Saturday, June 14, 2014

War? Where is your victory?

Last week we celebrated D-Day, and the courageous men who sacrificed their lives to liberate Europe from Nazi rule and Nazi atrocities ...  atrocities which have become socially acceptable and legal in several countries in our day.  Selective abortion and euthanasia - the signature of the Nazi eugenicists - has become commonplace in our culture of death.

Do we send our troops to die in vain?  As some sort of bloody sacrifice of life and limb to ... to what?  What kind of god demands war?

We left a devastated Vietnam and the South Vietnamese people to the mercy of the Communists.  Ideological systems are incapable of mercy.  To our shame, most of the soldiers returned home to contempt and jeers - ignored and abandoned.

Today the sacrifice of thousands of soldiers, the dead and irreparably wounded - seems to be accounted as nothing.  ISIS is conquering Iraq and declaring victory over America, our men died in vain.  We talk and lament and celebrate victories - and cover defeat with praise for the heroism of our soldiers - at what cost?  We went to war under false pretenses, destroyed a people, a country, and then pulled out as fast as we could because politicians sought praise and honor as peace-makers.  We abandoned a broken nation, leaving a poorly trained, non-committed, indigenous military, in a devastated, dysfunctional country - unable to function as a democracy.

What does it profit a nation to gain the whole world yet lose its soul in the process.

Show thyself a Mother ...

Hail Star of the Sea

Hail, thou Star of ocean,
Portal of the sky !
Ever Virgin Mother
Of the Lord most high !

Oh ! by Gabriel's Ave,
Uttered long ago,
Eva's name reversing,
Stablish peace below.

Break the captive's fetters ;
Light on blindness pour ;
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore.

Show thyself a Mother ;
Offer Him our sighs,
Who for us Incarnate
Did not thee despise.

Virgin of all virgins !
To thy shelter take us :
Gentlest of the gentle !
Chaste and gentle make us.

Still, as on we journey,
Help our weak endeavor ;
Till with thee and Jesus
We rejoice forever.

Through the highest heaven,
To the Almighty Three,
Father, Son, and Spirit,
One same glory be. Amen.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Who's Really Hijacking Father's Day?

Don't be bitter Poodle.

(Don't they kinda look like Sheldon and Howard from Big Bang Theory?)

Former model Olalla Oliveros ... and religious order fashions.

Olalla Oliveros.  Make-up did a lot.  I recall an article
concerning her conversion at Fatima when she said she was
thinking of becoming a nun - I can't find the piece right now.

Keep it simple and stay off television talent shows after final vows.

Somewhere - I think it may have been in Seven Story Mountain that Thomas Merton wrote that one of his greatest penances was living with men devoid of any taste.  That's not an exact quote, but it captures the sentiment.  Look around at any ordinary parish - check out the environment, the vestments, the women religious in capri pants and t-shirts.

Even new religious communities, though more traditional, demonstrate a surprising lack of aesthetic sensibility - especially when it comes to the design and coloration of religious habits.  Olalla Oliveros' community of St. Michael the Archangel adopted a strange habit.  The coloration and insignia seems a bit Disney to me.  The male branch of the order wears the same habit.

To each his own.  I expect there must be some spiritual significance to the variety, but plain, no color strikes me as the best and most modest choice for religious - but who am I to judge?  I've always said I could never be a priest or religious because I never liked the clothes.  Perhaps today Olalla Oloveros' greatest penance is the clothes.

Just for fun, a few unusual habits for view... (I'll update as I come across more.)

Not so bad - the blue is kind of intense though.

A little blueish.

North American classic.


Making Reparation for Blasphemy

This time against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The story calling for reparation may be found here - with a petition intended for Facebook to remove content which is insulting to the Blessed Virgin and the Incarnation of Our Lord.

I will not post the details of such blasphemy against Our Lady, nor do I post images that offend the dignity of the Mother of God or Our Lord.  

Today marks the anniversary of the second apparition of Our Lady at Fatima in 1917.  It was in this apparition Our Lady revealed her Immaculate Heart surrounded by thorns which seemed to pierce it, Lucia explained the apparition saying:  "We understood that it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, insulted by the sins of humanity and which desires reparation."

As at every appearance Our Lady told the children: "Pray the rosary every day."

The Devotion of the Five First Saturdays is perhaps the chief form of reparation Heaven requested to make amends for such offenses, in addition to keeping the commandments, fidelity to the duty of one's state in life, and the daily recitation of the Rosary.  It seems to me the way of perfection is encompassed by ordering one's life accordingly.  Our Lady promised, "My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God."

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Did You See This Story? Beautiful Model Gives Up Flourishing Career To Become Nun ...

One priest killed, another critically wounded - not in Mosul but in Phoenix.

Fr. Z has the story and a word of advice here.

Rorate Caeli has more photos.

In this photo Fr. Walker looks like a kid - maybe an altar boy - but he is a priest.  He was killed in what appears to be a burglary.  May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace ...
28-year-old priest was shot and killed and another wounded at a Catholic church Wednesday night near the state Capitol, a Phoenix police spokesman said.
Police were responding to a burglary call shortly after 9 p.m. near 16th Avenue and Monroe Street at the Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy) Mission, Sgt. Steve Martos said.
The wounded priest is in critical condition at a local hospital, police said. Police said early Thursday morning that the surviving priest, a 56-year-old man, was “physically harmed” but not stabbed or shot.
The surviving priest called 911, police said. - Fr. Z

Fr. Z also has some good advice for fellow priests here.

Pray much for our priests and bishops.

The future is now...
“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel." - St. John Paul II

Prayers for Iraq.

Joy of All Who Sorrow

I read this last night.

“Since 2003, Iraq’s Christian community has suffered intense religious persecution on top of the effects of the conflict and, as a result, it’s shrunk by well over 50 percent,” Shea writes. “Mosul, the site of ancient Nineveh of the Assyrians, who converted to Christianity in the first century, has become the home of many Christians who remained. Considered by Christians the place of last resort inside Iraq, Mosul and the surrounding Nineveh Plain has been home to many Christian refugees driven out of Baghdad and Basra. Mosul has the only university, the best hospitals, and the largest markets serving the Christian towns and villages of the Nineveh Plain. The plain, itself, is now at grave risk of direct jihadi attacks and the possibility of being cut off from an essential city.

“Once upon a time, some of the Mosul Christians might have fled to Syria, but they now have few options,” Shea continues. “More will give up on the region altogether and join their relatives and former neighbors in Michigan, California, Sweden, and elsewhere in the West. The fall of Mosul is a serious blow for the Iraqi state, and the implications for Iraq’s Christian community are devastating.” - Aleteia

From the Akathist to the Most Holy Mother of God, Mother of the Chaldeans.

Kontakion 5: Having sighted the divinely-moving star, the Magi followed its radiance; and holding it as a lamp, by it they sought a powerful King; and having reached the Unreachable One, they rejoiced, shouting to Him: Alleluia!

Ekos 5: The sons of the Chaldees saw in the hands of the Virgin Him Who with His hand made man. And knowing Him to be the Master, even though He had taken the form of a servant, they hastened to serve Him with gifts, and to cry to Her Who is blessed:
Rejoice, Mother of the Unsetting Star:
Rejoice, dawn of the mystic day!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst extinguish the furnace of error:
Rejoice, Thou Who didst enlighten the initiates of the Trinity!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst banish from power the inhuman tyrant:
Rejoice, Thou Who didst show us Christ the Lord, the Lover of mankind!
Rejoice, Thou Who redeemest from pagan worship:
Rejoice, Thou Who dost drag us from the works of mire!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst quench the worship of fire:
Rejoice, Thou Who rescues from the flame of the passions!
Rejoice, guide of the faithful to chastity:
Rejoice, gladness of all generations!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!


The future is now.

"The final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel."

“We must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not-too-distant future; trials that will require us to be ready to give up even our lives, and a total gift of self to Christ and for Christ. Through your prayers and mine, it is possible to alleviate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it. . . .How many times has the renewal of the Church been brought about in blood! It will not be different this time.” – Bicentennial talk given in the United States by St. John Paul II, when Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Kraków, Poland

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

As long as you are down there - on your knees making reparation for sacrilege - get your rosaries out and pray for Iraq ...

... pray the rosary every day.

Iraq crisis: al-Qaeda forces seize Mosul and Tikrit.

Story here.

"We are fighting devils and not ordinary people!" - said a police captain who fled from Tikrit to Samarra. - Source

The Pope said something we might find helpful to consider during this resurgence of violent persecution in Iraq:

Describing the ensuing persecution of the Church as “a calamity,” the pope said: “It will appear to be the triumph of the prince of this world, the defeat of God. It will seem as though he has taken over the world [and become] master of the world.” As for the persecuted Christians, he added, they are “a prophetic sign of what will happen to everyone.” - OSV From a homily 11/28/13

The devil prowls about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Christians flee Mosul - others surrounded.  Story here.

"Where do those fights and quarrels among you come from?"

Self opinion and pride and vain rejoicing in spiritual and intellectual gifts.

The blogosphere and any online publication with comments has been a nasty place from the beginning.  Go back 8 years and move forward through the archives and all the best voices have had their share of spittle flecked nutties.  Some blogs specialized in the practice - even though the Cafeteria reopened and closed.  Report them to the bishop?  Go ahead.  I think bishops have bigger problems to deal with these days.  Pious - but bickering, meddlesome church ladies have always been a thorn in the side of parish and diocesan life - this is nothing new.

So.  What is the source of all the conflict?

I'll share some ideas from a Russian saint...

Worldly people and many living the religious life, through ignorance and inexperience, often praise as spiritual zeal something that stems from conceit and pride.  They extol this zeal as zeal for the faith, for piety, for the Church, for God.  It consists in a more or less harsh criticism and condemnation of one's neighbors in their moral faults, and in faults against decorum in church and the liturgical rites.  Deceived by a wrong conception of zeal, the imprudent think that by yielding themselves to it they are imitating the holy fathers and martyrs, forgetting that they, the zealots, are not saints but sinners themselves.

Whoever decides of his own self-will to convict his brother or make some reprimand, clearly reveals and proves that he considers himself more prudent and virtuous than the person he blames, and that he is acting at the instigation of passion and deception and diabolic thoughts.

Saint Poemen the Great relates that a certain monk, carried away by zeal, was subjected to the following temptation.  He saw another monk lying on a woman.  For a long time he wrestled with the thought that urged him to stop them from sinning.  At last he gave into the temptation and he gave them a kick with his foot.  Suddenly he realized that it was two sheaves of wheat lying one upon the other. - Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov


Where does this wicked zeal come from?  Self opinion, pride, presumption, vain-glory which is the same as conceit.  But how to discern it?

Bad zeal is always accompanied by anger - 'heating of the passions' and 'by the invasion of swarms of thoughts and fancies' - a rush to judgment.  Imaginings of all sorts of evil done or consequences to follow - of things that haven't even happened yet.  If our neighbor criticizes or is displeased with our zeal in correcting the errant, we harbor resentment or exert some sort of vengeful defense of ourselves in retribution to those who disagree or oppose us.  (Yes poodle - I've done it too.)  On the other hand, if our 'victim' accepts our rebuke, "if he submits, our heart is puffed up with vainglorious satisfaction, excitement, and an increase of pride and presumption."  We even can believe we have a mission from God - as a sort of gatekeeper, watchman, even a holy crusader in the spiritual combat.

We're all crackpots, Hon!

Saving the Catholic Internet ...

"What?  The Internet is Catholic?  Perhaps we need a new dicastery?"

From itself?

So anyway, one suggestion is to can the outrage before you end up like this poor guy - but a more workable solution may be to report offenders to your local bishop ...
If you think someone is doing something so damaging to the Catholic Faith that they need to be silenced, present your case before the Bishop. - Source
It appears to have worked out really well in the case of Fr. Justin Wylie.

"'Crackpot bloggers'?
Oh that is funny!  Tell them
we can't be bothered ...
unless donations are involved."

Monday, June 09, 2014

Another problem which may affect reverence for the Blessed Sacrament

Clericalizing the laity...

On Saturdays, before confession, I would watch the nuns cleaning, dressing the altar, placing flowers, and so on.  Whenever one of the sisters passed before the tabernacle she genuflected - no matter how often she passed, no matter how old she was.

Likewise, on Sundays, the community of School Sisters of Notre Dame sat right up front and were the first to receive Communion, kneeling at the rail, their hands under the communion cloth, receiving on the tongue, solemnly returning to their pew, they made a profound thanksgiving, their faces hidden by their coifs.  They weren't there to put on a show of piety - they really were pious.  It was their faith, their formation - their training, and their transmission of that training to school children, as well as their example at Mass that reinforced the set standard for the reception of Holy Communion.

Today, the nuns are gone.  Today we have lay EMHC's distributing the sacrament.  We have lay people doing the readings,  In some case we have women religious sharing in a sort of homily for Word an Communion 'service'.  We now have called and gifted people teaching RCIA.  We have lay people wandering about in active participation of some thing.  If there isn't a 'lector' to do the first reading - the priest calls for someone to come forward to fill in.  The same thing happens if he is short an Extraordinay Minister of Holy Communion.  Minister, lector - those aren't titles for lay men and women.  They are clerical titles.

A husband or wife who brings the sacrament to their spouse at home is not usually an EMHC, they simply have permission to carry the Blessed Sacrament, in a pyx, in a special circumstance.  It's a sacred commission no doubt.  But don't stop for breakfast on the way home - don't reserve the Blessed Sacrament in your home next to the television.

I wonder if we can be too casual about the practice of bringing Communion to the sick?  I wonder if we take daily Communion for granted?  Do we receive every day and then move onto the next exercise without thought?  Slap out neighbor on the back and say good morning on our way to back to our pew?  Do we fore go our thanksgiving to get downstairs for donuts and coffee - and in the case of those bringing Communion to the sick - chatting with the pyx in our pocket?

Are we too involved, too busy with our church jobs - our assigned apostolate, or active participation to be reverent?  To be mindful of the Real Presence?  Is it all about us?  Is that why we treat the Eucharist so casually?  As Bishop Schneider noted:
The real crisis of the Church is anthropocentrism and the forgetting of Christo-centrism... This is the deepest evil: man, or the clergy, putting themselves in the centre when they are celebrating liturgy and when they change the revealed truth of God. - Bishop Schneider
The Pope said something about clericalizing the laity that I think may relate to what Bishop Schneider pointed out:

“Some bishops and priests are drawn by the temptation to clericalise the laity, but there are also many lay people who get down on their knees and ask to be clericalised: it is a two-way sin... a lay person has the strength that comes from baptism and his lay vocation is not negotiable.” - Pope Francis

I think familiarity breeds irreverence and indifference.  (I know people want to chime in with Communion in the hand - but think beyond that - what led to it?  Think - comments are closed so you can.)

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church 
could teach us much about reverence for the Eucharist.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Song for this post ...

And the consecrated hosts were scattered across the floor and defiled.

O my God.  Oh my God!  I am heartily sorry.  For having offended Thee, my God, who art all good, and deserving of all my love ... O my God!

Return to your early love ...

And the consecrated hosts were scattered across the floor and defiled.


May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, 
most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God 
be always praised, blessed, loved, adored 
and glorified in Heaven, on earth,
and under the earth,
by all the creatures of God,
and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.