Saturday, June 21, 2014
“Those who in their lives have taken this evil road, this road of evil, such as the mobsters, they are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated.” Pope Francis in Calabria
Today's Gospel: No one can serve two masters, you will either hate one and love the other ...
Or be devoted to one and despise the other. [Matthew 6: 24-34] I was thinking of that in relation to my post the other day about following our attractions. It's very simple to understand that we are tempted by our desires - we cherish an affection for this or that in our heart, and when the inclination or some opportunity presents itself to satisfy that affection, we follow it. We secretly 'love' what is pleasurable, albeit disordered - preferring it to a greater good, and thereby despising that good. It's not just with sins of the flesh that we do this, either.
In this Gospel, Christ is kind of talking about - the economy.
The Pope has been talking about it too. Americans don't like that. In fact I'll bet a lot of Catholics don't like that. We prefer our economics and despise the economics of the Gospel - even though we praise our economics as a solution to the world's woes.
So what is Our Lord saying about the economy and salvation? He is saying not to put our trust in mammon, not to serve the economy, but to trust in God, to serve God.
Today I also read a post on Mark Shea's blog. People don't like Mark. They don't like the Pope talking about the economy either. When you read the post - and the comments in response, you might understand what I'm talking about. I like Mark Shea.
"Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides."
Works for me.
"In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.” - Luke 14: 25-33
I have to start selling off my possessions.
Friday, June 20, 2014
Thursday, June 19, 2014
What is disinterested friendship?
When addressing the issue of homosexual persons and the call to chastity, the Catechism states:
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. - CCCMany people take the words of the catechism and interpret them to suit their lifestyle or practice of chastity as they themselves understand it. In other words, disinterested can sometimes mean whatever one wants it to mean. (This may explain why so many people do not really trust 'gay-pride Catholics'.)
I've been thinking about how I would explain what disinterested means when it comes to spiritual friendship. It seems to me disinterested may best be defined as dispassionate - without passion. It's something monastics strive for and has a correlation to the ordinary spiritual work involved in the observance of chastity, or purity of heart. It is obtained by vigilance. The Christian who is called to chastity is called to vigilance. Christ said to the disciples, "What I say to you I say to all: Watch." Be vigilant. Vigilance goes hand in hand with prayer, "Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation." Prayer makes us attentive - vigilant. Vigilance keeps custody of the heart. (Which is why the work of organizations such as Courage is so good for persons struggling with same sex attraction, because Courage offers a support or framework as a means to sanctity.)
In the spiritual life an attraction might be considered the first movement towards sin, a first response as it were to temptation. It's connected with concupiscence. There is no sin committed when one hasn't willed or consented to the movement. (I'm not talking about ordinary attraction, but rather sexual/erotic/passionate attraction.) The attraction is repulsed by vigilance - as long as one does not cultivate an affection for the 'attraction' or entertain it - he remains vigilant. However, if we follow the attraction, our passions can be aroused and we become more or less dependent or attached to the joy or pleasure the attraction stimulates. When we allow or cultivate inordinate affection and/or disordered attraction in our heart, we are easily defeated and become encumbered by the inclination to sin which clings to us.
Vigilance opposes the very beginnings of sin. It is obtained gradually, not by anxious, care-filled watching [Luke 17:20] but by long continued practice, prayer, the sacraments, sometimes falling and rising through frequent confession, until we know our own propensity to sin and humbly rely totally upon God's mercy. On the other hand, when we compromise our faith and make provisions for our passions:
"Our fall is aggravated, sealed and becomes our own permanent property, a permanent pledge of eternal perdition through following our fallen will and the will of demons." - St. Ignatius Brianchaninov
Disinterested equals dispassionate.
Enkindle in our hearts a deep love and reverence
for your Holy Name, that filled with confidence
in its saving power, we will be courageous
in breaking with every sinful affection
and unlawful attachment. Amen
- Prayer for 4th day of Novena to the Infant Jesus
Young Joey Lomangino and St. Pio
I just read Joey Lomangino died.
I met him when I lived as a pilgrim, in Portugal. He was devoted to Our Lady and believed in the apparitions of Garabandal. I visited Garabandal the year I met Joey - though we met at Fatima. Please pray with me for him. He was a very kind man.
Joey was included in the message of Garabandal. He was promised that he would live to see the miracle, that his eyesight would be restored. He in turn was a great promoter of the apparitions. The 'style' of the apparitions was unusual due to the signs demonstrated there, although for me they resembled the phenomenon of Medjugorje. Medjugorje grabbed public attention and attracted a greater following of course - but I think that happened because of its appeal to Charismatic Catholics. Garabandal tended to be accepted by more traditionally minded Catholics. Each is promoted as a continuation of Fatima, each promises a sort of warning and sign to be left, and so on.
Mr. Lomangino spread devotion to Our Lady and did much good in his life. He also lived in anticipation of the promised miracle and sign, hoping for a cure - but I doubt his devotion was limited to those promises. It is said St. Pio was told he would see the miracle before death as well. Rumor has it he saw it in a vision before he died. We don't know these things.
It is fine to believe in such phenomena, if they help inspire and perfect our faith - but we have to be so wary of taking private revelations literally and at face value - God's ways are not our ways and we must await the Church's decision regarding the authenticity of such events - or at least a decision that the messages are not contrary to faith. If these things bring about reformation of life and devotion - fidelity to Catholic faith - they have accomplished a great deal.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
One of the more troubling images from Garabandal.
Two of the seers in ecstasy.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
"The injuries were described as minor,
but honey, I sho ain't playin' 'lectric piano, no mo!"
"It changed everything!"
'They have abandoned me, the font of living water, and dug for themselves leaky cisterns that cannot hold water.' [Jer. 2:13]
Monsignor Pope writes well about the capital sin of greed, or avarice. He covers it. Of course, commenters disagree with him. We don't like to consider that we, ourselves, may be - probably are - infected with such a tendency...
Too few of us are willing to consider that greed is really a problem we can have. Greed is always something that other guy has.
Of course it doesn’t help that we live in a culture of consumption, which constantly tells us we don’t have enough. The car we’re driving isn’t as good as this other car we could be driving (according to the commercial). And so even though we have a perfectly good car: one that has four wheels, a working engine, and probably even air-conditioning, it still it isn’t good enough, and we are actually drawn to feeling deprived by the clever marketing experts of Madison Avenue. So it is with almost every other product or amenity that is sold to us on a daily basis. Therefore it almost never occurs to most of us that we may have crossed the line somewhere into greed. Despite having even six- and seven-figure incomes, many still feel deprived.
Once again, it’s the other guy that’s greedy; I’m not. It’s a problem that those nasty rich and powerful people have. Never mind that I’m pretty darned rich myself, living in a home with running water, air conditioning, and amenities like granite counter tops and widescreen TVs.
But when do I honestly look at myself and wonder if I am greedy? When do I ever conclude, on a very personal level, that I have more than enough and that I need to be a lot more generous with what has become excessive in my life? When do I ever apply the old precept that if I have two coats, one of them belongs to the poor? And yes, I understand that it’s good to have something laid up for a rainy day. But when do I ever ask myself if I’m really trusting in God, or just trusting in my rainy day fund? When do I ever wonder if I’ve crossed the line?
I realize that some of you who read this post will find it disturbing. Let me assure you, so do I. These are uncomfortable questions. - Monsignor Pope
This vice has been on mind recently. I often think of the Gospel passage, "Avoid greed in all of its forms." There are many forms of greed, many motives, many expressions - which may explain, in part, why it is so difficult to detect in ourselves.
This morning, the prayer from the monthly novena to the Infant Jesus touches upon it:
O Little King, attraction of all hearts, we hail that blessed hour and moment in which you were born of the most pure Virgin Mary in the poverty of Bethlehem. You did not need earthly pomp or riches, for they could add nothing to your Infinite Majesty. Teach us that true riches are within and that it is not what we have but what we are that counts. Amen.Maybe that has little to do with what Monsignor wrote - but like I said, I've been thinking about this a lot.
Some of those thoughts ...
- Bloggers can be greedy for stats and followers, praise and affirmation.
- Some bloggers who accept donations can up their donation quotas as donations increase. Enough is never enough.
- Some people online, poor though they may be, flaunt their education, academic degrees, and expertise - which are a form of riches. They are greedy for the recognition they believe these gifts deserve.
- Michael Voris recently came out with a video advising Catholics not to give their hard earned dollars to the Church, suggesting it is like giving money to an alcoholic. Though I understand what he is saying, especially in light of church closings and selling off church goods - more often than not, such churches built and appointed on the back of the working-immigrant poor; and considering dubious charitable contributions by the USCCB, as well as money spent on legal issues connected to the sexual abuse crises. I get it. Nevertheless, the emphasis is on money. Voris and his network do fundraising as well. In this recent contest, the emphasis is placed on money. It appears to always come down to money - which is obviously something highly esteemed by all.
Show me the money.
Then there is the Acton Institute. I have difficulty understanding priest involvement in the Institute. I have difficulty understanding why someone who lives on the kindness of strangers, a sort of gyrovague priest, would take such an active interest in the world of finance? Especially after a comment like this:
They all take donations - they all live on someone else's money. And they keep asking for more.
"Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God."
Historically, the Popes have addressed economic issues, Pope Francis is no different. Cardinal Dolan recently stepped into the conversation as well - pretty much to soften the effect of what the Pope says upon Americans. I'm just not sure Cardinal Dolan is on the same page as the Holy Father.
"The Pope's critiques have direct relevance to economic inequality and injustice that clearly exist in the United States today," says Jesuit Fr. David Hollenbach, professor of human rights and international justice at Boston College. The cardinal "needs to reflect on the extraordinary growth of inequality of income and wealth in the United States when he suggests that Pope Francis' criticisms of capitalism do not apply in this country."
"Cardinal Dolan misses what Pope Francis sees so clearly," Father Christiansen says. "The growth of inequality everywhere including the U.S. is a result of American-style capitalism and the financialization of the economy." He continues:
Stagnation in wage growth and the trickle-up economy has shrunk the U.S. middle class and hollowed out the economic power of those who remain in it. Pope Francis understands this when he links addressing poverty to reversing inequality.
For generations, Catholic social teaching has understood and taught that improving the condition of the poor means holding inequality in check. Thanks be to God, that Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have underscored that teaching in the most emphatic ways.
Unfortunately, too many well-to-do Catholics prefer getting their economic ethics from the Acton Institute rather than the Vatican. - NCR
All of our works are tainted by avarice.
Greed is a deadly sin - it eats away the soul. It places conditions upon charity and marginalizes those most in need.
Avoid greed in all of its forms.
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
Song for this post here.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Fr. Joseph Terra
When I first read the unfortunate story of the murder of Fr. Kenneth Walter, FSSP, I immediately thought of the many posts Fr. Z has done on a priest's right to self-defense, gun ownership, shooting practice and training, as well as his support of conceal and carry, due to the increase of violent crime - especially on such soft targets as churches and rectories.
If only he had a gun.
That was my next thought. It turns out that Fr. Joseph Terra did have a gun, which he kept by his bedside, when he went to retrieve it, he was too badly beaten to use it, the criminal grabbed the gun and then used it on Fr. Walker.
The attacker managed to take the gun from Terra, made the priest get on his hands and knees and give him money, and then used Terra's gun to shoot Father Walker, who had come to investigate the commotion, police said. - Story here.
It's a tragic situation.
Anti-gun advocates often claim that is what happens - the homeowners gun is often used against them. Pro-gun advocates reject that notion and point to stats which claim the guns, though rarely fired, act as a deterrent to would be criminals and home invaders.
Then of course there are those who think a priest shouldn't be armed.
Fr. Walker was not armed of course. Fr. Terra was, but apparently too disabled to use it.
Now for something about how the story gets reported.
Media seems to be struggling with how to cover the story when it comes to identifying the priests of the FSSP. They describe them as if they are some sort of hybrid of Catholicism. I wonder if this contributes to, or is in any way related to how ordinary Catholics regard the Extraordinary Form of Mass? I'll post a couple of examples:
Terra and Walker's conservative order, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, was created in 1988 in response to Vatican II reforms in the 1960s that modernized the Church, with the fraternity's priests preferring to perform Mass in its “extraordinary form” -- that is, in Latin. Emphasis is placed on personal sacrifice in order to be closer to God.
During Monday's ceremony, priests spoke Latin, faced the altar rather than the congregation, and women wore mantillas, lace veils that were popular before Vatican II's reforms, when women were required to have their heads covered. - Story
I don't really expect secular media to get religious stuff right, but chances are this story was written by someone familiar with post-Vatican II Catholicism.
I think a huge problem is the ongoing 'separatist' movement regarding liturgy - ordinary form vs. extraordinary form, Latin vs vernacular and so on. The FSSP and traditional Catholics are not another branch/sect of Catholicism - they are Catholics. The FSSP was not created as a response or reaction to Vatican II. The Extraordinary Form is not necessarily a 'preference'. The priest doesn't face the altar, away from the people - he faces ad orientem, towards the East, towards God, if you will. It is a priestly stance - leading the people in prayer and worship, offering the Holy Sacrifice.
It seems to me these peculiar misrepresentations contribute to the confusion, divisiveness and polarization among Catholics. We do not have two branches of Catholicism.
O God, Who didst give to thy servant, Kenneth, by his sacerdotal office, a share in the priesthood of the Apostles, grant, we implore, that he may also be one of their company forever in Heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Requiem Aeternam dona ei, Domine.
Et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Requiescat in pace.
Monday, June 16, 2014
Title unknown. Amy Hill
Woman with headphones. Amy Hill
Title unknown. David Lloyd
Something David Lloyd said about his work ...
“During the painting process I try to stay dumb. I try not to listen to my head. I don’t want to make clever, cerebral, issue-based images. I want to listen to my heart. This isn’t an anti-intellectual position exactly, it’s just that I’m not particularly intelligent or sophisticated, so any attempts to make ‘conceptual’ work would be obvious and banal.
I’m suspicious of any artist who claims to be the final authority on his/her work. An artist who thinks he/she is ultimately in control of what he or she makes is working under an illusion. The most interesting part of what any artist does, is done without conscious control." - David Lloyd
Jean Paul Sartre was sitting at a French cafe, revising his draft of Being and Nothingness. He says to the waitress, "Un café, s'il vous plaît, no cream." The waitress replied, "Pardon Monsieur, we are out of cream, how about with no milk." - Geek Jokes
Oh how I laughed!
I really did.
It's really a dumb joke, isn't it. However, if Sartre didn't want cream he would have known to simply order "un cafe". Although if he was drunk, he might have ordered "Un café crème - but no crème." Then mademoiselle might have replied, "No crème? Then no lait either."
I know, I know - it should have read, "Un café crème, sans crème".
A year ago Pelosi stated:
"I’ve been in this crusade for a long time.
And to see the pace with which it has accelerated
in the past few years is very encouraging." - Source
"Excommunication is medicinal rather than a vindictive penalty, being intended, not so much to punish the culprit, as to correct him and bring him back to the path of righteousness." - Source
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took the lead in a high-profile lobbying effort to pressure San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone not to attend the controversial March for Marriage event, which she characterized as "venom masquerading as virtue." - Story here.
Really? Talk about masquerading virtue.
+ + +
"If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians." - CDF
Sunday, June 15, 2014
One Word the Father spoke ... in eternal Silence.
I think the mystics are the only ones who can help us understand this sacred mystery of the Holy Trinity - yet no words, no literary form, can actually reveal the mystery.
No analogy, not one metaphor can adequately define It.
No artist can depict It - no orchestrated sound express It.
If you stay a long time after communion, or prolong your prayer, you can ... enter into It ...
The mystics are the ones who can and do speak about It...
From St. John of the Cross:
There is but one difficulty: Even though He does abide within you, He is hidden. Nevertheless is it is vital for you to know the place of His hiding that you may search for Him there with assuredness.
Oh then soul, most beautiful among all creatures, so anxious to know the dwelling place of your Beloved ... you yourself are His dwelling and His secret chamber and hiding place!