Saturday, March 26, 2016

How was your Tenebrae strepitus?

I keep forgetting ...

I love that song (here) ...

But this is different.  I keep forgetting I'm getting old.  I still think I'm in my 20's or early 30's.  I keep thinking I really do look like Ben Hill, the model I use for my avatar.  And I really do keep forgetting I don't.  I got my hair cut yesterday and accused the stylist of making me look as if my hairline is receding and he made my face look fat.  I said he was a vicious, vindictive ... person.

Earlier in the week, I took a friend in to the Dr. again and was chatting with the office people and I kept forgetting names of musicians and songs.  We were talking about Alan Cummings being in town and a number he does in his act singing the same exact song sung by different artists: Katy Perry, Gaga, and Adele.  (Naturally, I forget the name of the song.)  So I chimed in how I noticed many pop songs - even standards, have similar melodies at times - in the medley lead up to the song or in the body of the piece.  Then I went to give examples and couldn't recall the titles or the artists of the songs.  In my frustration I called Pharrell Williams 'Pharaoh or something...' and then I couldn't recall Robin Thicke's name, or the Marvin Gaye song he ripped off.  I kept saying, "Gotta give it up" but then said 'that's not it', although it really was ... Then, trying to recall Thicke's dad's name, citing him as an actor from a show way back when, I couldn't remember the name of the show, and mistook him for an actor on "Knot's Landing" but his show was really "Growing Pains" and, and ...  Well, it was ghastly...

All the while, the office people just smiled and nodded their encouragement, their eyebrows lifted in anticipation for me to remember what I was even talking about and then, and then, another patient came in and the phones needed answering and "Oh my God, look at the time."

Well, it was ghastly. 
Well, it was just ghastly.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Great Silence of that 'time-beyond-time'...

St. Pius V adoring the dead Christ, Michele Parrasio (1572-1575)

"God’s concealment is part of the spirituality of contemporary man."
Holy Saturday is the “no man’s land” between death and resurrection, but into this “no man’s land” has entered the One, the Only One, who has crossed it with the signs of his passion for man: “Passio Christi. Passio hominis.” And the Shroud speaks to us precisely of that moment; it witnesses precisely to the unique and unrepeatable interval in the history of humanity and the universe, in which God, in Jesus Christ, shared not only our dying, but also our remaining in death. The most radical solidarity. In that “time-beyond-time” Jesus Christ “descended into hell” (“agli inferi”) What does this expression mean? It means that God, made man, went to the point of entering into the extreme and absolute solitude of man, where no ray of love enters, where there is total abandonment without any word of comfort: “hell” (“gli inferi”). Jesus Christ, remaining in death, has gone beyond the gates of this ultimate solitude to lead us too to go beyond it with him.
We have all at times felt a frightening sensation of abandonment, and that which makes us most afraid of death is precisely this [abandonment]; just as when as children we were afraid to be alone in the dark and only the presence of a person who loves us could reassure us. So, it is exactly this that happened in Holy Saturday: In the kingdom of death there resounded the voice of God. The unthinkable happened: that Love penetrated “into hell” (“negli inferi”): that in the most extreme darkness of the most absolute human solitude we can hear a voice that calls us and find a hand that takes us and leads us out. The human being lives by the fact that he is loved and can love; and if love even has penetrated into the realm of death, then life has also arrived there. In the hour of extreme solitude we will never be alone: “Passio Christi. Passio hominis.” - Pope Benedict, 2010


Good Friday

Málaga, Spain: Soldiers of the Spanish Legion carry the figure of the Christ.

I was wondering about more ancient, or pious-folk traditions for Good Friday, which originated before the current liturgical observances of the Triduum, when I came across this at Fish Eaters: 

 Traditional Catholics wear black, cover their mirrors, extinguish candles and any lamps burning before icons, keep amusements and distractions down, and go about the day in great solemnity.

I never heard of Christians covering mirrors - sounds very Jewish.  I like that.  Jews cover the mirrors in their home during Shiva, the mourning period after a loved one dies.  Shiva commences with the death of the relative and ends after seven days of mourning.

The latest, or newest Catholic tradition I can think of, is that Good Friday marks the beginning of the Divine Mercy novena.  In a sense, one might liken it to the Jewish Shiva, since the chaplet is focused upon the passion and death of Christ, and ends on the Octave, or Second Sunday of Easter.  Though we celebrate the Resurrection, we keep in mind, or ponder in our heart, the Sacred Passion.  One tradition tells us Our Lady traced the steps Our Lord walked during his passion, every day - whenever she was in Jerusalem.  Perhaps the chaplet can be understood in that way?

Jesus, I trust in you.

For information and instructions on how to pray the Divine Mercy novena, go here.  If your Lent has fallen short, if you somehow feel far away from God - turn with confidence to Jesus on this day, and every day - the devotion to the Divine Mercy is made especially for us who have no merits of our own, nothing to offer, save our sins.

"Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me.  To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask.  I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion." - Our Lord to St. Faustina

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Changes to the Foot Washing Ritual for Holy Thursday ...

Don't forget, the ceremony is optional for Roman Catlicks.

NB: And remember - if you gave up drinking for Lent, you can drink tonight.  Lent was over yesterday.

Holy Thursday

What an extraordinary pope ... 
removing his finery, going out to the streets 
to minister to those outside the walls ...

"As priests, we identify with people who are excluded, people the Lord saves."

This morning, the Holy Father first celebrated the Chrism Mass with the priests of Rome - the Bishop and his priests together ...

As priests, we are witnesses to and ministers of the ever-increasing abundance of the Father’s mercy; we have the rewarding and consoling task of incarnating mercy, as Jesus did, who “went about doing good and healing” (Acts 10:38) in a thousand ways so that it could touch everyone. We can help to inculturate mercy, so that each person can embrace it and experience it personally. This will help all people truly understand and practise mercy with creativity, in ways that respect their local cultures and families. - Homily

He “went about doing good and healing” (Acts 10:38)

Later, he celebrated the Mass of the Lord's Supper with refugees and immigrants - washing their feet:

Service was a major theme of the Holy Thursday liturgy: Pope Francis, in imitation of Christ at the Last Supper, performed the ritual washing of the feet of a dozen people – eleven guests of the C.A.R.A. Centre and one woman who works at the Centre for Auxilium. Four of the guests taking part in the ritual were Nigerian Catholics, three others – all three women – were Coptic Christians from Eritrea, three others were Muslims from Syria, Pakistan and Mali, and one was an Indian Hindu. - VR

What an extraordinary pope ... removing his finery, going out to the streets to minister to those outside the walls ...

Tonight, at my parish, the new, young pastor will act similarly, washing the feet of men and women parishioners who are active in parish ministries.

A blessed Triduum to all.

Blessed Oscar Romero

(Vatican Radio) March 24th marks the Church’s day of prayer for missionary martyrs, in memory of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero who was murdered while celebrating Mass on that day in 1980.
During Romero’s beatification in San Salvador last May, March 24th was also recognized as his feast day, yet this year the date marks Holy Thursday and will therefore not be celebrated as an official saints day. - Read more here.

I always believed he was a saint.  Sadly many of his enemies tried to convince people he was an enemy of the Church, spreading fears and suspicions and tainting his reputation as well as the reputations of others, including missionaries to the region who were also martyred.

In thanksgiving for the martyrs.

Disinterested Friendship

Archbishop Bernard Hebda appointed Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis

After nine months as the apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Archbishop Bernard Hebda was named the archdiocese’s archbishop March 24. The Holy See announced the appointment at noon in Rome, 6 a.m. Central Time.

The Holy Thursday appointment highlights the connection between his new role and the Eucharist, priesthood and service, Archbishop Hebda told The Catholic Spirit.

“It’s the Eucharist that brings us together,” he said. “The bishop is called to be that source of unity in his local Church and where that takes place is at the table of the Lord.” - Catholic Spirit

He seems like an excellent choice.  I haven't been following much and so I know very little about him, but it is good to have an Archbishop again.  Things should settle down now.  He's still 'young' at 56 so he should be around for quite awhile.

Thanks be to God.

h/t Nan and Ray.  

Don't try to tell me Melania Trump is not a trophy wife ...

Because Trump just used her that way when he insulted Mrs. Cruz with this:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I couldn't connect with Fr. Z part of the day.

I know!

Call me crazy - but I did check in at one point and the blog showed up fine.  Later in the afternoon, I didn't have access.  I was concerned.  I wondered what happened to him.  I kept checking - no link.  I worried - not about my access - but what if something happened ...?  (So you see, I do love him and follow him, even though I get annoyed that he doesn't even know I exist - err, that he says things I don't like?  What?  I'm kidding.  Or am I?)

All rightey then!

Tonight, his blog is back up and it appears he was under some sort of attack.  Seriously.  Here.

In the meantime I searched online and came across an interview Fr. Z did with America Magazine.  It's quite good.  The people who commented - those who dislike him, weren't surprising, but they were rather telling - about them.  If you are interested in Father's status and ministry, read the introduction here.

Anyway, I'm glad his site weathered this latest 'storm' and he is back online.

I removed a recent post wherein I criticized Fr. Z.  I was wrong to post it, and I was wrong in my opinion about something he said.   He sometimes boasts that he has forgotten more than most of us know about a certain topic.  That is probably true.  What I think is even more true, is that he has been more consistent, more faithful, more constant in his vocation than many of us who make assessments about him: his personality, his character, and his vocation.  He has persevered and never deviates - his face is set like flint - towards Christ.

God bless him.

The Treachery of Judas

The Spanish artist Azcona stealing Holy Communion 
for blasphemous purposes, as displayed on his own FB page.

The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of ... 

The Spanish artist in the photo shown stealing the Eucharist is an old story, I just wanted to reprint it for Spy Wednesday, wherein we recall how Judas betrayed Christ.  My morning meditation included the word treachery.  Dishonesty, venality, treachery ...

betrayal of trust; deceptive action or nature.
synonyms: betrayal, disloyalty, faithlessness, unfaithfulness, infidelity, breach of trust,duplicity, dirty tricks, deceit, deception, chicanery, stab in the back,backstabbing, double-dealing, untrustworthiness;

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Goodwill mysticism: Still promoting Vassula Ryden?

Ezkioga, Northern Spain
Don't forget all of the false apparitions of the early 1930's.

To consider any expression of the private revelations as dogma or propositions near of faith is always imprudent. - St. Annibale Maria Di Francia

Recently Charlie Johnston came under scrutiny by the Archbishop of Denver, who advised "the faithful to exercise prudence and caution in regards to Mr. Charlie Johnston’s alleged divine visions and messages."  The Archdiocese went so far as to declare: "Mr. Johnston will also not be approved as a speaker in the Archdiocese of Denver."

Mr. Johnston accepts the decision, laying some emphasis on the 'cautionary' tone regarding the prophetic dimension of his message, while noting that: "'They' explained that not being an “approved speaker” simply means I can’t use Church property in the Diocese as a venue."  Essentially, that about covers it and allows Charlie to continue his work.

Archbishop Aquila's concern is expressed in this statement:  "As has been demonstrated with other alleged apparitions, the danger exists of people placing greater faith in a prediction than in Christ’s words and promises."

I mention this precaution regarding Charlie Johnston after discovering there are still supporters and defenders of Vassula Ryden online, intent upon spreading her messages.  Catholics have been warned several times since 1995 against her 'doctrine', as summed up at the end of this CDF Notification:
Given the negative effect of Vassula Ryden’s activities, despite some positive aspects, this Congregation requests the intervention of the Bishops so that their faithful may be suitably informed and that no opportunity may be provided in their Dioceses for the dissemination of her ideas. Lastly, the Congregation invites all the faithful not to regard Mrs. Vassula Ryden’s writings and speeches as supernatural and to preserve the purity of the faith that the Lord has entrusted to the Church.
Vatican City, 6 October 1995. - Full text here.
I lifted that text from an excellent study of the self-proclaimed mystic, titled: Vassula Ryden - The Reasons for the Church's Negative Reaction, by Francois-Marie Dermine, O.P..  The article should be read in its entirety, it is very informative - not only regarding the Ryden case, but all such private revelations and apparitions which spring up here and there around the world, especially now while wars and rumors of war, and terrorism threatens from every side.   Even priests grasp onto this type of phenomena in times of great stress, some claiming locutions themselves.

Charity believes all things, hopes all things, but is not deceived.  One must be careful.  A kindly priest recently wrote a favorable piece on Vassula Ryden and her interview with the CDF, suggesting the problems pretty much have been resolved and any discernment is up to the local diocesan bishops.  (Perhaps similar to how Aquila reviewed the Charlie Johnston case?)  Yet the CDF Notification was not nearly as approving as the author of the post suggests here:
Following this successful dialogue, the Cardinal said that Vassula's answers were "a useful clarification" and insisted that her answers be printed in the books of her writings. - Source
There are so many 'ifs, ands, and buts' regarding private revelations and their supporters, who frequently cling to this stuff as if it were dogma, disputing clear statements made by the magisterium against such things, while they in turn manipulate words and phrases to suit their particular cult.  It seems to me worse today with media confusing remarks and statements made by the pope and bishops to suggest heresy and liberalism, opening the way for self-interested parties to bait ordinary believers into following dubious mystics, locutionists and seers.

Priests especially should be cautious, perhaps following the precautions of Saint Annibale Maria Di Francia:
“Conforming to prudence and sacred accuracy, people cannot deal with private revelations as if they were canonical books or decrees of the Holy See. Even the most enlightened persons, especially women, may be greatly mistaken in the visions, revelations, locutions, and inspiration. More than once the divine operation is restrained by human nature. For instance who could ratify in full all the visions of Emmerich and St. Brigid, which show evident discrepancies? I love very much the private revelations of holy persons, but never I accept them in full!" - Source

Faith is hard - the science of the Cross is tough going...

Even if an angel of light appears with a different Gospel - do not follow.

Please pray for Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil

So far, nothing is known of the fate of the 56-year-old priest born in Ramapuram, 
near Pala (Kottayam, Kerala) into a deeply Catholic family. 
His uncle Matthew, who died last year, was also a Salesian, 
and the founder of the mission in Yemen. 
Father Tom has been in Yemen for four years.

Fr. Tom is the Salesian priest abducted by the same terrorists who killed the Missionaries of Charity sisters in Yemen.

Internet chatter indicates he has been tortured and may be killed on Good Friday, by crucifixion.  There appears to be no basis for these rumors, yet the Salesians request prayers for Fr. Tom.  See the transcript here.

It is important not to sensationalize these stories and rumors, yet equally important is the need to pray for fellow Christians facing persecution and martyrdom at the hands of anti-Christian Jihadists and others.  The martyrs need our prayers to sustain them, and to stand fast in their faithful witness; our prayers and sacrifices to obtain their deliverance, if that be God's will.  We need to avoid giving ideas to their persecutors and dedicate ourselves to pray for the conversion of sinners and the salvation of souls.

The martyrs need our fidelity and our prayers.

Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs,
pray for Fr. Tom.
Protect him in love, accompany him in peace.
With confidence in your Maternal care, 
and in thanksgiving, I pray:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, 
that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, 
implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, 
O Virgin of virgins, my mother; 
to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. 
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, 
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.


Brussels: Why Trump will be our next President.

'We are allowing thousands and thousands of these people into this country and we're going to have nothing but problems.' 

Today it's Brussels ...

Prayers for the victims and survivors of today's terrorist hits.

Pray the rosary every day for peace.
Our Lady of Banneux, pray for us.

Ten Years After

February 28, 2006

My first blog post - that I can find - was dated February 28, 2006.  The blog was called Rome-ing Catholics.  I began blogging for the company I worked for at the time  The blogging took over.  It really did.  I screwed up.  It was a huge mistake and I wish I could undo it.

I've been blogging for ten years now.

That's sad.

What a waste.

I just told a friend: I'm always a bit embarrassed when I find out people read my blog, since I've revealed far too much about myself and I often regret having written about people, places, and events which I probably never should have mentioned. And I've been wrong about more things than I've been right about. I claim that 'writing helps me think' stealing the line from Pope Benedict.  We'll see how long I can use that one.

I think I've unraveled a lot about my life - so there is something cathartic about that - I'm not sure it ever needed to be made public.  

Anyway.  Attempts at making amends have fallen short as well.

I'm sorry.

Like the woman at the well ...

Monday, March 21, 2016


Symptoms of PTSD: Being easily startled or frightened.  Is this you?

Of Toxic Friendships and PTSD

I saw the list for symptoms of toxic friendships on Spirit Daily and had to read them.  Yep.  I have had friends like that.  Family members as well - including parents.  Maybe I'm toxic?  Contaminated?  Contaminated as in the sense of one having survived a nuclear power plant accident?

PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is something I think of in relation to wounded warriors or survivors of the Holocaust, or survivors of terror, torture and so on.  In many cases, the diagnosis has been expanded to include survivors of abuse, sexual or otherwise.  For a long time I didn't believe in PTSD.  To a certain extent, I do now.

Holy Week may be a ritualized form of PTSD - wherein we recall the Sacred Passion and Death of Christ.  In a kinda-sorta way, maybe?  Over the centuries, mystics seem to have relived the trauma - showing signs of whatever form of stigmata they had - sometimes in very dramatic fashion.

Just thinking out loud here, but a lot of our stigmata may show up this week.  The invisible kind, that

Yeah, huh?  I'm not really seeing it, but if you say so...

For your convenience, here is a quick list of symptoms for PTSD:

(Check it out thoroughly before calling 911.)
PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, or changes in emotional reactions.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event


Symptoms of avoidance may include:

Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

Negative feelings about yourself or other people
Inability to experience positive emotions
Feeling emotionally numb
Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
Hopelessness about the future
Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
Difficulty maintaining close relationships

Changes in emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
Always being on guard for danger
Overwhelming guilt or shame
Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
Trouble concentrating
Trouble sleeping
Being easily startled or frightened - Source

I hope that's helpful for all of you stigmatists who read me.

Song for this post here.

Avoiding places, activities or people 
that remind you of the traumatic event.