Saturday, November 05, 2016

Secrets of the dead ... they are alive.

“Even after death they act as if alive, healing the sick, expelling demons, and by the power of the Lord rejecting every evil influence of the demons. This is because the miraculous grace of the Holy Ghost is always present in the holy relics.” 
- St. Ephrem the Syrian

Friday, November 04, 2016

November 4, 1958 Coronation of Pope St. John XXIII

I'm so old - I remember almost every detail.

After a hard day's night ...

Someone on YouTube sent me this version of the Leslie Gore/Quincy Jones classic covered by the excellent Jennifer Holiday.

I love her so much.

What a great song, and she does it so well.

Prostitutes and anonymous sex addicts and abject deplorables know what the desire to be loved by name really means ...

And we know what it means to ask, to beg another to, say you love me ..................... I need you, to see me through, I just need to hear you say ... I love you.

Don't you know that is what we are asking of you, O Lord?   When we do what we do - O my God, I am so heartily sorry ...

Say you love me!

Steppers ...

Or - TNRS Storm groups.

I just found out about them.

Facebook friends ...

The Pope in the cemetery ...

Pope Francis

I love this photo of the Pope - it reminds me of this:
"I know well I must render an account of everything - from the beginning of my life as well as this later part - unto the last penny, when God will search Jerusalem with lighted candles, and it is already late - the day far spent - to remedy so much evil and harm..." - St. John of the Cross

God will search Jerusalem with lighted candles ...

Papal sarcophagus

The tombs ...

I love the ancient tombs.  Early Christian ascetics 'lived among the tombs' - the first hermits in Egypt occupied rock cut tombs, a metaphor for having 'left the world' and a place to practise renunciation and ceaseless prayer.  It was also reputed to be the habitat of demons, useful to the ascetics in spiritual combat when the persecutions of Christians ceased.

Monastic life.

Sharp dressed man.

Facebook is an eye-opener ...

I thought all the people I knew before were dead ...

They're still alive and apparently doing well.

Maybe it really is just me?

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Late term abortion ...

St. Martin De Porres

When I was little I wanted to be Black and Latino so I could be poor just like Br. Martin.
I had a touch relic of him back then too - from before he was canonized.
The Dominicans sent it to me because I inquired about becoming a lay-brother.
Today I have a first class relic of him and St. Rose and
John Macias - three Dominicans from Lima.

St. Martin de Porres, pray for us.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

I've been singing this song as I work in the yard ....

I remember the first time I heard this - I think it was at an outdoor concert - or on the way back from one - I thought it was a remix of Haley Mill's "Let's Get Together".  What?  I was impaired.

The Holy Souls

I like this image of the souls in purgatory ...
Only once, as they pass from this life, do they see the cause of the Purgatory they endure; never again do they see it for in another sight of it there would be self. Being then in charity from which they cannot now depart by any actual fault, they can no longer will nor desire save with the pure will of pure charity. Being in that fire of Purgatory, they are within the divine ordinance, which is pure charity, and in nothing can they depart thence for they are deprived of the power to sin as of the power to merit." - St. Catherine of Genoa, "Treatise On Purgatory"

Being in that fire of Purgatory, they are within the divine ordinance, which is pure charity ...

I have a hard time thinking of purgatory as a place of punishment.  I think of it as a place of purification and reparation - atonement, suffering, making satisfaction for sin - yes.  But it seems to me the knowledge of God's merciful love would bring joy to the soul, and sustain the soul, and it's love would increase, moment to moment.

I loved today's meditation in Magnificat from St. Claude La Colombiere:

"As to purgatory, when I thought I would be wronging God's mercy to have the least fear of hell, since I deserved it more than all the demons, I had no fear of purgatory at all.  I could well wish not to have deserved it, since it cannot be done without displeasing God.  But since it is a reality, I was elated at the thought of going there to satisfy his justice in the most rigorous manner imaginable, and that to the day of judgment ..." - St. Claude

There is more, but I can't take the time to write the entire thing.  It makes me love St. Claude all the more ... what a wonderful priest and spiritual guide!

I don't really like so much the images of purgatory of souls in torment, to the point of chaos - that depiction would be hell, I think.  I like to think of the love of God purifying the soul ... maybe similar to St. Therese in her trial of faith, wherein she speaks of a joy that is not felt, in the depths of great suffering.  Except St. Catherine tells us that the souls in their greatest pain, cannot think of themselves.

To love God's Holy Will ...

I like purgatory.  I don't think it should be used to scare people or threaten them, nor do I think it should be taken lightly. I realize that in art, one strives to show the torments suffered, but I like the top image the very best - because it shows the love and devotion which sustains the Holy Souls.

We pray for them ...

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin." From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:
Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them. - CCC

All Souls Day

What if Luther is in purgatory?

I wonder about the wife?

After they married, Mr. and Mrs. Luther moved into the former Augustinian dormitory.  The wife immediately took on the task of administering and managing the vast holdings of the monastery, breeding and selling cattle, and running a brewery in order to provide for their family and the steady stream of students who boarded with them and visitors seeking audiences with her husband. In times of widespread illness, Katharina operated a hospital on site, ministering to the sick alongside other nurses. Luther called her the "boss of Zulsdorf," after the name of the farm they owned, and the "morning star of Wittenberg" for her habit of rising at 4 a.m. to take care of her various responsibilities. - source


I know!

Frau Luther 'the boss of Zulsdorf' ran a brewery.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Catholics and Lutherans can can now imbibe together ...

Catholics can now drink Luther-Bier!

The Holy Father in Sweden and the call to holiness.

Humbly regard others as more important than yourselves ...

Yesterday's reading from Mass consoled me, while so many online were once again questioning what the Pope was doing in Sweden and what he was saying.  It was a quiet consolation, an assurance that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church, and the Pope...
If there is any encouragement in Christ,
any solace in love,
any participation in the Spirit,
any compassion and mercy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love,
united in heart, thinking one thing.
Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory;
rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,
each looking out not for his own interests,
but also everyone for those of others. - Philippians
If there is any encouragement in Christ ...

Today the Holy Father offers considerations for six new beatitudes ... NOT changing Scripture, or adding to it, but offering a meditation - highlighting  our path with a deeper understanding of holiness in today's world.

The Beatitudes are in some sense the Christian’s identity card. They identify us as followers of Jesus. We are called to be blessed, to be followers of Jesus, to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus.
Thus we ought to be able to recognize and respond to new situations with fresh spiritual energy. Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others, and forgive them from their heart. Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized, and show them their closeness. Blessed are those who see God in every person, and strive to make others also discover him. Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home. Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others. Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians. All these are messengers of God’s mercy and tenderness, and surely they will receive from him their merited reward.
Dear brothers and sisters, the call to holiness is directed to everyone and must be received from the Lord in a spirit of faith. - source

The Holy Father keeps asking us not to sadden the Holy Spirit, not to put limits on God's merciful, not to impede the freedom of the children of God.  He opens hearts of those who listen - to recognize the dignity of each person, their freedom, and then to act, asking us to  'see God in every person, and strive to make others also discover him.'

Swedish cloistered nuns awaiting the Pope's arrival.

Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.

We are so often confused by media reports on what the Holy Father says and does, and Catholic social media is one of the most contentious places to follow what the Holy Father is saying and doing.  This Cardinal against Cardinal crap would be nothing if it wasn't for social media.  There has always been dissension in the Church, and in no other time is it more obvious than in time of reform.

That said, ordinary people do not have to obsess over what the Pope says and does.

Pope Francis' predecessors have confused many at times.  Benedict resigned, and is now kinda-sorta understood as a co-pope.  He gave communion to a Lutheran monk at the funeral of John Paul.  John Paul attended the Assisi peace gathering, kissed a Koran, was blessed by pagans, and so on.  People blame the Council for all of this.  That's not what the Church teaches about Vatican II though.  It is not a 'bad Council'.

So we don't understand everything, but we have the promises of Christ, and he will never abandon us, he will not leave us orphans, he cannot deceive nor be deceived.

So what to do when we don't understand, especially when everyone else seems to believe they know more than the Pope and the hierarchy, and are more Catholic than the Pope and the Ordinary Form?  That they are more holy than the Church?

Whatever the Pope is doing and saying may be at times difficult to understand or follow. It seems to me it is because his style is so spontaneous, immediate and personal, it inspires non-Catholics and fallen away Catholics in such a unique way, that it excites a genuine interest in Catholic practise and teaching.  With an open heart, he opens the hearts of those who hear him.

If I'm confused about something - it is usually because I'm reading negative commentary and speculative analysis on a pull-quote or soundbite attributed to the Pope.  If I genuinely do not understand something, I keep telling myself it will all work out.  I totally do not want to criticize the Holy Father.

To become disquieted over the daily reports on the Holy Father and his pastoral mission is not my responsibility.  I don't have to understand, explain, or defend the Pope.  As I explained to a trusted friend, 'I have a pretty simple spirituality - I repent every day, I pray, and do the best I can. I try. I have confidence in God, and not in man - and least of all, myself.'

Swedish rood screen.
Gotland-Oeja kyrka

Monday, October 31, 2016

It starts!

Although, Halloween is a sort of drill for the 3 Day's Darkness at my house. I close the shutters, turn off the lights and watch TV. I looked out around 7:30 PM and saw a stretch limo with a bunch of kids jumping out to converge on my block. I was terrified.

Something to think about tonight ...

Luther as the Devil's Bagpipesby Eduard Schoen, circa 1535.

Crime Family

-Stronger Together-

Happy Halloween!

The Pope is in Sweden ... I'm Swedish too!

Writing notes to one another
is a traditional Swedish custom
when meeting for the first time.
Afterwards they hug and kiss 
and drink Aquavit
and dance the 


This is my Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Aunt Kitty Nelson-Gustavsdotter Vasa:

Her maiden name was Katarina Gustavsdotter Vasa, Princess of Sweden.  But she went by Kitty Nelson.  (The Gustavsdotter - simply means she was the King's daughter - Gustavsdaughter in English.  If your name was Gustavsson - that would mean you were the King's son - or a descendant of Gustav - Like Craig Gustavson.)

A bit of trivia, all the males in Kitty's line use the surname Nelson, and curiously enough, they all continue to resemble her down to our day.  In fact, when I first viewed this portrait I thought it was my dad.

Isn't it odd?  I never boast about my royal heritage the way traditionalists like to do.   It doesn't add to my stature one bit.

Christmas will soon be here.

I know what's going to happen ...

The election will be so close, the Supreme Court will have to decide who won ...

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Norcia earthquake aftermath.

There was a lot more damage than the collapsed basilica.

Of course people know that, and of course people are concerned about the monks of Norcia, but there are many others who have lost home and livelihood - and all of their possessions.  A couple of news stories report on the many other religious in the area, now made homeless, saying the earthquake has turned religious life upside down.

In the case of the contemplative, cloistered Poor Clares, their religious life has been turned inside out.  It's very sad.  There is no hidden message or great sign to be made up about that.  The fact is, the earthquake has simply 'leveled the field' and made refugees of the homeless - religious and seculars alike.

Prayers for those affected, now homeless and displaced by the earthquakes.

O Maternal Refuge, Queen of the universe, 
Mediatrix of men to God, 
Refuge of all our hopes, 
have mercy on us. 

Norcia ... Today, the third and strongest quake ...

The Basilica and Cathedral are completely destroyed.

Fr. Z posted an email from the monks - they are all fine.  The priests of the community are out ministering the sacraments to those in need.

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed for victims of an earthquake that struck Italy near the town of Norcia on Sunday. The powerful temblor was felt as far away as Rome and Venice.
“I express my closeness to the people of central Italy,” the Pope said. “I pray for the wounded and the families that have suffered major damage; as well as for the personnel” involved in rescue efforts and in aiding the victims.
The Holy Father concluded his remarks with the prayer “May the Risen Lord give them strength, and the Madonna watch over them.” - finish reading here.

For those who see signs and portents in natural disasters, I wonder what they think of this?  It is the the third major earthquake and the Basilica collapsed completely.  For some, Norcia has been a symbol of the liturgical reform and return to the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite, as well as Benedictine monastic reform... or as some would have it, 'Norcia had become a center of revival for authentic Benedictine spirituality.'

If it had been another more progressive monastic church which collapsed, such as Enzo Bianchi's, Monastero di Bose, I would suspect many traditionalists might believe it was God's judgement on the liberal, ecumenical monastic community.  Maybe not.

I mention that because my first reaction was, 'what if this event was a sign that the Ordinary Form of Mass is still the Mass of all ages?'  Or something like that.  Just saying.  That's just dumb, however.  Although I did come across comments wondering; "if this geological earthquake isn’t related to the spiritual earthquake announced last week (replacement of the entire CDW)Perhaps even, the geological one is a manifestation of the spiritual one. The earth itself groans…"  So you see, I'm not the only one who wonders about signs.  We are all so accustomed to do that.

In the meantime, prayers for all of those who have lost so much; homes, livelihoods, and even their lives in these earthquakes.  I have no intention of making light of these disasters.  Perhaps the sign in these disasters is a call to repentance of sin and division - 'unless you repent, you will all come to the same end.'

I am reminded of the Assisi quake which destroyed a portion of the Sacro Convento Basilica.  Assisi recovered, but in the case of Norcia, with the basilica completely destroyed, recovery and rebuilding will be very difficult.  Art and architectural treasures are lost.

It is a sobering reality, as well as a useful meditation on the 'last things'.  I'm reminded of Teresa of Avila, who looked to the example of Clare of Assisi when 'reforming' Carmel - she so desired poverty and humble monasteries, which wouldn't make a big noise when they collapsed at the end of the world.  In the end, all will collapse.  Events such as these remind us of that.

That said, I'm praying with the Holy Father for the victims, the injured, the survivors, the rescue personnel, the religious and those priests ministering to those affected and involved in the rescue.

O Maternal Refuge, Queen of the universe, 
Mediatrix of men to God, 
Refuge of all our hopes, 
have mercy on us. Prayer of Bl. Elena Aiello

Film endings ...

Last scenes of Klute.
Bree Daniels was afraid she could never be faithful to Klute after he proposed, protesting:
He said: They don't scare me anymore.

Many years ago, Klute was one of the very last films I saw in theaters before "I left the world" so to speak ...

It was kind of prophetic.

But you spare all things, because they are yours,
O LORD and lover of souls,
for your imperishable spirit is in all things!
Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little,
warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing,
that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O LORD! - Wisdom