Saturday, August 09, 2014

"Words cannot save us now, only the Passion of Christ..." - Edith Stein

"The Bush administration was 
very naïve about the consequences of war."

The story here.

Three days later ... Nagasaki

Three days after Hiroshima was incinerated, Nagasaki.

Every time I see the photo of the Japanese temple arch at Nagasaki I'm reminded of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, and the first 'capela' erected by the Carreira family to mark the spot of the apparitions.

Arch at Fatima.

Remains of statue of Our Lady after the bombing.

Pontifical Mass at Nagasaki, 1949.
destroyed Catholic cathedral.


Pray the rosary every day.
Penance, penance, penance.

"The penance which God now asks is this: the sacrifice which each person has to impose upon himself in order to lead a life of justice in the observance of his law. He wishes this way to be made known to souls with clearness, for many consider the word 'penance' to be great austerities, and not feeling the strength or generosity for such, become discouraged and remain in a life of tepidity and sin." - Sr. Lucia

Statue of Our Lady at Mozul, Iraq

Edith Stein - St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce

Rosa and Edith Stein.

"Words cannot save us now, only the Passion of Christ..." - Edith Stein

My other favorite quote:
"In aridity and emptiness the soul becomes humble. Former pride disappears when a man no longer finds in himself anything that might cause him to look down on others." - Science of the Cross 

Here's what I think.

What many of us seem to lack - besides charity and patient endurance - is an understanding of the cross, the intersection of authentic Christianity - where justice and peace embrace, mercy and truth kiss.  Imagine Edith Stein screaming at the Jews in the camps that they must convert or else they will be damned, or that they brought such a fate upon themselves - rather she suffered with them as a Jew, walked in peace through the midst of the Nazi exterminators, sharing in that shame Christ endured - united with Him - and them.

Friday, August 08, 2014


What was “most gut-wrenching” was to then catch sight of the remnants of the belongings of families who had lived in those destroyed houses sticking out of the rubble, such as “an article of clothing, a house plant or a child’s backpack.”  Another shocking thing was “the strong smell of death” in those neighbourhoods, probably mostly from dead or abandoned animals.  - Vatican Radio


It keeps happening.*

Santo Niño de la Pasión,
Have mercy upon us!

*File photo of Gaza child in death.

Nineveh is destroyed ...

 The Syro-Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul 
confirmed the destruction by militants of 
“The Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant” 
terrorist organization of a number of 
Christian shrines of the city.

Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. - Revelation 2:7

From today's first reading at Mass.
“Nineveh is destroyed; who can pity her?
Where can one find any to console her?”
The Gospel.
Jesus said to his disciples,“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,take up his cross, and follow me.For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.What profit would there be for one to gain the whole worldand forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life? 

Often the sacred words of the daily readings at Mass seem to have a particularly prophetic effect for me.

The complete Mass readings may be found here.

UPDATE:  Frank Weathers noticed the parallels as well.  Check it out here.

Happy feast of St. Dominic.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Did you know? Jackie Parkes is back writing?

Yes she is.  Her latest blog here.

Another terrific interview from Sean Salai, SJ, who served as an intern at America this summer: with one of the world's great spiritual masters:

I fear that, at times, the anonymity offered by the internet
 is a serious occasion of sin for some people. 
We will also always have cowards with us, 
who hide behind false names and say nasty things. - Fr. Z

Fr. Z!

I know!

I recall some bloggers and commenters condemning me for simply linking to America Magazine in my sidebar.  Now Fr. Z has granted an interview.  This is bigger than Pope Francis!  (JK)

Anyway - it's a good interview.  Fr. Z comes off quite well.  I'm so happy for him.  It explains his raison d'être - online, that is.
Question: Do you expect to continue blogging after you finish your doctoral dissertation and go back to full-time ministry?
 Work in the blogosphere is ministry. 
Will I keep going?  You bet.  I’m but one little priest.  My blog is my force multiplier. 

Father also had some nice things to say about Pope Francis.   Perhaps the Holy Father will give him a call?

Read the interview here.

Sincere congratulations Fr. Zuhlsdorf.

I want to thank the Academy!

My completely mental misadventures...

I am thrilled with what can only be interpreted as an honorable mention on another Catholic blog!

Everyone who reads me knows I've always tried to eschew honors.  Close friends know I've rejected invites to join blogomerates, contribute articles to the NCR, go on speaking engagements, as well as nominations on blogger award projects - including the awards - never even posting the little labels one used to get, and so on.  Likewise, except for a couple of breaking news stories, I have always tended to ignore news portals which picked up an occasional post of mine to feature.  Neither have I posted a resume or bibliography of such syndication.  It's not humility - really.  Honestly, I'm more embarrassed that someone might mistake something I wrote as important - I'm not very smart.

The proof that my reticence is not humility is in the fact I do not allow anonymous comments which may be inhospitable or negative towards 'me self'.  Of course I really do dislike flattery, because I'm easily deceived by it and become very proud of myself.  Again, that's not humility either - because when I fall, I am so upset and ashamed of myself and embarrassed, whereas the humble man rejoices in being found out and exposed to shame.

Today is different - 'the fool lifts up his head in laughter'.  As I said, I was given 'honorable mention' on another blog - written by a very intelligent man - by another obviously sophisticated and scholarly gentleman.  I was so amused and taken with the attention that I had to share this honor - no more false modesty from me.  I will no longer tolerate it in myself.  No.  No.  No.

Without further ado...

From a post entitled: Possessed by the devil:
drprice2 says:

Rate This
Abbey Roads invariably reminds me of this:

I'm not worthy!

No one has ever done this for me before - ever.  I can't recall ever being honored with a film clip before.  Of course, I was honored once by David L. Gray - but after complaint (see, toldya I'm not humble) he removed the slander.

I never knew people discussed me off-site - off my blog.

People still notice me!  They still pay attention to me!  I'm not a washed up old blogger!

Life is beautiful!

Every time I think I'll quit blogging, someone goes and does something like this.  In fact the comment in response to the video clip was equally as nice:
Branch says:

Rate This
Indeed, Dale. And I’m all but certain Abbey Roads would consider your comment here not “nice”:
(Be sure to read through to the label on the post to catch the latest in passive-aggressive moralistic error.)

I'm so grateful.  I'm not worthy.  I mean it.

I would also like to thank those who dropped me from their links, excluded me from their Followers - Mark Shea seems to be the latest to do that - I used to get updates of all of his posts.  (It's fixed.)  I'd also like to thank those who un-Friended me and those who warn people to avoid me.

Many thanks and praying God's blessing upon all of you.

A most important question.

"Who do you say that I am?"

In today's Gospel, Christ asks Peter that question - again.  It seemed to me this Gospel has come up more than once recently in the Ordinary Form?  This morning it seemed almost too familiar.  But that is where I'm always wrong about the Gospel - those days when I think I 'know' it already.

Today I realized how critical it is for us to know precisely who Jesus Christ is.  As the Lord told Peter - the Father alone reveals this to the soul - while the convincing power of the Holy Spirit confirms our faith.  Jesus Christ is Lord.  We believe in one God:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  But I digress...

The reason I say we must know precisely who Jesus Christ is is because of the 'new' martyrs.  Muslims do not know who Christ is - they believe him to be just another prophet.  Recently ISIS terrorists demanded a man deny Christ and embrace Islam - or be killed.  He denied Christ, only to be beheaded anyway.  Perhaps he didn't really know the difference - since Islam venerates the Virgin Mary and Jesus - yet for them, Jesus is only 'one of the prophets'.  Perhaps he misunderstood the teaching, "Muslims worship the same God" according to a popular, but heretical teaching known as 'indifferentism'?  I cannot know what the poor man was thinking, nor can I judge him - I can only pray for the man and all of the others facing martyrdom.

It seems to me that today our incessant theological and moral arguments, along with our highly esteemed notions of pluralism and diversity, can work together to become an 'obstacle' to faith.  Christ told Peter - who demonstrated he had the correct faith - only moments before his objection to the passion of Christ: "You are an obstacle to me.  You are not thinking as God does, but as human beings do." 

Thus we see how important it is to know precisely who Jesus Christ is - 'who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow' and how the science of the cross remains unchanged - no matter how much we strive for religious freedom.

Today many of us think only in human terms - faith is somehow partitioned out.  We think in human terms and not as God does.  We see this thinking amongst Christians.  We see this thinking in and through the acceptance of divorce, contraception, and the evils generated by these sins.  Human comfort and well being - wanting people to be happy - is more important than the narrow way that leads to heaven.

We need to know precisely who Jesus Christ is.  To do this - to remain in that knowledge, I think we need to pray and spend much time with him, in his company in the Blessed Sacrament, in the Church, in Our Lady.

I also need to be careful not to be an obstacle to Christ and the Gospel.

I pray for an increase of faith.  Faith, hope, and charity.

The Blessed Virgin is with us.

Our Lady 
is with us
for the triumph of good...

In every age the Church is supported by the light and the strength of God,
She is nurtured in the desert with the bread of his word and the Holy Eucharist.

In every tribulation, through all of the trials that she finds 
in the course of the ages and in the different parts of the world, 
the Church suffers persecution, but comes out the victor.

That those who have fled into desert refuges may be consoled, nourished, satiated, delivered and saved by the tender protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Starting now.

My family has Ebola.

My family is being slaughtered by ISIS.

My family is entering the United States illegally...

  • Report from Iraq: families throwing children from a mountain to keep them from terrorists ... Deacon Kandra has the story here.  Click here to donate and help these who are truly in need.  They have lost everything.  They had no 'bug out' bags - no time to collect possessions.  In some cases, what little they had was taken from them as they fled.
  • ISIS just captured the Iraqi town of Sinjar in the first major defeat of Kurdish forces. Religious groups that had taken refuge there are in imminent danger of being massacred. - Story here.
  • Christian leaders in Liberia declared that Ebola is a plague from God in punishment for sin.
Last Sunday, Archbishop Zeigler in a Homily during Mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Monrovia, called on all members of the Catholic Church in Liberia to observe three days of serious prayers, using the Holy Rosary for God’s intervention to bring remedy to the Ebola epidemic.
Rt. Rev. Zeigler urged Christians, especially Catholics, to knock on the door of God. “The Church has used faithful and truthful prayers to God for intervention in our lives in times of peace, war or famine. Let us not miss this opportunity to pray together and go to God in the spirit of humility and repentance,” he admonished Catholics.
The Catholic prelate warned that Liberia has a very heavy load to carry, and called on all Liberians to unitedly shoulder that burden. - Source
  • "Immigrant children coming into this country have been the subject of much attention, debate – and, fortunately, great compassion by many – especially our Catholic charitable agencies and parishes. For the most part, they are young people, without their parents, who are arriving in this country seeking a refuge from poverty or gang violence." - Cardinal Dolan
I must fast and offer everything as a sacrifice.  I must pray and pray and pray.  I must donate - donate whatever I can.  I must not stockpile or horde or reject the needs of others.  I must repent.  I must cry out, full throated and unsparingly...  I must repent.

“Why do we fast, but you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, but you take no note?”
See, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
See, you fast only to quarrel and fight
and to strike with a wicked fist!
Do not fast as you do today
to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I would choose,
a day to afflict oneself?
To bow one’s head like a reed,
and lie upon sackcloth and ashes?
Is this what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking off every yoke?
Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry,
bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own flesh? - Isaiah 58

I repent.

Don't waste your time ... remix.

“You are called to speak of Jesus to your contemporaries, 
not only those within your parishes or associations, 
but especially to those outside.”

Pope Francis:  Stop wasting your life online.
“Maybe many young people waste too many hours on futile things,” the pope said in a short speech in Rome on Tuesday, as quoted by Reuters. 

“Our life is made up of time, and time is a gift from God, so it is important that it be used in good and fruitful actions,”
 he stressed. 

According to Pope Francis, actions certainly not worthy of wasting one's time include “chatting on the internet or with smartphones, watching TV soap operas, and [using] the products of technological progress, which should simplify and improve the quality of life, but distract attention away from what is really important.”  - Source

Song for this post here.

The Transfiguration

The mysteries of light...

His face shone as the sun: and his garments became white as light.

Hiroshima blast.

On August 6, 1945 the United States dropped “Little Boy,” 
the first of only two nuclear bombs ever used in warfare, 
on the Japanese civilians at Hiroshima.

Shadow left by victim.  Many victims were vaporized.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Then the disciples approached and said to him...

"Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?" - Matthew 15:1-2,10-14

I like Our Lord's response:
"Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind.  If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

Beware Catholic blogs and websites which mock and ridicule the Pope and Bishops - or whose posts invite such contempt.  Beware those sites which foment division and claim to be more Catholic than the Pope, more holier than the Church.  "Let them alone."  Do not support them, do not contribute to their coffers.  Those who say the Holy Father is clueless, that he is a heretic, that he is an anti-pope, or that they 'know' he is a hypocrite -  communicating an ostentatious humility.  "Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind.  If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

Let them alone.

This is the proper attitude 
for our blindness:
Humility and repentance.

Monday, August 04, 2014

I wonder what's going to happen today?

There was a big earthquake in China this past weekend.  Last week a river in China turned blood red.

Lake Erie is toxic.  People in Cleveland can't drink the water.  (I was in Cleveland once.)

People from Ebola-infected countries are sneaking into the United States.  That's what Drudge said.  Then there is the ongoing story of immigrant children invading the United States - and they haven't been immunized and reportedly have lice and fleas and pertussis.  These two situations alone might equal at least four of the ten plaques of Egypt:

  • Frogs
  • Gnats or lice
  • Flies
  • Boils

Fires are burning up our National Parks and forests, disrupting family vacations.

Fukushima radiation is killing the Pacific.  If sea creatures are livestock - that counts for another plague.  (There's a pig disease too.)

I think there is enough going on to equal the Ten Plagues of Egypt, as a friend of mine noted to me in an email

Then we have the stuff from the Book of Revelation.

It's pretty hard to calculate all of it.

Super volcanoes.  Earthquakes.  Wars ... Middle East.  Floods.  Tsunamis.  Drought.  Pope Francis.

What's going to happen today?  Tomorrow?  This week?


H/T Nan

St. John Vianney

The devil burned his bed.*

Why I think the devil hated him so much.

Because he converted-reconciled so many sinners - of course.  However, I think there was something else which annoyed the devil much more:  St. John Vianney exposed the dreadful state of the lukewarm soul.  It is the state in which the devil ensnares the souls of "even the elect - if that were possible."  The false peace of the world dupes many...

Who can dare assure himself that he is neither a great sinner nor a tepid soul but that he is one of the elect? Alas, my brethren, how many seem to be good Christians in the eyes of the world who are really tepid souls in the eyes of God, Who knows our inmost hearts.... 
Let us ask God with all our hearts, if we are in this state, to give us the grace to get out of it, so that we may take the route that all the saints have taken and arrive at the happiness that they are enjoying. That is what I desire for you.... - The Dreadful State of the Lukewarm Soul

St. John Vianney pray for us to leave this dreadful state of soul!

*M. Vianney soon perceived that these displays of satanic humour were fiercest when some great conversion was about to take place, or, as he playfully put it, when he was about to "land a big fish." One morning the devil set fire to his bed. The Saint had just left his Confessional to vest for Mass when the cry, "Fire! fire!" was raised. He merely handed the key of his room to those who were to put out the flames: "The villainous !" (it was his nickname for the devil) "unable to catch the bird, he sets fire to the cage!" was the only comment he made. To this day the pilgrim may see, hard by the head of the bed, a picture with its glass splintered by the heat of the flames. It must be remembered that at no time was a fire lit in the hearth and there were no matches in the presbytery. - Source

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Mass chat: Spiritual reflections.

No one seems worried about what others are wearing either.  What?

On Today's Collect [Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time]

"That you may restore what you have created
and keep safe what you have restored..."

Think about that.  "Restore what you created".  Remember how recovery literature always used to tell you - God didn't make junk.  Scripture affirms that, telling us all He created was good.  He didn't create disorder.  He didn't make people LGBTQ either.  Neither did He make alcoholics or addicts.  Something happened - it was the Fall - original sin.  After the Fall, disorder - sin entered the world.  Hence we pray, "restore what you created."  We then pray, "and keep safe what you have restored."

When we were first called we were told, "strive to enter through the narrow gate".  "Strive."  Keep trying - conversion is a work, an ongoing work.  We fail.  We fall.  We waver.  So we ask with all of our heart, "keep safe what you restored" mindful that we are restored in and through the sacraments, especially penance and the Eucharist.

God can restore what He created.  God wills it.

On the prayer of recollection.

We have to learn to listen.  To listen to the Scriptures.  To listen to the Liturgy.  To listen to the Holy Spirit who prays in us.  That is what mental prayer and the prayer of recollection disposes us to do.  Listening - to hear - is what obedience means.

We can train ourselves to listen in and through the practice of prayer.  We have to learn how to pray amid the tumult of ordinary life with its extraordinary challenges.  Remember the Gospel passage where Christ was harassed, the townsfolk took offense at him and wanted to throw him over the hillside?  "He walked in peace through the midst of them."  Remember how upset Martha was and how there was much activity in her house that day, but Mary sat at the Lord's feet listening to him.  Jesus said that grace would not be taken from her.

That grace is the prayer of recollection.

"I find Him everywhere while doing the wash as well as while praying." - Bl. Elizabeth of the Blessed Trinity

We can acquire that prayer.  In a noisy church, a busy street, a raucous household, and so on.  People in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany found him in the camps, amid the horror.  Walter Ciszek found him in the Russian camps - he celebrated Mass, clandestinely, threats all around those assembled.  
 “God’s will was not hidden somewhere ‘out there’ . . . the situations [in which I found myself] were his will for me. What he wanted was for me to accept these situations as from his hands, to let go of the reins and place myself entirely at his disposal.” - Ciszek

This prayer of recollection can become habitual, and like the sheep pastured by the Good Shepherd, the soul "will come in and go out and find pasture" - all the while remaining in his presence, before his watchful gaze. The prayer of recollection becomes the pasture, as it were. As Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection said, "That it was a great delusion to think that the times of prayer ought to differ from other times."

The practice of the Presence of God.  

To be busy about many things doesn't mean one is distracted from the presence of God. We can accustom ourselves to an awareness of God's presence through the prayer of recollection - which means nothing more than being aware of God's presence within ourselves. It is a very simple prayer. Making use of short prayers, frequent spiritual communions, or using holy reminders, helps us accustom ourselves to this practice - in this sense, the prayer can be 'acquired'. Coupled with these practices, daily prayer, spiritual reading - lectio - Mass and Communion when able, grounds us in the Presence of God.  

Distractions, rejections, inhospitable conditions ...

We have to learn how to pray and to seek Jesus alone - even if we are surrounded by irreverence and disbelief, what is that to us?  We can be reverent, we must believe - we are in the Presence of God - no one can separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus.  It's up to us to act from our faith.  It seems to me Fr. Ciszek is an excellent model and help for the Christian, on how to conduct himself in a hostile environment.

A priest to them, at best, meant a man out of step and out of place in a socialist society; at worst, he was a dupe in the employ of a Church that was itself a willing tool of capitalism.
I was stunned at the depth of feeling and prejudice against the Church that came spilling out. The more so under the circumstances. [...] There was at least a minimal sense of camaraderie among the political prisoners in the cell, a certain companionship in misery. But not for me when it became known I was a priest. I was cursed at; I was shunned; I was looked down upon and despised. Against the background of my Polish Catholic upbringing, where a priest was always treated as something special... this reaction to a priest on the part of my fellow prisoners made me by turns angry and bewildered. I was at a loss to understand it and furious at the added injustice of this stupid, blind prejudice. [...] In the words of Isaiah, I felt "despised and the most abject of men".
[Christ] too sought someone to comfort him and found none.
As for the humiliation I felt because I did not get the proper respect as a priest of God, was "the servant greater than his master"? Our Lord said to his disciples, "If they despised me, they will despise you.
In how many ways too, had i allowed this admixture of self, this luxury of feeling sorry for myself, to cloud my vision and prevent me from seeing the current situation with the eyes of God... Under the worst imaginable circumstances, a man remains a man with free will and God stands ready to assist him with his grace. Indeed, more than that, God expects him to act in these circumstances... For these situations too, these people and places and things, are God's will for him now.
He may not be able to change the 'system'. any more than I could change conditions in that prison, but he is not for that reason excused from acting at all. Many men feel frustrated, or disappointed, or even defeated, when they find themselves face to face with a situation or an evil they cannot do much about. ... But God does not expect a man single-handedly to change the world or overthrow all evil or cure all ills.
What each man can change, first of all is himself. And each will have - indeed, must have - some influence on the people God brings into his life each day. He is expected to be a Christian, to influence them for good. He will in some small way at least touch their lives too, and it is in that touching that God will hold him responsible for the good or ill he does. In that simple truth lies the key to any understanding of the mystery of divine providence and ultimately of each man's salvation. " - He Leadeth Me

Photo: Heads bowed, members of 1RAR attend a mass conducted at Coral by Father George Widdison