Saturday, December 07, 2013

Let's prepare today to honor the Immaculate Conception ...

Let's start today.

Today is the First Saturday of Our Lady and this evening the traditional vespers for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception would normally take place, although the feast day is transferred to Monday since tomorrow is the Second Sunday of Advent.  Privately we can enter deeply into the grotto of the Immaculata and keep vigil, as if the feast has been graciously extended to assuage our longing to honor the Holy Virgin.  How much the Blessed Virgin loves us!  This week is her week.  The Immaculate Conception is patroness of the United States.  Within the 'octave' the Immaculata is again honored on the 10th as Madonna of Loreto.  On the 12th she is highly honored as the Virgin of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas.  Advent is Our Lady's season.

Fr. Mark of Vultus Christi posts edifying meditations on the Blessed Virgin ... I'll excerpt a couple for today.  The first is on hope - and a holy priest Fr. Mark knew.  The photo from Lourdes at top is from father's post. 
From Hopes to Hope 
Many years ago, as I was standing in the rain in front of the grotto at Lourdes on a cold February morning, Chanoine Croset, the saintly old priest whose anniversary of death occurs today, told me that it was time for me to pass from having hopes to having hope. Passer des espoirs à l’espérance. He said something like, “Little brother, now it is time for you to let go of your hopes so as to live in hope.” It is a fearful thing to die to one’s cherished hopes, to pass from clinging to one’s own hopes so as to practice unconditionally the theological virtue of hope.
Darkness and Light 
Father Croset practiced the virtue of hope to an heroic degree.  As a young priest, successful in his diocesan ministry and full of promise, he was maligned by an unbalanced person. Overnight, his reputation was ruined. Without being given a hearing, he was exiled from his diocese and told never to return. Thus did he enter into years of profound moral suffering and, paradoxically, an extraordinary fecundity in the care of souls who sought him out for spiritual direction. Fifty years after the shame of being banished from his diocese, his case was reviewed by the bishop then in charge. The old accusations were proven false and Father Croset was declared innocent. Father Croset was invited to return to his diocese on 7 October 1986 in order to concelebrate with Pope John Paul II who was there on pilgrimage. - Vultus Christi

 I love how Fr. Mark notes Fr. Croset 'was maligned by an unbalanced person'.  How often that must happen in cases involving priests today?  I often reflect on posts I've written - how unbalanced was my point of view?  How subjective my opinion on certain situations?  How distorted by my own failures were my observations on the vocation and conduct of others?  What did the Pope say about such people?  "Those who live judging their neighbours, speaking badly of them, are hypocrites because they don’t have the strength, the courage to look at their own defects.”  Who can heal me?

 "Where Mary is present there will always be joy. Where Mary is absent there cannot but be sadness and gloom." - Fr. Mark

Sadness and gloom makes us mean.  With Our Lady there is hope for healing and purification - and balance - Our Lady is the Cause of our Joy.  "Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors. He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord." - Proverbs 8: 34-35

Draw me!

“Thou art all fair, O Mary, there is no spot of original sin in thee.” (Ct 4, 7).

Let's start today!  Daily!

"Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates,
and waiteth at the posts of my doors." - Proverbs 8:34

Mary, a Garden Enclosed - "I am a Wall: and my Breasts are as a Tower" Canticles 8:10 -
by LOCHNER, Stefan - from Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne


Important things to remember.

Mr. Rogers with Daniel Striped Tiger. 

“Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort.”
Fred Rogers

“There is no normal life that is free of pain. It's the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth.”
Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

“It's a mistake to think that we have to be lovely to be loved by human beings or by God”
Fred Rogers

I watched Mr. Rogers and Me on PBS last night.  I think Mr. Rogers is kind of like St. Nicholas, and Pope Francis is kind of like both of them. 

I liked something else Mr. Rogers said:
“I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.” - Mr. Rogers


Friday, December 06, 2013

Thoughts on childhood, sexual abuse, and conscience..

"Do not rouse, do not stir up love, before it's ready ..." - Song of Songs 2:7
The recent developments in the sexual abuse scandal as it unfolds in the Archdiocese of MPLS/STP reminds me of my own experiences as a child and adolescent.  I wasn't abused by a priest, although once when I was speaking to a friar at a Franciscan church about vocations, I think I wanted to be.  I was in fourth grade.  Which brings me to the point of my post. 
People will hate me for saying this, but sometimes, some kids who have been abused, may desire - albeit mistakenly - some sort of intimacy, attention, or affection from an adult.*  Especially those kids who have been sexually abused as a small child, before the 'age of reason'.  Combined with the experience of some sort of physical/emotional abuse, and/or abandonment/neglect by parents, the child's emotional development becomes arrested and disordered.  Hence, the child often remains vulnerable to ongoing abuse, confusing it as a means for emotional fulfillment through sexual gratification, the child may even act out in a seductive manner, or develop a disoriented desire for sexual contact, which he perceives as something affirmative, as well as affectionate and loving contact.  That said, the child's culpability is always mitigated, if not abrogated.
This week I've been reading the lives of child saints in Magnificat, which may help explain why I'm thinking about culpability and conscience, especially in connection with childhood sexual abuse.  As I mentioned in another post, a priest accused of sexual abuse of a young girl in the Archdiocese was also my confessor at one point.  He heard my confession after I had been sexually abused in a theater.  I never received counsel or any advice indicating that I was not responsible.  That was fine with me, since I had deliberately sat down next to the man after he patted the seat next to his.  I was on my way to the bathroom, and he motioned for me to sit with him.  He fondled me, but I did all the work of unzipping and so on - essentially I wanted to be fondled.  I wanted the attention.
Kids who are already screwed up by various forms of abuse know - before they are emotionally, hormonally ready - that genital play 'feels good'.  Catholic kids in my day knew sex was 'bad' - only adults who were wedded in Holy Matrimony could taste the fruit of that tree.   I knew it wasn't right when sexual things happened.  I knew it was wrong.  I knew I had to go to confession, and I did.  I was at least 8 or 9 years old at the time.  The priest gave me absolution.  I knew my sin was forgiven.  But I wasn't 'fixed'.

Thus while reading the lives of child saints this week, I came across Kizito, a fourteen-year-old page in King Mwanga's court in Uganda.  Kizito suffered a gruesome martyrdom rather than submit to the king's sexual advances.  Kizito resisted while yet a catechumen.  He was only baptized by Charles Lwanga a day before his martyrdom.  I have pondered over that for hours.  Not too long ago, I posted that I had been raped at the age of fourteen.  The act was against my will, but I had associated with the perpetrator before that.  There had been sexual encounters - not initiated by me, nor did I invite them - but it happened.  He was an adult, I was fourteen. 

I confessed it later.

What is my point?  I'm not sure.  I think I'm offering another perspective on the mystery of iniquity in our lives.  I think what I am suggesting is that there is an element of culpability when there is some level of consent.  (Pretty much talking about pre-teens and teens here.)  I'm not at all blaming the 'victim'.  The adult is always the responsible actor, the power figure in these situations.  Putting the child in the role of seducer is a grave misunderstanding - I'm not suggesting that.  It is something a young person should never be blamed for when it involves an adult.  Though it may legally be a situation of statutory rape, and therefore a criminal act since the victim is younger than the age of consent - and even though the victim might claim he consented - it remains a case of statutory rape.   Nevertheless, I think we have to be accountable for our conduct.  Morally there may have been an aspect of consent.  After all, Catholic teaching places the age of reason at age seven, therefore one ought to know right from wrong.  What I'm saying doesn't excuse the perpetrator, nor does it mean that the abuse may not be criminal.  It just seems to me that the example of the saints - choosing death over mortal sin, is much more than an ideal to be admired.  It suggests to me there is some level of moral culpability on the 'victim's' part.  (Obviously that enters the realm of conscience and I'm not able to examine or judge that in another.  It is an issue strictly between the person and his confessor, the soul and God.)
In another post, of which this is a kind of follow up, a commenter wrote:
So its bizarre for a 17 year old to have sex with a 14 or 15 year old? What planet did you come from.
He was referring to this case:
An openly homosexual teenager, who was given a position as an “adviser” to Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and honored by President Barack Obama at a White House “gay pride” dinner, has been indicted on more than a dozen counts of sexual misconduct with a minor under the age of 15.
Caleb Laieski, now 18, was 17 at the time of the alleged abuse. His alleged victim, a close friend he met on TrevorSpace (a social media site for children and young adults aged 13-24 who have an interest in homosexuality), was only 14 at the time. The younger boy said the sex was consensual, but that he felt “pressured” to participate. However, Arizona law says no one younger than 15 is capable of giving consent. - Link

Caleb Laieski is accused under statutory rape laws.  Many people today will most likely see no abuse in the relationship between the teen boys - in fact the younger kid's mother approved of the relationship, until it involved a 43 year old man.  Then the youngest person came forward to report abuse, despite the fact the 43 year old insisted the kid 'came onto him'.  Though the adult and the 17 year old may be legally culpable, there were 3 people involved in a sexual encounter.  Sexually abusive?  Yes.  Statutory rape?  Yes.  Yet at one point, I believe all three said it was consensual.  Morally corrupt?  Yes.  Sinful?  Yes.  And there's the catch.  Today we are so afraid to call a sin a sin.  Homosexuals especially seem to be inclined to reject the idea that homosexual behavior is sinful, which probably explains the comment on that particular post - "So its bizarre for a 17 year old to have sex with a 14 or 15 year old? What planet did you come from."
So whenever I suggest the 'victim' (of a certain age of course) may have some moral culpability, that drives people crazy, and extreme cases of sexual abuse are raised up to refute what I'm trying to say.  Every situation is different, and every 'survivor' (I dislike that term as much as the 'victim' terminology) is different.  What I'm trying to express here is decidedly my personal perspective provoked by recent developments concerning the sexual abuse of minors in my archdiocese.  Don't worry about me, I'm fine with what has happened to me, I've also been through therapy about this stuff, and I've dealt with the issue for years.  I think I know what I am talking about as it involves my personal situation and experience, and I suspect others may see it the same way.

 *Remember how Fr. Benedict Groeschel got in so much trouble saying something similar?  He eventually recanted after pressure, and the interview published was removed, his friars and he blamed his remarks on old age.  It wasn't PC.  I kept my post up - an excerpt I wrote here:
In response to my friend who forwarded the (Benedict Groeschel) article, wherein she expressed incredulity that a 14 year old could be a seducer, I related an anecdote from my own experience:
Absolutely true. I worked in a parish in Boston in my mid-20's, and a 14 year old kid came on to me. I was deeply offended and upset - but more concerned for the boy. I retained my composure, laughed and then led him out of the hallway into an area where other people were gathered for a parish celebration, in the meantime, explaining to him that homosexual acts are sinful and encouraging him to go to confession, speak to a priest, and consecrate his life to Our Lady. I never spoke to him again and he avoided me whenever he was at Church.   And no, the kid was not known to me before this happened - evidently he knew me however. - Source

By the grace of God I have never been attracted to children or boys.  Instead I think I was the one  always looking for a father.  I found God.

That said, I suppose I'm just blogging about this as a follow up to that other post, and for St. Nicholas day - he's the patron saint of kids you know.  All kids, but especially abused kids and adult kids who had been abused.

If you don't understand what I've written, or you do not agree, then it's probably not for you.  Losing readers is what I do best - and it serves me well.  I'm not a popular blog, so I can't do much harm.

Art: Dirk Bogarde, Death in Venice

St. Nicholas Day

St. Nicholas,  detail, the Bari icon.

O God, who has glorified blessed Nicholas, your illustrious Confessor and Bishop, by means of countless signs and wonders, and who does not cease daily so to glorify him; grant, we beseech you, that we, being assisted by his merits and prayers, may be delivered from the fires of hell and from all dangers. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Thursday, December 05, 2013

Pray to St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas Resuscitating Three Youths - Bicci di Lorenzo

St. Nicholas is a wonder-worker.

His miracles are not confined to the past.

His power with God is as efficacious today

as it was in his lifetime.

His wonders as abundant

as the innumerable miracles of history.

St. Nicholas gave me the childhood I had lost. 

He restored my soul and healed my sorrows.

He blessed me with wealth immaterial.

He rescued me from a wretched life.

He delivered my soul from a stormy sea.

It is the eve of St. Nicholas,

Pray for those held captive,

those suffering abuse,

and those lost at sea.

St Nicholas of Bari Rebuking the Storm - Bicci di Lorenzo

Bonus factoid:  St. Nicholas promised to help those who remember his parents, Theophanes and Nonna.  For more about the life of St. Nicholas, go here.

A Prayer of Impetration to Saint Nicholas

Glorious St. Nicholas, my special patron, from thy throne in glory, where thou dost enjoy the presence of God, turn thine eyes in pity upon me and obtain for me from our Lord the graces and helps that I need in my spiritual and temporal necessities (and especially this favor [mention your request], provided that it be profitable to my salvation). Be mindful, likewise, O glorious and saintly Bishop, of our Sovereign Pontiff, of Holy Church, and of all Christian people. Bring back to the right way of salvation all those who are living steeped in sin and blinded by the darkness of ignorance, error, and heresy. Comfort the afflicted, provide for the needy, strengthen the fearful, defend the oppressed, give health to the infirm; cause all men to experience the effects of thy powerful intercession with the supreme Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.
V. Pray for us, O blessed Nicholas.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
O God, who has glorified blessed Nicholas, Thine illustrious Confessor and Bishop, by means of countless signs and wonders, and who dost not cease daily so to glorify him; grant, we beseech Thee, that we, being assisted by his merits and prayers, may be delivered from the fires of hell and from all dangers. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.  - Source

Song for this post here.

Disordered attachment.

Fr. James Martin, SJ has a wonderful counsel on the subject ...
St. Ignatius Loyola often used to talk about "disordered attachments," those things we are so attached to that they keep us from God. It could be a desire for popularity or a love of money or an obsession with perfect health. Or maybe it's something even darker, like an unhealthy relationship that keeps you from freedom.

Another way of looking at this is as an entanglement. When Jesus first calls the disciples by the Sea of Galilee, the Gospels say the fishermen "dropped their nets," to follow him. Those nets are a great emblem for all that keeps us entangled in life.

Advent, when we prepare for the coming of Christ into our lives in a new way, is a good time to let go of those disordered attachments and to drop our nets.

Let it go. Leave it behind. Drop it.

You'll feel better.

We need to free ourselves to be open, so to be receptive to God, who is always present.

Art: Scene from Nights of Cabiria, Fellini, 1957.

The film is about a prostitute.  In the scene, Cabiria and Wanda (holding candle) join a procession to a shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Cabiria prays tearfully, “Madonna, help me to change my life.”  Then the next day, “We’re all the same as before.”

Sometimes it is difficult to disentangle our lives, sometimes we return to pick up where we left off.  The point is, we keep trying.  At each attempt we open ourselves to God - and he rushes in, and we, little by little become receptive to his presence, to his grace.  Without these attempts, these openings, these little responses of ours, we only close ourselves off.  So if we go one night to beg the Madonna, 'help me to change my life' and yet the next day we think, 'I'm the same as before' - don't give up. 

It is not true.  The Madonna hears those prayers and obtains the grace to change our life.  Maybe not always right away, but she enkindles a little flame which brings us back to keep asking, until, little by little, we are ready to walk away free, un-entangled by disordered attachment.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Just for fun! Fr. Z commemorates Archbishop Annibale Bugnini and the Novus Ordo and ...

Sacrosanctum Concilium or, Sanctimonious irreconcilable differences.

Just kidding.  The Novus Ordo is the Mass - but some people don't see it that way.  Fr. Z posts photos here which may explain why.

That said, the Novus Ordo, aka Ordinary Form of Mass is still the Mass.  It's the Mass all the popes since Vatican II have celebrated.  It's the Ordinary Form for the Latin Rite. 


Spiritual warfare.

Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them.

A friend sent a comment regarding spiritual warfare this morning, mentioning that much of the writing these days - not unlike this month's article in Vanity Fair - are 'darkness' not 'light'.  My friend suggested Christians should be encouraged as they recognize the inconsistencies and errors in these things, because they affirm the teachings of Christ.

Everything exposed by the light becomes visible.

I agreed.  When I look back over the years, I see how the teaching of Christ always became most clear to me when the greatest evil around me was unmasked.   St. Paul sums it up here:
 Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.  So do not be associated with them.  For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.  Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them,  for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible ... - Ephesians 5
Elsewhere, St. Paul asks:
What fellowship does light have with darkness? - 2 Corinthians 14
These lessons have been learned the hard way - through falling and rising - and more importantly, through rejection.

It is good to be rejected.  It is a grace.

Vanity Fair - Christmas Issue: The Vatican's Secret Life

Just about everything you have ever read about gays in the Vatican is compiled in this article.

Even the accusations against Pope Paul VI.  I dislike the tone of how the accusation is treated in the article, but I do recall the situation clearly. 
The Catholic priesthood’s contemporary gay cultural memory begins in the middle of the last century. When Paul VI assumed the throne, in 1963, by one account he took his papal name not from any predecessor but from a former lover, a film actor. That at least was the contention of the provocative gay French writer Roger Peyrefitte, whose 1976 allegations about Paul VI caused such a stir that Paul took to the balcony of St. Peter’s to denounce the “horrible and slanderous” accusations. - VF
The author writes "Paul looked a laughingstock".  I never thought so at all.  I admired his courage in denouncing such outrageous lies.  It was one of the many sufferings Pope Paul endured - even from those closest to him.

“Rumors are O.K., but not scandal”

The article perpetuates centuries of rumors - many of which may be documented and credible, yet without effect upon Catholic moral theology - in other words,  homosexual behavior never got approved.   I also think the historical accounts demonstrate there never was, nor is there now, a desire on the part of gay clergy to pursue any type of approval for homosexual acts or change in moral teaching, nor to establish any sort of gay culture as we experience it in secular society today.  It seems to me it was mostly about lust.
Tales of gays in the Vatican have been told for more than a thousand years. Pope John XII, who reigned from 955 to 964, was accused of having sex with men and boys and turning the papal palace “into a whorehouse.” While trying to persuade a cobbler’s apprentice to have sex with him, Pope Boniface VIII, who reigned from 1294 to 1303, was said to have assured the boy that two men having sex was “no more a sin than rubbing your hands together.” After Paul II, who reigned from 1464 to 1471, died of a heart attack—while in flagrante delicto with a page, according to one rumor—he was succeeded by Sixtus IV, who kept a nephew as his lover (and made the nephew a cardinal at age 17). Some such stories are better substantiated than others. Even while their reliability is questionable, they demonstrate that playing the gay card (even if you yourself are gay) is an ancient Curial tactic. “There are closeted gay priests who are vipers,” observes the theologian Mark D. Jordan, the author of The Silence of Sodom: Homosexuality in Modern Catholicism. “They are really poisonous people, and they work out their own inner demonology by getting into positions in power and exercising it” against other gay men, women, and anyone whom they perceive to be a threat. “Alongside that are suffering priests who seem sincere all the way down, who are trying to be faithful to God, and also to take care of people and change the institution. They are the ones who are always forgotten, and read out of the story from both sides.” - VF
"They may not act as a collective but are aware of one another’s existence."

The Vanity Fair piece is pretty much based on gossip and hear say - I'm not saying it isn't true - it seems fairly impossible to verify however.  Anyone who has ever been in a seminary or monastery, or who has spent a lot of time around clergy, or who has spent any time in Rome, might know the stories are true.  Gaydar is real.
One gay former priest, who still lives in Rome, describes clerical camp as “a natural way of expressing [gay identity] while celibate.” Socially, he says, it is “a key that unlocks a further element of trust.” There’s nothing earth-shattering about this—it’s what every institution does—but “the Church has a lot more experience and practice at protecting itself. As far as that goes,” he says, with a nod to Cole Porter, “they’re the tops.”
Where silence can’t strictly be kept, word games can compartmentalize the truth. In the Vatican office of a monsignor who I’d been told might have some firsthand knowledge concerning recent gay scandals in the Church, I asked, point-blank, “Are you gay?,” and he serenely answered, “No.” I replied, “I wonder, if a priest is homosexual—but does not participate in mainstream secular gay culture—could he say that he is not ‘gay’ and still think he’s telling the truth?” “What an interesting question,” the monsignor said, immediately standing up and gesturing me to the door. “I’m afraid I don’t have any more time to talk.” - VF

I knew that.

Post script:  The Vanity Fair piece - true, partly true, or not true - is a smear piece.  It is 'bar talk', gay-cocktail-party talk.  The major give-away is the vulgar speculation regarding Pope Benedict and Ganswein.  That's simply evil.  Gay priests and seminarians have always used 'drag names' for other clergy they do not like.  Likewise, 'functionaries' in Rome thrive on gossip.  Once again I'm sorry I posted this - but just remember, gays will be gays and history demonstrates that they come and go, much like the plague.


The Vatican’s Secret Life - Michael Joseph Gross


Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Prayers needed: Syrian rebels - al Qaeda - abduct Syrian nuns from Mar Takla Convent

This is another horrible situation.
DAMASCUS, Syria — The head of a convent accused opposition fighters Tuesday of abducting 12 nuns from a predominantly Christian village near the capital that was overrun by rebels, and Syria's Greek Orthodox patriarch appealed for their quick release. 
Mother Superior Febronia Nabhan, head of nearby Saidnaya Convent, said the nuns and three other women were taken the day before from the village of Maaloula to the nearby rebel-held town of Yabroud, which also has a large Christian population.
Greek Orthodox Patriarch John Yazigi called for the release of the Maaloula nuns. "We appeal to the seed of conscience that God planted in all humans, including the kidnappers, to release our sisters safely," Yazigi said in a statement issued Tuesday. 
"We call upon the international community and world governments to (help secure the) release the nuns of Mar Takla Convent and the orphans who are being held since yesterday," he added. - Source

Pray.  Especially pray to The Blessed Virgin and St. Nicholas, the Wonderworker.

Fresco of St. Nicholas saving the Three Maidens from Decani Monastery
You revealed yourself, O saint, in Myra as priest, / For you fulfilled the Gospel of Christ / By giving up your soul for your people, / And saving the innocent from death. / Therefore you are blessed as one become wise in the grace of God.
Deliver your daughters from all violation, save the innocent from death.

H/T Ora et labora blog

Monday, December 02, 2013

I'm at the car dealership...

If I was on Twitter that would be tweet...

So this will be random.  Guess what?  Traditional religion sites are blocked on this system.  I'm at Honda in Richfield/Bloomington.  What that means is that I can't check Catholic news sites or people like Fr. Z.  I can get into my own site - but that is because I'm a Catholic who blogs - evidently my blog isn't categorized as a Catholic blog.

What does that mean?

I'll tell you what it means - all the Catholic sites are blocked so there are people not getting all your evangelization materials and religious fight club posts.  It means my posts do get through, because I am not a bigot like the rest of you.  What?  I'm kidding.

So anyway - I'm waiting for my tune up Mr. Honda.  I intended to blog while here, but if I can't access bigoted sites, how can I write what I intended to write?  I don't think I can load pictures either - oh wait, I can - not that they will make any sense.

I should do a list for something.

It is supposed to snow this week.

What should I write about?

I'm hungry.

My cat loves me.  She didn't come to the dealership today, but otherwise she goes with me everywhere.  In the house I mean.  She tucks me into bed at night, wakes me in the morning, goes to the bathroom with me, she sits with me all day when I paint or pray - she loves the rosary said out loud.  I never had a cat so attached to me.

Wasn't that interesting?

Let's see... what else?

I'm hungry.

Oh!  Oh!  This morning I ended up on a sedevacantist site.  I was searching for pictures depicting attributes of Our Lady from the Litany and I came across the site.  I was so impressed with the images and the commentary.  I intended to post about it until I noted they had a post on Francis as the anti-pope.  I think some Catholics could fall for that nonsense.  Creepy.

This key board is really dirty.  I wonder what is on it?  What if I contract a disease and die?

I'm hungry.

He's over there!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Escudos de monjas: Nun's shields and crowned nuns.

Escudo de Monja

Spanish colonial art is my favorite religious art - even the folksy Santa Fe style.  Icons were piously correct for me to paint and venerate when I was younger, but Spanish devotional art was not at all in favor.  Icons were preferred, while the Catholic Baroque was considered pre-Vatican II.  Which may be one reason why it is so desired by secular collectors these days.

Anyway - in preparation for the feasts of Our Lady: The Immaculate Conception, Guadalupe, and Loreto, I found a scrap of copper to paint my version of an escudos des monjas, depicting the Virgin of the Apocalypse.  It is such a small painting and I do not see very well at all - even using magnifying glasses.  I'm using acrylic on copper and I need to be careful to avoid any glaze build up as I paint.  The work isn't as refined as I'd like, although it is a wonderful meditation.  The Immaculate Conception is all joy to ponder over... Mary of Agreda called her the mystical City of God, didn't she?  As did St. Louis de Montfort, "The saints have said wonderful things of Mary, the holy City of God". Blessed are those found in Her.

So, for the first Sunday of Advent, I'll share a couple examples of these wonderful nun's badges - escudos de monjas.

Escudo with saints.

An early 20th century example
of a Conceptionist nun.
Note the rosary around neck.

Mass Chat: The Vatican Survey

Pastoral Challenges to the Family In the Context of Evangelization

The Vatican survey was distributed at Mass this weekend.  The introduction seems rather long, and the questions may seem complex for the average person.  The responses are supposed to be limited to so many words, although I'm sure some people will need to write essays in response to each topic, which makes me wonder who will review all those responses?  As it stands, it will mean a lot of reading and data.

It's fine if people want to do it.  It's nice the Vatican is interested. 

I think I'll pass.

Besides - the web site address on the handouts must be wrong - I can't pull up the document - I can get the Australian site, the U.K. site, as well as other parish sites - but not 'our' site.  Links to other interested parties sponsoring the survey also pop up:
This project is sponsored by the following members of Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR):
American Catholic Council
Call To Action
Federation of Christian Ministries/Roman Catholic Faith Community Council in the Church
New Ways Ministry
Roman Catholic Womenpriests
Southeastern Pennsylvania Women’s Ordination Conference
Voice of the Faithful
Women’s Ordination Conference

Co-sponsored by:
Catholic Church Reform
Fortunate Families
WATER: Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual 

I have my doubts as to how informative the survey results will be. 

I rejoiced when I heard them say ...

I rejoiced when I heard them say,
let us go to God's house.

Even now our feet are standing
within your gates O Jerusalem. - Psalm 122

I love this psalm so much.  It is the responsorial for the First Sunday of Advent.  For me it transcends time.  It signifies the great joy of entering the deepest recesses of our soul, into the house of God. 

Even now ... our feet are standing ...

A blessed Advent!