Saturday, December 17, 2016

Try not to think ill of anybody ...

I thought of that today.

This morning actually, while clearing snow.  It's easy to say when one is rejoicing, but when one is sad or feeling embittered, it is more difficult.  But only if you let it be.

St. Therese taught that if you already have those thoughts in your heart before you encounter difficult people, you are going to respond negatively - because your heart harbored ill thoughts beforehand.  I probably didn't say that very well, but you know what I mean, "For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."

I came across something yesterday about Pope Francis which contradicts all of his critics who claim he doesn't like priests.  He loves them.  He spent a great deal of time with his priests when he was Archbishop, I learned that after looking up Fr. Pepe, a priest the Pope is friends with, who works among the poor.  I felt badly because I also came across a negative post of someone speculating whether or not these priests abused the poor they served.  That became my impetus for meditating upon the maxim, "never think ill of anyone."

As we get close to Christmas, the joy is palpable - even amid sadness and suffering and difficulties - even when fully conscious of one's sins - Christ is there - standing, gazing at us through the lattice of all that distracts us, waiting for us to look, to see him there.

So let's stop thinking negatively of the pope, the president, the gays, priests and bishops, divorced and unmarried and whatever, the liberals or conservatives, and so on.  Let's stop projecting or predicting this or that evil to come - as if we are meteorologists predicting severe storms.  Let's quit denigrating others and their families and their simple existence, as if anyone different from us is fair game to mock and scorn and condemn and hate.  Or at least give people a break during the holidays.

You can't keep Christmas well when you harbor uncharitable thoughts - even though you think you are doing so to save souls.  Think how strange that sounds - sort of Jihadist, don't you agree?

Pray for joy, not vain joy in things or status or accomplishment or virtue - but that joy that is deep and pure and freeing - the joy of the Holy Spirit.  Freedom of spirit.

Live and let live.  Be holy and everything else will fall in place.  Even if they kill you for it.

Pope Francis ... Happy Birthday!

December 17 begins the O antiphons, so here is the first: "O mi papa!  Happy Birthday!"

All he wants is prayers and love.  He has mine.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Life is beautiful.

It's all worth it!

Aren't you happy?

I am.

I have such a deep joy today.  I don't have any thing to rejoice in - I have no merits, no accomplishments, no virtues, no nothing to boast of or really celebrate, but I began the Christmas novena today, simply using the prayer of the Church - the Collect.

What joy is contained in the Church!  The Church, the communion of believers, the People of God and the Pope and the bishops and priests and religious and laity.  At the heart of the Church is love, peace and joy - open to all.  There are a lot of people who never go to church except on Christmas ... because of that joy, open to all - no matter who.  It's all good.  Even if you are down and out, confused, drunk or high - if you want to go to Mass on Christmas - go.  Go up to the Nativity and see the Infant who loves us, each of us.

Go.  The Infant Jesus receives each of us, just as we are.

I will sleep and rest in peace because You, O Lord, and only You, have secured my hope.

Him like...

My God, I’m so persuaded that You watch over all who hope in You and nothing can be lacking to those who await from You all things, that I have determined to live from now on without any concern, letting go and giving You all of my anxieties. I will sleep and rest in peace because You, O Lord, and only You, have secured my hope.
Men can deprive me of possessions and reputation; illnesses can take away my strength and means to serve You; I myself can lose Your grace because of sin; but I will not lose my hope; I will conserve it until the last instant of my life and all the efforts from demons trying to take it away from me will be useless. I will sleep and rest in peace. 
Others may expect happiness in their riches and talents; some may lean on the innocence of their lives, or the rigor of their penitence, or above all on the amount of their good works, or the fervor of their prayers. As for myself Lord, all my confidence is my confidence itself. Because You Lord, only You have secured my hope. 
No one has been deceived by this confidence. No one who has waited in the Lord has been frustrated in their confidence.
Therefore, I am sure that I will be eternally happy because I firmly hope to be; and because You, Oh, My God, are in Whom I expect all. In You I hope Lord, and never will I be confused.
I know very well . . . too well that I am fragile and inconstant, I know well the power of temptations against the most firm virtue; I have seen thestars fall from heaven and columns from the firmament; but none of this can frighten me. As long as I maintain firm my hope, I will be conserved from all calamities; and I am sure to hope always, because I hope the same in this unchanging hope.
In conclusion, I am sure that I cannot hope in excess in You and that I will receive all that I would have hoped for in You. Therefore, I know You will sustain me on the most rapid and slippery slopes, that You will strengthen me against the assaults and make my weakness triumph over the most tremendous enemies.

I hope You will always love me and I will love you without interruption; to take once and for all my hope as far as it can reach. I hope in You and only in You! Oh, My Creator! In time and for all eternity.  Amen.
- St. Claude

Once again, snow in Minneapolis, and very cold.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

I like it ... you know, what the Pope says about clericalism and narcissism ...

If St. Christopher was a Cardinal.

Today I was amused by what Fr. Hunwicke had to say about it.

I don't read him, but he looks delightful and when others quote him, I appreciate his wit.  Today Fr. Z links to him and reprints a bit of Fr. H's impressions about clericalism.  It really is very interesting and like I said, pleasantly amusing.

My sense is that laity maybe taking the blame for clericalism, even Fr. Longnecker suggests they are to blame... to some extent.  Because, as he points out, traditionally, we laymen esteem our priests and tend to be even more impressed by our bishops - especially when the wear long cappas.  Yet the esteem is due to them, because they are ordained ministers, they act in persona Christi, they are consecrated, set apart.  Catholics understand that.  That's not clericalism.

However, if a priest 'courts' honors and esteem, if he prides himself on it, if he rejoices vainly in it - I think that's narcissism.  The laity didn't make him a narcissist.  Liturgical vestments - Baroque or Gothic or plain - do not a narcissist make.  These belong to the patrimony of the Church.  However, if a priest layers expensive clothing upon his ordinary clerical-wear, and models and parades about to impress others with his taste and style and the expense of fine tailoring, that's vain and narcissistic.  (FYI: Beaver fur Saturnos start at $495* - if you wear an expensive hat you probably need expensive shoes with buckles, and cashmere cappas, as well as a nice car or at least a fine portantina to get around in.  So now we are getting closer to clericalism.)

As the Pope said today: People who went out to John The Baptist, "weren’t looking for men dressed in fine vestments, because people like that are found in the palaces of kings – “or sometimes of Bishops,” the Pope added."

Clericalism can be rigid, but it isn't always.  Many 'novus ordo' clergy can be said to be guilty of the same defects.  It isn't limited to traditionalists.  Protestant ministers can be guilty of it as well as new age women priests.

For me, clericalism is perhaps best exemplified in the Gospel of the man born blind ... The Pharisees when questioning the man, replied to his challenge, saying to him, “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw him out.

The passage of the woman at the well may also help illustrate the meaning a bit better ... The disciples returned to find Jesus speaking to a woman, a Samaritan, and though it isn't clearly stated that they were scandalized, it's clear from their first reaction they looked down upon the woman.  "At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, “What are you looking for?” or “Why are you talking with her?

I may be wrong, of course.

I like these discussion though.  I just don't think people need to be so offended by it.  Why would anyone think the Pope is talking about anyone in particular when he discusses these things?  Although it is certainly his place to warn against these problems.

If Dom Deluise was a Cardinal.

*Correction: I'm told you can get a Beaver fur Saturno for as low as $120-.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Abbey Roads is in for some big changes after the Holidays.

Monsignor just sent me this photo of
the tree decorating party.

I was told that my news updates are so valuable that I could have been as big as Ann Barnhardt if I hadn't used so many gifs in my posts.  I'm told people just don't take me seriously, which is sad, because I have a lot of inside information on Vaticano stuff - what goes on behind the scenes.


Action Alert! The Hamilton Electors have until December 19 ...

Alexander Hamilton, First President of the American Theater.

What if the election was overturned?

My biggest regret would be that it could turn out that Charlie Johnston's prophecies are correct.


Seriously, 40 Electors are asking for a briefing on the Russian interference/influence in the 2016 election.  There is a website for that too - Hamilton Electors.   The Hamilton Electors claim is this:

The United States was set up as a republic. Alexander Hamilton provided a blueprint for states’ votes. Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence. Mr. Trump shows us again and again that he does not meet these standards. Given his own public statements, it isn’t clear how the Electoral College can ignore these issues, and so it should reject him. - Snowflake Press

Saturnos are spinning!


Song for this post here.

Ad Orientem, Facing East, Mass Facing the Lord.

Ad orientem 

Catholics know what that means.

Cardinal Burke recently celebrated Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse ad orientem.  I like that.  He celebrated the Ordinary Form that way.  I like that.  Facing the Lord is a term, sometimes understood as facing the tabernacle, facing East from whence comes the Lord at the End Times - so it's Biblical, since in the Canticle of Zechariah the Church prays, "In the tender compassion of God, the Orient from on high shall break upon us", and so on.

For Catholics, it's the natural way of prayer - the super-natural way: the priest officiates, offers Mass, to the Lord - so he directs our prayer - he leads our prayer, therefore we are focused upon God.  With the priest, we face towards the Lord.  I'm not using liturgically correct language here, but for me this way of assisting or hearing Mass, is the highest form of active participation in the liturgical rite - be it Extraordinary Form or Ordinary Form.  There is no better way to enter into the Mystery, deeply recollected and mindful of what is going on.

There are parishes in this archdiocese that celebrate Mass this way.

I love the way Cardinal Burke acts in this case, he simply celebrates Mass ad orientem.  No fanfare, no contest.  It seems to me this can be done quietly and devoutly, without calling attention to oneself.

Mass facing the congregation or in the middle of a community can also be devout and recollected, but a prayerful disposition is more conducive and facilitated by the celebration of Mass ad orientem.

It has nothing to do with clericalism or rigidity.

Advent Saints: St. John of the Cross

Contrary to what many may think, St.John of the Cross was not at all rigid.
See that you are not suddenly saddened by the adversities of this world, for you do not know the good they bring, being ordained in the judgments of God for the everlasting joy of the elect. - Maxims

Happy feast day! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I wanted to say, "You know very well what the Holy Father means ..."

Dissimulation in the blogisterium.

Comments I've received, as well as the few posts I've read complaining about how mean and nasty and insulting and gossipy and mocking and sneering the Pope has been, by people who do exactly the same thing to those who disagree with them.  One writer extrapolated what the Pope said in his anecdote about a seminarian trying on a cappa to demonstrate the Pope thinks of women who want to be priests.  

They miss the whole point because they are busy straining the gnat.  Elsewhere, another commenter asked if it is rigid to oppose this or that sin and misdeed which pundits claim the Church now approves.  Again - missing the point on what it means to avoid rigidity.  These discussions are futile when one's mind is made up that the Pope is the enemy - and those who believe that feed at the troughs of anti-papist Catholic bloggers.

People want answers?

The Pope has explained - he explains it over and over and over.  He warns against narcissism, clericalism, and the arrogance of authority to wield over others, to exclude and demean.

The example of the anonymous seminarian trying on clerical clothing in a Roman shop is clearly an anecdote, stated as a precaution against narcissism and clericalism.  Yet the sensitive and those who love such things take offense, assuming the Pope condemns tradition.  Their claim is absurd, since the teaching of the Catholic Church is steeped in tradition - the Pope is continually emphasizing this in his pastoral work - leaving all to follow Christ, going out to the poor, those on the margins, the abandoned, the lonely, the orphan and widow - single mothers - the lame and the sick, and so on.  Yet people ignore that, condemn it, critique it, and dissemble everything the Holy Father says, as if he is out to undermine the faith.

They know better.  Or they should.

It's about clericalism.  They know it.  They know it in their bones.

The evil of clericalism can still be found in the Church today

“A humble people, discarded and beaten by these people.” Even today, the Pope observed, this sometimes happens in the Church. “There is that spirit of clericalism,” he explained: “Clerics feel they are superior, they are far from the people”; they have no time to hear the poor, the suffering, prisoners, the sick”:
The evil of clericalism is a very ugly thing! It is a new edition of these people. And the victim is the same: the poor and humble people that awaits the Lord. The Father has always sought to be close to us: He sent His Son. We are waiting, waiting in joyful expectation, exulting. But the Son didn’t join the game of these people: The Son went with the sick, the poor, the discarded, the publicans, the sinners – and that is scandalous – the prostitutes. Today, too, Jesus says to all of us, and even to those who are seduced by clericalism: “The sinners and the prostitutes will go before you into the Kingdom of Heaven.” - Today's homily

Of course, I could be wrong.  

Don't be mad.

Happy Holidays!

Holiday Traditions Explained: When St. Nicholas slapped that heretic Arius ...

Traditional Catholics love that story - nothing wrong with that!

But it was probably more like this ...

A pussy cat slap.

Season's Greetings!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Am I not here, your Mother?

“Celebrating Mary is, above all, to remember our Mother, to remember that we are not and never will be an orphan people. We have a Mother!... And where there is the Mother, brothers may quarrel but a sense of unity will always prevail.” - Pope Francis

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Empress of the Americas, Queen and Mother

Holy Mary of Guadalupe, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mother of the Americas, pray for us.

Holy Mary, Perfect and Ever-Virgin, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mother of the True God, pray for us.

Holy Mary, Mother of those who cry to thee and search for thee, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mother who cures all our pains, miseries and sorrows, pray for us.

Good St. Joseph, pray for us.
St. Juan Diego, pray for us. 
All Angels and Saints, pray for us.  

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Gaudete in Aleppo

Notice the rose color in the foreground?

What did you go out to the desert to see?

See how crabby he looks?
That would be me if I had
to wear a hairshirt or
a tunic made of reeds.

In my short stay in the monastery, I often used to ponder this passage from Today's Gospel.  When things got hard, or just didn't go my way, I thought about it.  I still think about it frequently - because things rarely seem to go 'my way'.

As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. - Matthew 11:7-8

I think of Walter Ciszek many times, when things are difficult.  I copied the following from 'He Leadeth Me' by Fr. Ciszek, for an older post, and reprint it here.

It seems to me Fr. Ciszek is an excellent model and help for the Christian, on how to conduct himself in a hostile environment.

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

 Another fine Jesuit witness is that of Alfred Delp.

"[T]he great question to us is whether we are still capable of being truly shocked or whether it is to remain so that we see thousands of things and know that they should not be and must not be, and that we get hardened to them. How many things have we become used to in the course of the years, of the weeks and months, so that we stand unshocked , unstirred, inwardly unmoved..
Advent is a time when we ought to be shaken and brought to a realization of ourselves. The necessary condition for the fulfillment of Advent is the renunciation of the presumptuous attitudes and alluring dreams in which and by means of which we always build ourselves imaginary worlds. In this way we force reality to take us to itself by force - by force, in much pain and suffering..
This shocked awakening is definitely part of experiencing Advent. But at the same time there is much more that belongs to it. Advent is blessed with God's promises, which constitute the hidden happiness of this time. These promises kindle the inner light in our hearts. Being shattered, being awakened - only with these is life made capable of Advent. In the bitterness of awakening, in the helplessness of "coming to," in the wretchedness of realizing our limitations, the golden threads that pass between heaven and earth in these times reach us." - Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J.

"Saint Ignatius in Glory and the Work of the Jesuits "  
- Battistello Caracciolo

Snow in Minneapolis

Him like snow!

It looks like 10" in my backyard looking at the little hats on the garden figures ... but the stairs indicate it is only about 7".  I love it and can't wait to get out to remove it and make little paths for the rabbits.

Dogs love snow too.  They love to play in it and roll around, and, and, bark.

Look Dick!

See Spot!

Spot play!

Him like!