, Vatican Radio
I intend this slim book to be the start of an adventure - a look at the myriad ways we who call ourselves 'believers' and 'people of faith' and who believe idolatry to be something ancient, outmoded, and outside ourselves, are in fact everyday idolaters.  We are so comfortable with our idols and so convinced that they are built on entirely correct ideas that we have stopped wondering at anything and, therefore, are comprehending almost nothing. - Strange Gods

Matt Talbot 'Eve'

"Somewhere along the path of life of every human being there comes a dread moment when he suddenly sees himself for what he is." - Fr. Ralph Pfau

Ven. Matt Talbot. (Bio) Matt Talbot exemplified the heroic virtue of temperance. He practiced the Christian life more or less as a solitary, although he was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis. The spiritual combat Talbot engaged in was associated with alcoholism, which in his case demanded the renunciation of a behavior, as well as an adjustment in lifestyle. 

Talbot overcame his attachment to the disorder through the practice of the virtues, prayer and fidelity to the duties of his state in life, and mortification.  He found support in the sacraments, spiritual direction and spiritual reading.  Although he 'took the pledge' to abstain from alcohol, he did not have a support group such as AA to aid in his recovery.  I especially admire Talbot's fortitude and perseverance, demonstrating that with God all things can be overcome... "In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall.

Tomorrow, June 7 is the anniversary of his death.  Matt died in 1925.

I mention Matt Talbot today because I just started a new icon of him yesterday.  It is smaller than the one shown above, the new figure is a bust, cut off just below the hands.  My intention is to redo the head and face somewhat.  The image shown here is in a private collection.

The struggle.

I also want to share something I was able to cut and paste from Ros, aka Shadowlands, before she took one of her blogs down, and before she died of course.  It's a treasure.
Shadowlands posted something about a priest Fr Ralph Pfau, known as the "Prodigal Shepherd" from the title of his book by the same name.  Fr. Pfau declared of himself,  "All my life, I will carry three indelible marks. I am a Roman Catholic priest. I am an alcoholic. And I am a neurotic."  Shadowlands says of him,  "He suffered much, but he kept trying."   I think that is key to conversion and the way to sanctity - 'saints are sinners who kept trying'.  I'm reprinting her post here:
Excerpt from the chapter, The Dawn of Truth ( from his book Sobriety and Beyond) by Father Ralph Pfau. (Imprimatur Paul C Shulte D.D Archbishop of Indianapolis March 1955).
"Somewhere along the path of life of every human being there comes a dread moment when he suddenly sees himself for what he is. Minus all the sham, the surface and the show, he then stands face to face with truth. Minus the deception of his own self seeking and selfishness, he sees himself clearly outlined in the aura of God's grace as it tears away all the foolish self deceptions and shows a man for what he really is- selfish, deceitful, full of excuses, dishonest, even to himself and full of faults and failings............conts: To most of us, this moment comes at a time when many of life's battles and years have passed, but at a time when there still remains sufficient years, vigor and initiative to "seek truth and pursue it,".in order to make it the motive of our living, the motive of our struggles and the security of our declining years.

This moment may be brought about by the death of a loved one, the loss of worldly goods, or it may be directly occasioned within by the grace of God speaking to the depth of our soul. To most alcoholics it comes at that instant when they face the inevitable choice: death, insanity or absolute sobriety. It often comes with a blinding flash that seems to tear away the very foundations of life and whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic, layman or professional, young or old, there arises from the very innermost sanctuary of the soul and heart the cry "My God, what a mess I have made of things! How pitiful is the good done, how sparing my help to others, how innumerable my mistakes, the wrongs-how all pervading my self seeking, how dishonest my every motive! How seamy the finished, but now battered product!"

This "moment" may last for an hour, a day, a month, a year or for years. But whenever, however it comes- it is a dread and fearful moment, because UPON THAT MOMENT AND THE DECISIONS OF THAT MOMENT MAY DEPEND OUR VERY LIFE AND OUR ETERNITY. And from that time on, one can never be the same again.....................conts: It is then that life's greatest decision must be made and then it seems that an angel has him by the hands and a devil by the foot...............he can do one of three things:
First, rush in confusion back to the old surface view of self and try by a thousand and one half remedies to dress up the haunting vision, to explain away the stubborn reality. TO EXCUSE and to attempt forgetfulness by courting the sham fancies of the night and by rushing headlong through the chores of the day. THIS IS THE CHOICE OF THE VAIN MAN.
Second, the shock may be so great, the failure so undeniably real, the disillusionment so crushing that he despairs and in one way or another he seeks to destroy himself- either factually or by the bottle. THIS IS THE PROUD MAN.

Third, this is the way of the Prodigal Son, who dropped on his knees in the swine pen and cried: "Father, I have sinned" or with it's echo "I am powerless... my life is unmanageable"- and perhaps for the first time in his life that man REALLY prays and begins to MEDITATE, THIS IS THE HUMBLE MAN. And day by day he prays and he MEDITATES on TRUTH lest again he fall back into his former life-long HABIT OF EXCUSES. For the LIFE OF ALL IS LOADED WITH EXCUSES-AND SYSTEMATIC, PERSISTENT AND CONSISTENT MEDITATION ALONE WILL DISSIPATE THEM. "With desolation is the land made desolate because there are none who thinketh in their hearts."

Prayers for Ros. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

My kid is not disordered.

My kid is not evil.

Many people, parents and loved ones of same sex attracted persons mistake Catholic Church teaching to be saying that the homosexual person is disordered, that homosexuals or gay people are evil.  That isn't true of course, although it can seem at times that religious persons within the Church hate the person as well as the sin.  That really just demonstrates that even faithful Catholics can be misled as well.  Which is why one must always return to the sources of Catholic teaching, clearly defined by the Magisterium.

Lately I have been reading of growing support for gay marriage, even from morally conservative voters.  The main reason being put forward is that more and more parents, brothers and sisters, and others are realizing that one of their loved ones is gay - or same sex attracted.  Hence the responses: "My son is not disordered."  "My Daughter is not evil."  "I want them to be happy and to be able to love whomever they choose." 

The problem for Catholics, as I see it, is the lack of clear, consistent teaching on the issue of homosexuality.  To be sure, the teaching is there and it is spelled out in no uncertain terms.  There are documents to prove it.  Nevertheless, in practical terms there is a lot of leeway given when it comes to 'pastoral care'.

For instance, homosexual acts are sinful, but the orientation itself - though disordered (disorders are normal for fallen man) is not sinful.  "Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder." CDF Letter, no.3

Yet ambiguities continue to abound.  Most recently the Cardinals Of Belgium claiming Church teaching has evolved.  Even Cardinal George has made strange statements.
George said although church teaching does not judge same-sex relationships as morally acceptable, it does encourage the faithful to "respect everyone." 
"The question is, 'Does respect mean that we have to change our teaching?' That's an ongoing discussion, of course. … I still go back to the fact that these are people we know and love and are part of our families. That's the most important point right now." - Cardinal George apology.
With all due respect to Cardinal George, Catholic teaching cannot change - and it is clearly a very important point right now. 

Courage and Cardinal Burke.

Recently I came across an introduction Cardinal Burke wrote to a book by Fr. Harvey, which addressed the difficulty Catholic parents face in accepting and supporting their children who happen to have SSA.  The Cardinal is so humble and charitable in his approach, I will let his introduction speak for itself. 
Some time ago, at the conclusion of a reception following the conferral of the sacrament of Confirmation, a mother approached me and asked whether she could speak with me. She began by saying that, while she did not want to offend me, she disagreed with a column I had written in the archdiocesan newspaper. The column was written at the time that the citizens of Missouri were preparing to vote on a referendum to amend the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman – that is, to ban what has become popularly known as "same-sex marriage" or "gay marriage".
This well-spoken mother told me that she was offended because my article implied that her daughter was evil. She went on to explain that her daughter, who is in her early twenties, had graduated from a private Catholic high school with highest honors and with many awards. She has been active in a same-sex relationship for some time. With great emotion, the mother declared her love for her daughter, which, according to her way of thinking, requires acceptance and support of her daughter's same-sex relationship, including welcoming her daughter and her same-sex partner into the family home.
I explained to the mother that I have never thought nor written that persons suffering from same-sex attraction are evil. I went on to summarize what I had written in the column to which she referred, namely, that same-sex attraction itself is disordered – that is, contrary to God's plan for us as male and female; that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil; and that persons with same-sex attraction are our brothers and sisters, whom we are to respect and love. The mother continued to insist that she loves her daughter and, therefore, will support her in her same-sex relationship. 
The conversation in question reminded me of several pastoral situations in which I have found a parent struggling painfully with the homosexual activity of a child. The emotion of the situation can understandably cloud one's judgment. Whereas in the past, such emotion may have led parents to reject a child suffering with the homosexual condition or to pretend that the condition did not exist, today there is a tendency for parents to believe that tolerance requires them to accept the homosexual activity of their child and even permit it in the family home.

 Given the strong public rhetoric favoring the acceptance of same-sex attraction and homosexual activity as an alternative form of human sexuality, the very presentation of the Catholic Church's perennial teaching on the matter is considered, at best, failing in pastoral sensitivity; at worst, hateful toward persons who struggle with same-sex attraction. The theological truth is seen to be somehow antithetical to the pastoral or loving response required. For that reason, Catholic faithful, including the clergy, can become hesitant to present and clearly uphold the Church's teaching on homosexual inclinations and activity. At the same time, the persistent public message about homosexuality – in the absence of a consistent presentation of the Church's teaching – can easily lead the Catholic faithful into confused and even erroneous thinking on the matter. - Finish reading here

Ed. Note: It is 'Gay Pride Month' so I may be posting on authentic Catholic teaching on homosexuality a bit more than usual.  What? 

Cardinal Godfried Danneels said the Church had evolved in its understanding of homosexuals. How's that?

So how has the Church evolved in its thinking?  Its understanding of homosexuals?  What exactly is the new thinking on this subject?  How will the Church do better in the way it treats gay people?

Ask Eve Tushnet maybe? 

Cardinal Dolan?

Ask me and I will tell you that the teaching cannot change.  Homosexual acts are sinful.  Same sex marriage is not possible.  I've posted this stuff over and over ever since I began blogging.  Likewise, common sense and experience should prove without a doubt civil unions will lead to recognition of gay marriage - because civil unions are not good enough - they are not equal.

That said, why do some people reject the term gay and/or gay identity?

Once again, I will repeat myself.  When a person uses that term, he reduces his identity to a sexual preference/orientation.  An orientation which is objectively disordered - not a sin - but objectively disordered.  Hence, the implication being the condition is unchangeable and a natural variant of human sexuality. 

I want to share something from the foreword to Fr. Harvey's study, The Truth About Homosexuality - a book the Belgian Cardinals should have read.  I'm not a member of Courage but I agree very much with the aims of the apostolate.  I also very much admire the work, spiritual direction and the writings of the late Fr. John Harvey.  His writings almost always have resonated with my own interior convictions and experience.  His references to those experts he has collaborated with in his own writings, also have been useful to me in my personal journey and understanding the condition of homosexuality.

From Fr. Harvey:
It is noteworthy that the Society of Catholic Social Scientists sent a letter to the American bishops on November 28 1994, in which they expressed their concern 'with a trend in U.S. ministries which flatly contradicts Catholic doctrine on homosexuality'.  They outline ambiguities and contradictions, using scientific research in order to show the erroneous assumptions upon which these statements and activities are founded.  They list five fallacies:
  1. False statements are being made about homosexuality being biologically determined.
  2. Catholic homosexuals are being told that change in sexual orientation is never possible.
  3. The term gay is being used to describe people of a homosexual orientation who do not identify with the gay socio-political position.
  4. A separate 'gay spirituality' is being encouraged, and gay ministries tell us that a person who suffers from homosexual disorder has special 'gay gifts' for the Church
  5. Catholics are being informed that the homosexual condition is not disordered." - The Truth About Homosexuality: The Cry of the Faithful Seeking the Truth

Read Tushnet, Selmys, Gonnerman and others to see how commonplace this thinking has become, even endorsed by a growing number of bishops.

On the pastoral care of homosexual persons.

Almost always overlooked, deliberately ignored, or in some cases, considered to be irrelevant, I would direct the reader to study the CDF's Letter to Bishops on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons which clearly affirms Catholic teaching: "The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation."
There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil-statutes and laws. This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups' concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing. Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved. 
The Church can never be so callous. It is true that her clear position cannot be revised by pressure from civil legislation or the trend of the moment. But she is really concerned about the many who are not represented by the pro-homosexual movement and about those who may have been tempted to believe its deceitful propaganda. She is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society's understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy. - CDF Letter to Bishops


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Belgian Cardinals United! Just don't call it marriage.

Cardinal Godfried Danneels said the Church had evolved
in its understanding of homosexuals. Story here.

This is really what I wanted to say today: All men are not to be believed.

"Grant me help O Lord, from trouble, for vain is the salvation of man.

How often have I failed to find faith there where I thought I might depend upon it - and how often have I found it where I did not expect it?

Vain, therefore, is all hope in men; but the safety of the just is in you, O Lord.

Whom shall I believe O Lord but you?  You are the truth who cannot deceive nor be deceived.

On the other hand, every man is a liar - infirm, unstable, and subject to fail - especially in words; so we shouldn't be so quick in believing even that which in appearance seems to sound right.

How wisely did you forewarn us to beware of men, and that a man's enemies are they of his own household, and that we are not to believe, if anyone should say, 'Behold here! or Behold there!'" - Imitation, Bk. III, Ch. 45

"It is better to leave everyone to his own way of thinking, than to give way to contentious discourses." Ibid, Ch. 44

Intercessors of the Lamb-Bellwether Foundress, M. Nadine Brown, RIP

Former Contemplatives of the Good Shepherd nun, Nadine Brown, founder of the canonically suppressed Catholic lay ecclesial movement,  Intercessors of the Lamb, has died.  (Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc, is now disassociated from the Catholic Church.)
On Monday, the Intercessors posted a picture of Brown and wrote on their website: “In loving gratitude for the life of Mother Nadine, our beloved Foundress, who the Heavenly Father called Home today.” 
Funeral services were pending at John A. Gentleman Mortuaries' 72nd Street Chapel. - Story here and here.

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

Our Lady, the Holy Shepherdess

Divina Pastora
Cause of our joy!

I think it was Bl. Mary of Jesus Crucified who liked to call Our Lady Shepherdess.  I like that title as well.  It gives me joy.

I also love the image of Divina Pastora - Our Lady the Holy Shepherdess. 

Devotion to Our Lady, who is called, 'Cause of our joy' - for obvious reasons, fills us with joy, even amidst the greatest sadness.  Try it.  Recite her Office, or go aside and pray a quiet Rosary while meditating the best you can on the mysteries - even if it just entails looking at the pictures of the mysteries.  If you are really little - just recite her litany.  If you do not feel anything, or do not notice that you feel different afterwards, you will at least notice an inner peace... a joy unfelt, if you will.  Although I am quite sure, Our Lady will not disappoint you and she will fill your soul with a joy the world cannot give.  She always does. 

Spiritual sloth - the vice which begets rancor, contempt and sadness.

Although perfect love should be disinterested love, no human being is capable of sustaining such love - our human nature needs the consolation of spiritual joy - which is the 'fruit of generosity in the love of God.'  Disgust for spiritual things - authentic piety and devotion - when willed, may indicate the spiritual ill of acedia, or the grave sin of spiritual sloth.  Not to be confused with the trial of spiritual aridity of course.

To conquer spiritual sloth, a good, frank sacramental confession is the first step.  Spiritual sloth is overcome by genuine love of God exercised in true devotion of the will - authentic piety - which includes mortification and the practice of the virtues.  Even when sensible devotion be lacking - that too can be offered as a sacrifice in reparation.  So can migraines and other debilitating illnesses.

I'm not trying to use the Pope's words against anybody...

Nor am I taking his name in vain...

Today the Pope expresses things I have been thinking about - especially when it comes to blogging, blogs, bloggers, and issues or movements within the Church that I frequently write about.  Oh.  And he makes an indirect reference to Elizabeth Scalia's recent book, Strange Gods again too:
"There is a love, of sorts: it is love of self, love for oneself. That narcissist idolatry that leads them to betray others, that leads them to abuse of trust. "
I know!  It's too much of a coincidence that the Holy Father keeps bringing it up.  (JK)

Seriously, the Holy Father speaks directly to problems we as Christians face.  What do I always say?  "He who flatters you, deceives you.  He who praises you, deceives you."  We bloggers do that.. All. The. Time.   We praise one another, and then like spinning on a dime, can turn on one another when the other says something we dislike or disagree with.  The 'corrupt' as the Holy Father calls them, know this about us.  Call them dissidents, liberals, what have you - they speak softly and pleasantly, and even say things like; "I know what you are saying... but..."  Or, "Terry, I wish you were able to accept ..."  Or, "I appreciate that you are faithful to Church teaching but ..."

How treacherous the human heart, how easily deceived...

We must have love... charity.
"Hypocrisy is the very language of corruption. And when Jesus speaks to his disciples, he says: 'let your language be,' Yes, yes! No, no '. Hypocrisy is not a language of truth, because the truth is never given alone. Never! It is always given with love! There is no truth without love. Love is the first truth. If there is no love, there is no truth. They want a true enslaved to their interests. There is a love, of sorts: it is love of self, love for oneself. That narcissist idolatry that leads them to betray others, that leads them to abuse of trust. "
The Holy Father is a little soul, like Therese of Lisieux, he teaches so simply, with such charity:
"And the meekness that Jesus wants us to have, has nothing, has nothing of this adulation, this sickly sweet way of going on. Nothing! Meekness is simple, it is like that of a child. And a child is not hypocritical, because it is not corrupt. When Jesus says to us: 'Let your speech be' Yes is yes! No, is no! 'with the soul of a child', he means the exact opposite to the speech of these [hypocrites –ed]".The Pope’s final consideration regarded "certain inner weakness", stimulated by "vanity", that means "we like people to say good things about us." The "corrupt know this well" and " are trying to weaken us with this language".

"Let us think closely today: What is our language? Do we speak in truth, with love, or do we speak with that social language to be polite, even say nice things, which we do not feel? Let our language be evangelical brothers and sisters! Then these hypocrites that start out with flattery, adulation and all of that, end up, through false witnesses, with accusing the very ones they had flattered. Let us ask the Lord today that our language be the language of the simple, the language of a child, the language of the children of God, the language of truth in love. " - VR
When we speak of 'idolatry' I wonder if we shouldn't return to the Carmelite understanding of it, in the sense of Elijah perhaps, yet more distinctly, in the writings of John of the Cross and his exposition on vain rejoicing in created goods, the senses, as well as spiritual goods.  I think St. John zeros in on the particular 'idols' of everyday life Elizabeth Scalia and Pope Francis have been 'unmasking' for us. 

Ed. note:  The Scalia tie-in is just for fun. 

Oh Lord, please do not let them muzzle the Pope.

"Vatican-watchers scour the homilies for clues of impending policy moves." John Allen

Reminds me of:  "The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Jesus closely."

The observers ask:  What did the Pope really say?

Why does he need an interpreter?  Why does he need someone to write an essay explaining what he meant?  Why are the wise and the learned - the clever - so confused?  How is it the simple understand what the Holy Father says in his daily homilies?  Homilies that are obviously the fruit of prayer - not off the cuff improvisation? 
More and more, Vatican spin doctors probably have to be added to the list of aides at risk of heart attacks over the perils of an improvisational pope.
The homilies are pastoral in nature, often using homespun language to make his points. - John Allen, NCR 
And that is so difficult to grasp?

A priest friend told me of a Carmelite monastery of nuns who receive transcripts of the Pope's daily homilies.  They eagerly look forward to his commentary.  I think most ordinary people do.
 Praise  to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.


Monday, June 03, 2013

Now, a very special moment...

Don't go changin'
to try and please me
I love you just the way you are.

Refusing Communion to Boy Scouts?

Our Lady of Hermits

Evidently a priest wrote a post saying such a thing...

I would not administer Holy Communion to any Boy Scout coming up in uniform. They are now just as bad as the Rainbow Sash crowd and all other militant homosexualists. They would have to renounce their membership first and not wear their uniforms. - Source

The post is down now.

Kind of nuts? 

Oh yeah!

People say the darndest things online.  Frequently our emotions get the best of us and we post.  Sometimes we've been alone with our thoughts way too long and we think we have something to say.  I know!  That's a description of me and my blog.  God have mercy.

That said, I doubt I will ever understand how hermits can claim to be living an eremetical life while watching and commenting and actively participating in religious and secular life online?  Those who claim to be hermits in our day, and I don't care how many theological degrees they have,  must more than ever be careful of self-deception - and/or - what the Orthodox call spiritual deception [prelest].  Every Christian must be vigilant - but it is especially dangerous for ascetics and idiorrhythmic religious, or self-styled contemplatives. 

No communion for you!


Pope Francis endorses Elizabeth Scalia's book - again...

I know!

American Blog-idol, Elizabeth Scalia recently published a book, Strange Gods, Unmasking the idols in Everyday Life, a book which has undoubtedly influenced Pope Francis to a great degree since he often refers to the idolatry of modern times.
So many times, the Pope noted, we’ve seen “the great ones of the earth want to solve” local problems, economic problems, economic crises “with a war.”

“Why? Because, for them, money is more important than people! And war is just that: it is an act of faith in money, in idols, in idols of hatred, in the idol that leads to killing one’s brother, which leads to killing love. It reminds me of the words of God our Father to Cain, who, out of envy, had killed his brother: ‘Cain, where is your brother?’ Today we can hear this voice: it is God our Father who weeps, crying for this madness of ours, who asks all of us, ‘Where is your brother?’ Who says to the powerful of the earth, ‘Where is your brother? What have you done!’” - Pope Francis, homily for Saturday, June 1, 2013

I've read Strange Gods and recommend it highly, simply because most of us no longer think in those terms.  Idols?  Really?  We do not take idolatry seriously - we in fact approve of it as fans of this or that entertainment figure or political leader.  We live in a totally materialistic culture which rejects - removes God - even to the mention of His Name - except for cursing, of course.

Ed. Note:  Elizabeth Scalia is not the same person as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia.

Ms. Isabel (Elizabeth) has been on her book signing tour
and therefore unavailable for comment.  For this Pope, it appears she's the new Ganswein.


The Martyrs of Uganda, St. Charles Lwanga and Companions

Why were they put to death?

Hatred for the faith, of course... but there was another reason people sometimes neglect to mention, or at times discount:
The ire of the Ugandan king was particularly inflamed against the Christians because they refused to accede to demands to participate in homosexual acts with him.  Charles Lwanga, in particular, had protected the pages from King Mwanga's sexual advances.

Canonization Mass during Vatican II (source).

St. Charles Lwanga,
pray for us.


Sunday, June 02, 2013

Mass Chat: Corpus Christi

Faith in the Real Presence, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

When I returned to the Church in 1972 pretty much only a few old ladies attended Eucharistic adoration - if a parish still had it.  A couple of downtown churches still had exposition on either the First Friday of the month or in one case, every Friday, all day.  I tried to spend most of the day there when I wasn't working.  For most of the afternoon I would be one of maybe 3 other people. 

I also tried to spend as much time near the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle in other churches and chapels.  To my delight, I'd be completely alone.  I favored the Newman Chapel at the University of Minnesota, because the tabernacle was in a closet with only space for one kneeler, and I could be alone.  I couldn't understand why more people didn't spend more time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament - since he was really truly present.

Speaking about the arid waste of devotion - a full ten years later - Fr. Z explains the thinking in his time:
In the 1980’s we seminarians were informed with a superior sneer that, “Jesus said ‘Take and eat, not sit and look!’”  Somehow, “looking” was opposed to “receiving”, “doing”.  This same error is at the root of false propositions about “active participation”: if people aren’t constantly singing or carrying stuff they are “passive”.
After the Second Vatican Council, many liturgists (all but a few?) asserted that, because modern man is all grown up now, Eucharistic devotions are actually harmful rather than helpful.  We mustn’t crawl in submission before God anymore.  We won’t grovel in archaic triumphal processions or kneel as if before some king.  We are urbane adults, not child-like peasants below a father or feudal master.  We stand and take rather than kneel and receive
How this lie has damaged our Catholic identity!  Some details of society have changed like shifting sandbars, but man doesn’t change.  God remains transcendent. We poor, fallen human beings need concrete things through which we can perceive invisible realities. 
The bad old days of post-Conciliar denigration of wholesome devotional practices may linger, but the aging-hippie priests and liberal liturgists have lost most of their ground under the two-fold pincer of common sense and the genuine Catholic love people have for Jesus in the Eucharist. The customs of Corpus Christi processions, Forty Hours Devotion, and Eucharistic Adoration are returning in force. - WDTPRS 

By the grace of my conversion, like Fr. Z, I knew that was totally wrong of course, and all the Popes, from Paul VI to Francis have affirmed and encouraged devotion to the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass.  Fr. Z and those priests like him, held to this faith as well.  Younger people today have no idea what a complete desert the Church had become in those days - and how completely alone one could feel in the faith - combine that with trying to live a faithful, chaste and celibate life, and you will come to understand that it is grace alone, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist - who sustains and perfects our faith.

The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

Today the Holy Father conducted an hour of world-wide adoration - offering Jesus in the Blessed sacrament to the world, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  In my parish bulletin I came across this explanation of today's Solemnity - an echo of the errors from the not too distant past wherein liturgists desired to undo Catholic tradition which developed and enjoyed papal approval through the centuries:

What are the origins for the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ,
often referred to as Corpus Christi Sunday?

By the year 1000, the active participation of the laity at Mass was minimal. Most of the people did not receive Communion for a variety of reasons, especially the notion of unworthiness. A form of eucharistic spirituality that attempted to involve them developed, known as "ocular communion." It put forth the notion that eucharistic graces were received by merely looking at the host. Instead of physically partaking, one fervently looked at and adored the host.

Elevating the bread and wine at consecration dates to this period. The practice
of viewing the host outside of Mass developed into a devotion called Benediction,
where the exposed host could be viewed and adored for a more extended
period of time. The request for even more time to view the host led to a devotion
known as Forty Hours, the exposition of the host for forty hours straight. By 1250,
With the return to the full, conscious, and active participation at Mass by all,these devotions, while appropriate for their day and time, have lost some of their significance. They are still valid devotions, but only in relationship to the source and summit of our faith, the eucharistic celebration by the whole assembly.
© Liturgical Publications Inc
"With the return to the full, conscious, and active participation at Mass by all,
these devotions, while appropriate for their day and time, have lost some of their significance."


Perhaps the loss of significance is to be blamed on the way Mass has been celebrated, and the Eucharist has been treated - the emphasis being on the assembly as the body of Christ rather than on worship of God.
Just a thought.  I suspect Pope Francis' emphasis today will aid in correcting any further misunderstanding.