Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Weekend of Saints

Today, May 16, and tomorrow, May 17 is adorned with holy men and women.

Today is the feast of St. Margaret of Cortona, penitent.  Our Lord called her the Magdalene of the Franciscan order.  She could be a patron for single mothers who were sinners.  It would be better to rely on Margaret's merits than their own however - since Margaret was quite extreme in her penance and probably not the best mother for her poor son - who later was entrusted to the Franciscans - which had to be a better life for him.  Margaret suffered all her life from gossips who never forgot her sinful past and accused her of continuing indiscretions even after so many years of penance.  Perhaps she could be a patron for gay people as well - who once gay, always gay - in the eyes of so many of us.

St. Margaret, pray for us!

St. Simon Stock is also commemorated today.  Modern hagiographers tend to discredit the traditional stories about this Carmelite saint, yet he has always been venerated as the one to whom the Blessed Virgin gave the scapular of Mt. Carmel.  Scapulars had been around since the first monks - Pachomius was given a version of it by an angel - yet the gift of the Brown Scapular to Simon Stock was indeed special and set apart, and became a sign of consecration even for lay people.  I accept the traditional story of St. Simon who is so named because he began his eremetical life living in the hollow of a tree.  I like that.

Today is also the memorial of St. John Nepomucene.  He is the patron of Czechoslovakia, and of confessors.  He was martyred because he refused to divulge the content of the Queen's confessions to the King, who promised him honors if he did so.  He didn't and was thrown off a bridge in Prague.  His image and story was used by missionaries to the New World to catechize aboriginal people on the Seal of the Confessional.

Ah! Tomorrow, May 17 is especially illustrious!

First, it is the memorial of St. Paschal Baylon.  The humble Franciscan lay brother so devoted to the Blessed Sacrament.  I love him so much - I pray he grants me an increase of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament - a deep union ...

On this day, May 17, 1925, the Blessed Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face was canonized by Pius XI.

Ninety years later, the Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified, also know as Mariam Buoardy, the Little Arab, will be canonized by Pope Francis, along with fellow Palestinian Bl. Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas.

Bl. Mary of Jesus Crucified will be celebrated throughout the Church, in Catholic news and on Catholic blogs, so I don't need to say much.  The Little Arab is a modern thaumaturge - her life is filled with miracles and wonders, much like the early saints, whose legends have been more or less discredited by contemporary hagiographers who no longer believe in miracles.  The wondrous life of Bl. Mary has been documented by contemporaries and studied by mystical theologians.

So.  This weekend is filled with saints, revealed in and through the glorious splendor of the Ascension of the Lord.


"Lies that are based on what we want to be true are the hardest to disprove. A lie that is tied into identity cannot be touched without destroying the entire identity of an individual or a movement." - Daniel Greenfield

Friday, May 15, 2015

Boston Bomber sentenced to death.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death Friday for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the terror attack on the finish line of the storied race that killed three people and injured more than 260 others. - Story

Works for me.

B.B. King, RIP

+1925-2015 +

I got a mind to give up livin' ...

... oh! and go shoppin' instead ...

to pick out a tombstone ...

oh!  when I heard it this mornin' ...

that's when I decided ...

Love you B.B. King.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

Song for this post here.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The convincing power of the Holy Spirit ...

The convincing of sin is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

The emphasis on 'the convincing power of the Holy Spirit' is a favorite source of meditation for me, it is part of my deepest prayer. It is the Holy Spirit who convinces us and the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgement. How essential this action is, not just once, in a sort of baptism of the Spirit, or confirmation, but ongoing: deep calling unto deep, drawing us deeper into the mystery of the Trinity; the abyss of mercy and love, calling to the abyss of sin and misery, convicting the soul in an embrace of the merciful love of Christ crucified. Things I can't put into words because I have no higher degrees in theology, no skill in writing, but they are things that one can know, without knowing as it were - experientially - in and through prayer and sacred reading.

St. John Paul II wrote:

The Spirit of truth, who "convinces the world concerning sin," comes into contact with that laborious effort on the part of the human conscience which the Conciliar texts speak of so graphically. This laborious effort of conscience also determines the paths of human conversion: turning one's back on sin, in order to restore truth and love in man's very heart. 
We know that recognizing evil in ourselves sometimes demands a great effort. We know that conscience not only commands and forbids but also Judges in the light of interior dictates and prohibitions. It is also the source of remorse: man suffers interiorly because of the evil he has committed. Is not this suffering, as it were, a distant echo of that "repentance at having created man" which in anthropomorphic language the Sacred Book attributes to God? Is it not an echo of that "reprobation" which is interiorized in the "heart" of the Trinity and by virtue of the eternal love is translated into the suffering of the Cross, into Christ's obedience unto death? When the Spirit of truth permits the human conscience to share in that suffering, the suffering of the conscience becomes particularly profound, but also particularly salvific. Then, by means of an act of perfect contrition, the authentic conversion of the heart is accomplished: this is the evangelical "metanoia." 
The laborious effort of the human heart, the laborious effort of the conscience in which this "metanoia," or conversion, takes place, is a reflection of that process whereby reprobation is transformed into salvific love, a love which is capable of suffering. The hidden giver of this saving power is the Holy Spirit: he whom the Church calls "the light of consciences" penetrates and fills "the depths of the human heart."  -Dominum et vivicantem

The convincing power of the Holy Spirit ...

Denuding, stripping away all that we cling to, making us even poorer -  is his gift.

A particularly important kind of denudation, through which the Holy Spirit prepares us for his 'decent,' is the process of stripping us of the false image we have of ourselves and freeing us from living a falsehood.  In the Gospel, St. John relates the promise of Christ to us that the Paraclete - the Holy Spirit - will convince the world about sin when he comes.  Thus one of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to convince us of our sin, therefore bestowing upon us the grace of humility.  This is the fundamental grace of the Holy Spirit. - Fr. Tadeuz Dajczer

"If the Church, through the power of the Holy Spirit, can call evil by its name, it does so only in order to demonstrate that evil can be overcome if we open ourselves to 'love for God to the point of contempt for self. This is the fruit of Divine Mercy...'" - John Paul II, Memory and Identity

Holy Spirit, inspire me.
Love of God consume me.
Along the true road, lead me.
Mary, my good mother, look down upon me.
With Jesus, bless me.
From all evil, all illusion, all danger, preserve me. 
- Bl. Mary of Jesus Crucified, OCD


Mother of God, Unexpected Joy, pray for us.

The icon was originally painted to commemorate the conversion of a sinner.  As he was at the point of committing a grievous sin, the man actually prayed to the Virgin to assist him to accomplish his deed.  The Mother of God appeared to him, demonstrating her disdain, and pointing to the wounds on the hands and feet of the Divine Child in her arms, which opened and bled, the Blessed Virgin admonished the sinful man and explained that every time someone chooses to commit grave sin, the wounds begin to torment Christ. Fearful of the divine wrath, the man prayed for forgiveness and began to lead righteous life. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

This is one of the most edifying pieces I have read in a long time ...

"When Christ took pity upon me..."

"When Christ took pity upon me, I knew it was all over - it was just over and done with; I never would have imagined tagging myself gay, or extolling the minuscule and narrow virtues that an existence so lost and disgusting ever held. Imagine Mary Magdalene ruminating about the few brief moments of spurious happiness she had back in whoredom; or preserving her former good-time-girl moniker. Like Mary, my shift was extreme - for me, the whole gay thing was just evil - and, for so many years, it kept me away from Christ; it cost the lives of many dear friends, and almost took my own. Call me a former-homosexual, ex-gay, even a penitent, but never ever call me gay." - Joseph Sciambra

Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

Today is also the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, Portugal, on May 13, 1917, the date coincided with the feast of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament as well.

The image shown here is similar to the very first picture I saw of Our Lady of Fatima when I was little, and I was immediately attracted.  It is one of my favorites.  I soon learned about the apparitions, the children, and the message, taking to heart Our Lady's request to pray the rosary every day.

Pray for little children who suffer and for those who are abused, abandoned, or neglected - especially those who have no religion and do not know the love of God.

Love little children.  Always show them patience and kindness and always make them feel protected and loved.  Never make fun of them or be mean to them.  Preserve them from vanity, impurity, greed and selfishness.  Teach them devotion to Our Lady and Our Lord.  Teach them how to pray the prayers of the rosary.

Blessed Francisco (9), Lucia (9), and Blessed Jacinta (7).

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

St. Leopold Mandic

St. Leopold's liturgical memorial coincides with his natural birth date, May 12, though he died July 30, 1942.

Just yesterday I read a comment from a reader on another blog who said something about light penances given by priests, explaining, "priests give us light penances because they do our penance for us."  I'm pretty sure that's not true - yet St. Leopold certainly did as much:
  • "Some say that I am too good. But if you come and kneel before me, isn't this a sufficient proof that you want to have God's pardon? God's mercy is beyond all expectation."
  • "Be at peace; place everything on my shoulders. I will take care of it." He once explained, "I give my penitents only small penances because I do the rest myself."
  • "A priest must die from apostolic hard work; there is no other death worthy of a priest."
I love this little saint and pray him to obtain forgiveness for my sins and an increase in devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, the sacrament of penance, and a deeper devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

He also wrote the following testament (which I keep posting):
"I. Fr. Leopoldo Mandie Zarevic. believe that the Blessed Virgin as Co-Redemptress of the human race is the moral cause of all grace - everything we receive comes from her fullness. " On another occasion he solemnly wrote: "The August Mother of God is in truth Co-Redemptress of the human race and source of all Grace. In fact, on the one hand we have in her the most perfect obedience to God's laws and, after her Son, the most perfect innocence: He, impeccable by His nature, she, impeccable by Grace. On the other hand we see her as Our Lady of Sorrows, as He was the Man of Sorrows. If, therefore, by eternal decree of God, the Immaculate Virgin was the moral victim of sorrow as her Son was the physical victim, and if God's avenging Justice found no shadow of fault in them, it follows: inevitably that they were paying the price of the sins of others, that is of mankind."

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tomorrow - May 12 - In a Church Basement in South St. Paul: Patrick Archbold

Click here.

Men only. Alcohol and smoking encouraged.  Have Conceal and Carry permits available.  No Goose-stepping outside the facility.  This location has not been certified Nuclear Free Zone.

Pulled Pork - Jerk Chicken - mmm hmm good!
ATOM offers a safe environment to have a good time.
No background checks required.

(Ward, I'm worried about the Badger.)

I Like the Logo for The Holy Year of Mercy

Straining out the gnat.

A few vocal critics at Patheos and elsewhere have been rather adamant in their disapproval of the official image, and that's just fine. I was happy to discover that another Patheos blogger, Billy Kangas actually loves the logo. He has posted ten reason why it's okay to say so - go here* to read.

I like the logo because it is simple and clean - and I love the artist's other works - his mosaics are beautiful in their simplicity, very much like ancient graffiti as well as early Christian illumination. His construction of the mosaic is elegant in its restrained opulence. Father Marko Ivan Rupnik is the artist who did the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Vatican. It seems appropriate he should also design the logo for the Year of Mercy - a devotion so close to heart of St. John Paul. The Redemptoris Mater Chapel was a gift to the people of God from JPII on the eve of the Great Jubilee of 2000. The extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy seems to me to be the fruit of that work - part of the so-called New Springtime perhaps: “Arise, my friend, my beautiful one, and come!  The time of pruning the vines has come."

“Christ is the visible sign of the invisible God. Through him, the Father penetrates the whole of creation and the invisible God makes himself present among us and speaks to us” 

The Logo is moving because it immediately brings to mind the Resurrection of the Lord, the descent into Hell, crushing the gates of hell and leading the prisoners forth into freedom. The gate can also signify the cross - the triumph of the cross.

The figure of the Lord seems to carry the fallen Adam like the Good Shepherd rescuing the Lost Sheep, coming up from the abyss. At the same time the image suggests the Good Samaritan carrying the man left for dead by the side of the road. How intimately Christ carries us - the redemption is personal.

The eye speaks to me of how, as St. Paul says, Christ became sin - sharing our humanity and identifying himself with sinful man - inviting us to participate in his saving act - especially showing mercy to one another.  To see as Christ sees.

I like it very much. The logo isn't presented as an object for veneration, such as an icon or statue or a sacred image. As a logo it seems to me to be just fine. It symbolizes the meaning of mercy, it identifies the event, which the text announces. Coloration is perfect in that the blue mandorla is the traditional design which conveys the divine presence, as well as reminding us that the divinity is perceived in the darkness of faith: Hence Christ is the only image/icon of the Father - the invisible God: He is the visible image of the invisible God.

Go and learn the meaning of mercy.

Others are certainly free to critique and disparage the artistic merits and design of the logo. There were those who criticized WYD logos as well. Their critiques seem to me to be superficial and based upon subjective taste. A couple go to great lengths to justify themselves and their critiques, - so what can one say in response?  It is their personal opinion.

Unfortunately, I also read a short essay elsewhere which severely criticized the Holy Father's prayer composed for the Holy Year. Picking apart the composition of prayer, the need to assert one's level of taste in art and tear apart what is intended to convey an attitude of reconciliation and hope just seems so counterproductive and self referential.

Hopefully we all can open ourselves to the command to 'go learn the meaning of mercy' in this special Holy Year of Mercy.

Idle fact: Did you know many contemplatives spend the year before a Holy Year actually begins, praying in preparation for this special time of grace? It is after all, an extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy that the Church prepares for. It is an extraordinary Jubilee Year - deserving of reverence, respect, and gratitude.  We can begin now to prepare.

*Go to the post I link to at Patheos here - and read the comments.  They claim the logo is 'dangerous', 'occult', 'offensive', and "theologically reprehensible, and pedagogically counterproductive."  Another logo expert insists it "is a bad logo by the standards of the profession."  Hmmmmmmmmmm.  ROFLOL!

Some of the Patheos experts didn't like this logo either.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day - I'm against it.

And I'll tell you why...

Did you know?

The sad history of Mother’s Day founder Anna Jarvis has done nothing to slow down the popularity—and commercialism—of the holiday.
Anna Jarvis, who had no children of her own, conceived of Mother’s Day as an occasion for honoring the sacrifices individual mothers made for their children. In May 1908, she organized the first official Mother’s Day events at a church in her hometown of Grafton, West Virginia, as well as at a Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia, where she lived at the time. Jarvis then began writing letters to newspapers and politicians pushing for the adoption of Mother’s Day as an official holiday. By 1912, many other churches, towns and states were holding Mother’s Day celebrations, and Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association. Her hard-fought campaign paid off in 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Jarvis’ conceived of of Mother’s Day as an intimate occasion—a son or daughter honoring the mother they knew and loved—and not a celebration of all mothers. For this reason, she always stressed the singular “Mother’s” rather than the plural. She soon grew disillusioned, as Mother’s Day almost immediately became centered on the buying and giving of printed cards, flowers, candies and other gifts. Seeking to regain control of the holiday she founded, Jarvis began openly campaigning against those who profited from Mother’s Day, including confectioners, florists and other retailers. She launched numerous lawsuits against groups using the name Mother’s Day, and eventually spent much of her sizeable inheritance on legal fees.
In 1925, when an organization called the American War Mothers used Mother’s Day as an occasion for fundraising and selling carnations, Jarvis crashed their convention in Philadelphia and was arrested for disturbing the peace. Later, she even attacked First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using Mother’s Day as an occasion to raise money for charity. By the 1940s, Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether, and even actively lobbied the government to see it removed from the calendar. Her efforts were to no avail, however, as Mother’s Day had taken on a life of its own as a commercial goldmine. Largely destitute, and unable to profit from the massively successful holiday she founded, Jarvis died in 1948 in Philadelphia’s Marshall Square Sanitarium.  - Finish reading here.

It is so out of hand today Ms. Jarvis would crap her knickers.

On the other hand, profiteering mommy bloggers may get enough donations to buy steak for the kids and maybe even get an all expenses paid trip to Rome for the Family Synod on single parents.

BTW:  In addition to the more traditional gifts (ranging from cards, flowers and candy to clothing and jewelry), the survey showed that an unprecedented 14.1 percent of gift-givers plan to buy their moms high-tech gadgets like smartphones and tablets.

When priests leave...

Or just quit.

I heard from someone that a local priest I knew appears to have left ministry and has a good position with a local business firm.  He was a priest who developed a sort of following right out of the gate as it were.  An excellent priest.  I don't know if he's on leave or if he left for good.  After ordination the Archdiocese paid for further education - as it does for most priests being groomed for more important roles.  It's a nice addition to his resume.

Which brings to mind a few former priests I know of, multiple degrees, doctorates, and so on, all paid for by their respective orders or diocese.  They leave the priesthood and get a fine career.  Some remain priests and are incardinated elsewhere - at least they are still in ministry.  Some are just allowed to gyrovague their way about the globe, pursuing an academic career - or just another career in business, while somehow remaining a priest 'in good standing'.

In this diocese we have a few good priests who are 'benched' as it were, they are not in active ministry, or if they are, it's limited.  It's too bad.  We need priests.

At my parish we will be getting a new pastor - a 2 year old - he's only been ordained 2 years.  That never used to happen - but there is a priest shortage.  Fortunately for my parish the new priest is from an excellent community of priests.  Manly men.  Solid men.  Holy men.  For them, priesthood is a vocation - not a layover on a career path, to be noted on their resume.

One of the group's transitional deacons gave the homily at my parish this weekend.  He's going to make a fine priest.  My heart was burning within me as he spoke.  He knows how to pray - his preaching is proof.

Pray for priests, that they persevere and forsake ambition and worldliness and fame.  Pray for more priests - an increase in good vocations, so that new priests may have time just to be priests.  Pray for priest who love Jesus Christ and will lay down their lives for their sheep - never to run away like a paid hireling.

And never ever say things like "We get the priests we deserve." - God's mercy is not like that.

Loving God.