Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ganswein stated he never said that.

(File photo)

Rumors of Benedict XVI being close to death circulated on social media following a quote attributed to Ganswein, which reads, “Pope Benedict is like a candle that fades slowly. He is serene, at peace with God, with himself and the world. He can no longer walk without help and can no longer celebrate Mass.”
He never said that.
Archbishop Ganswein called this quote “pure invention.”
“It is false and wrong! I would like to know who the author of this is,” he said, according to German media outlet kath.net.
“I have received in the last two days many messages that refer to this phrase, and people are worried,” he said.
Last week, Ratzinger’s brother was at the Vatican to visit, and he has now returned home, Ganswein confirmed, adding, “Both had a good time.” - CNA

“It is false and wrong! I would like to know who the author of this is."

I'll tell you Georg, Church Militant spread the rumor here.

Drama Queen ...

Cardinal Raymond Burke leaving the church of St. Dunstan's in Canterbury, England, 
after praying at the burial place of the relic of the head of St. Thomas More, Oct. 15, 2017.
Story here.

I think Cardinal Burke really likes drama.  He has a gift for theatrics.  Just an observation - not a criticism.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Archbishop Georg Gänswein asks us to pray for Pope Benedict ...

A friend sent me this:

His Eminence, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household and personal secretary to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, asks the world to pray for the Holy Father. His Eminence states that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI “is like a candle which is slowly, serenely fading. He is serene, at peace with God, himself and the world. He is unable to walk without assistance and is no longer able to celebrate Mass.”

Sainte Marguerite-Marie Alacoque

« Ô très amoureux Coeur de mon unique amour Jésus, ne pouvant Vous aimer, honorer et glorifier selon l’étendue du désir que Vous m’en donnez, j’invite le ciel et la terre de le faire pour moi ; et je m’unis à ces ardents séraphins pour Vous aimer.

Ô Coeur tout brûlant d’amour, que n’enflammez-Vous le ciel et la terre de Vos plus pures flammes pour en consommer tout ce qu’ils enserrent, afin que toutes les créatures ne respirent que votre Amour !

Changez-moi tout en Coeur pour Vous aimer, en me consommant dans Vos plus vives ardeurs.

Ô Feu divin, ô Flammes toutes pures du Coeur de mon unique amour Jésus, brûlez-moi sans pitié, consommez-moi sans résistance !

Ô Amour du ciel et de la terre, venez, venez tout dans mon Coeur pour me réduire en cendres !

Ô Feu dévorant de la Divinité, venez, venez fondre sur moi !

Brûlez-moi, consommez-moi au milieu de Vos plus vives flammes, qui font vivre ceux qui y meurent.

Ainsi soit-il ! »  - Sainte Marguerite-Marie Alacoque (1647-1690)

A Letter of St. Margaret Mary 

Would that I could tell all I know about this lovable devotion and reveal to the whole world the treasures of graces which Jesus Christ keeps in his adorable Heart and wishes to shower with profusion on all those who will practise it ! Yes, I am certain that if people knew how pleasing this devotion is to Jesus Christ, there would not be a Christian with so little love for this lovable Saviour as not to practise it at once. It is perfectly clear that there is no one in the world who would not receive every kind of help from Heaven if he had a truly grateful love for Jesus Christ. It is such a love one shows by practising devotion to his Sacred Heart.  -  St. Margaret Mary, L. 141 to her Spiritual Director

Most amiable Jesus, 
You who let Yourself be crushed 
under the weight of the sins of the world, 
receive our love. 
I particularly adore the holy wound of your open side, 
your Transfixed Heart. 
Be our refuge; 
it is through your Holy Wounds 
that we are healed.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Blood and water, flowing forth from the side of Christ ...

Confession: manifestation of God's mercy

"The soul also receives Baptism in another way, speaking in figurative terms, by special providence of my divine love. I was well aware of human fragility and weakness, that leads human beings to offend me. Persons are not constrained by this nor by any other thing to commit the fault, if they do not wish, but being weak they commit mortal sins, thus losing the grace they received in holy baptism by virtue of the Blood. For this reason it was necessary that Divine Love should make available a continual baptism of the Blood. This baptism comes about through a contrite heart and through confession of sins to a priest, when possible, for they have the keys of the Blood, the Blood the priest pours upon the soul when he absolves the person. If some one is unable to confess, contrition of heart is sufficient. Then my mercy bestows on you the fruit of this precious Blood, but if you can confess I want you to do so, and whoever being able does not confess, will remain deprived of the benefit of the Blood. However, it is true that whoever, at the moment of death wants to confess and is unable to do it, he likewise shall receive the fruit of the Blood. But let nobody be so foolish at life's end, hoping to set his soul in order, because it is not certain that I, due to his obstinacy, may say in consonance with my divine justice: "You did not remember me during your life, when you had time. I do not remember you now at the point of death!"
Let no one procrastinate it, but even if there should be somebody who has wilfully done so, he ought not omit baptizing himself with hope in the Blood even if it were the last day. You see then how this baptism is continual and the soul must be baptized in it until life's end, as I have indicated. Through this baptism you can understand that the torment of the cross ended, but the fruit of this torment, which you received from me is infinite. This is due to my infinite divine nature, united to finite human nature. This human nature suffered in me, Word, clothed with your humanity. Since one nature is joined and kneaded with the other, the eternal divinity brought upon itself the torment which I bore with such ardent love.
That is why this my action can be said to be infinite, not because the torment suffered bodily is infinite, nor the torment of my desire of accomplishing your redemption, which really finished and came to an end on the cross when the soul was separated from the body. But the fruit that sprang from that torment and the desire for your salvation are infinite. That is the reason why you can unsparingly receive this fruit. If it had not been infinite then humanity would not have been redeemed: people of the past, the present and the future. It would not have been possible for persons who sin to be purified from their sins, if this baptism of blood had not been offered without measure, because the fruit of the Blood is infinite.
I showed you this in my open side, where you discover the secret of my heart: namely, that I love you much more than what I could show you with the finite torment. I have shown you that my love is infinite. In what way? With the baptism of the Blood, joined to the fire of my charity, that out of love was poured out; and through baptism, understood in the common sense, given to Christians, to whoever wishes to receive it, baptism of water joined to blood and to fire, in which the soul is kneaded with my blood. To show you all this I wanted blood and water to flow forth from my side. Now I have answered your request." - St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church: The Dialogue LXXV
Oh God, You showed St. Catherine the infinite love which burns in Your Heart for all Your human creatures. She generously shared this revelation and imitated its consequences to a heroic degree. Grant that we may follow her example, trusting in Your promises and increasing our faith in Your presence in every sacrament, especially in the sacrament of Your forgiveness. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord...... Amen.

Tres Beatos Niños de Tlaxcala, Cristóbal, Antonio y Juan, protomártires de América

"Soon we shall reach the wedding feast!" - Words of S. Catherine of Siena
to Niccolo di Tuldo moments before his execution.  The wedding garments of
the martyrs and the penitents are washed in the Blood of the Lamb...
Christ receives their "blood into his own blood."

So many martyrs canonized today.
The newly-declared saints include 30 so-called “Martyrs of Natal,” who were killed in 1645 in a wave of anti-Catholic persecution by Dutch Calvinists in Natal, Brazil.
Also from Latin America was a group of three indigenous martyrs from Mexico - Cristobal, Antonio and Juan - known as the “Child Martyrs of Tlaxcala.” Aged between 12 and 13, they were among the first indigenous Catholics of Mexico, murdered between 1527 and 1529 for refusing to renounce their faith and return to their ancient ‎traditions.‎ - Vatican Radio
This is a great sign.

The Pope is the Pope.  The Church is Catholic.  One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. 

Love is the only way to defeat evil
This is what love does, the Pope said, because this is the only way that evil is defeated.
And inviting us all to live in true love and “practice” love every day, Francis said “the Saints who were canonized today, and especially the many martyrs, point the way: They did not say a fleeting ‘yes’ to love; they said they ‘yes’ with their lives and to the very end”.
At Baptism, he concluded, we received a white robe, the wedding garment for God: Let us ask him, through the intercession of the saints, our brothers and sisters, for the grace to decide daily to put on this garment and to keep it spotless” by approaching the Lord fearlessly in order to receive his forgiveness”.
“This is the one step that counts, for entering into the wedding hall to celebrate with him the feast of love” he said. - VR

S. Teresa de Jesus

Aparición de Cristo crucificado a santa Teresa de Jesús 
Aparición de Cristo Salvador a santa Teresa de Jesús
Alonso Cano (1601-1667)

Happy feast day to all Carmelites and those named Terry!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

On the Dissolution of Monasteries: Kloster Himmerod closing after 900 years.

This is sad.
A Cistercian monastery that's existed for almost 900 years in what is now western Germany is closing down for good, due in part to a shortage of monks.

The Himmerod Abbey was founded in 1134 by the French abbot Bernard of Clairvaux.

But it had just six resident monks before the closure that was decided this week. That's down from about 30 monks in the 1970s. - Vatican Radio
Modern times.

Catholics online will invariably point to the decline in religious vocations, especially monastic vocations, blaming the changes since Vatican II and especially the liturgical reform.  Save the liturgy save the world - save vocations.  You think.  I'm not so sure.  I'm not an expert, but I think the problem has more to do with modern times and affluence than liturgical ritual.  Monastic discipline and community life just isn't that attractive to younger people, when you can be just as holy living in a house with a great job as a single person - or a married man.  Why, you can even brew your own monastic beer right in your own kitchen.  You can travel at will, and do anything you want, and become a saint too.

I'm being a tad facetious, but I'm not the only one who thinks this way.  A friend directed me to a Crisis article on the subject of vocations by Br. Justin Hannegan, titled Sacrificing Religious Life On the Altar of Egalitarianism.
What happened to religious vocations? Some commentators blame heterodoxy within American orders. Others blame our glitzy, debauched culture. Still others blame a prevailing spiritual malaise amongst Catholics. But there is another cause for the vocations crisis that commentators fail to recognize: vocations directors, counselors, and authors, despite their best intentions, systematically undermine religious vocations.
Suppose that you are considering religious life. Today’s vocations counselors will advise you to search your heart for a desire to live religious life; and they will tell you that if you don’t find this desire you are probably not called.
The prevailing opinion amongst those who talk and write about discernment is that God calls men and women to religious life by placing an innate desire for religious life in their hearts. If you have no such desire, it is unlikely that you are called.
This advice, although it looks harmless on the surface, ends up thwarting religious vocations. Men and women who prayerfully examine their desires almost never find a strong desire for religious life lodged in the depths of their hearts. Religious life, in itself, is not a desirable good. Religious life is a renunciation. It is a kind of death. It involves turning one’s back on what is humanly good and desirable. 
Consider the life of a Trappist. A Trappist monk deprives himself of sleep, deprives himself of food, gives up a wife and children, puts aside the joys of conversation, gives up his personal property, rises at 4:00 in the morning every day to chant interminable psalms in a cold church, loses the opportunity to travel, and even relinquishes his own will. The thought of being a Trappist is not an appealing thought. It instills a kind of dread—the sort of dread that we feel when we contemplate a skull, or when we stand over a precipice, or when we look across a barren landscape. All forms of religious life have this repulsive effect. All forms of religious life, at their very core, consist of three vows—poverty, chastity, and obedience—and each of these vows is repulsive. The vow of poverty means giving up money and property; the vow of chastity means giving up a spouse and children; and the vow of obedience means giving up one’s own will. No one has an innate desire to sever himself from property, family, and his own will. No one has an innate desire to uproot three of life’s greatest goods. Such a desire would be mere perversion. - Read the rest here.

Religious life goes against nature, one sacrifices one's very self to follow Christ.  One has an innate desire for union with Christ, and to be sure, there is a universal call to holiness, but religious life is  total abnegation.  It's different.  It really is a higher calling, 'many are called' but few choose to follow.  I'm not sure the devil induces many to leave religious life, I think it may be man's concupiscence following legitimate goods, preferring a comfortable life to a difficult one.  As Hannegan said:
If we want to revitalize religious life, we need to rethink our methodology. We need to stop telling people to look within their hearts for an innate desire for religious life. They have no such desire. Instead of asking people whether they desire religious life, we should ask them whether they desire salvation—whether they desire to become saints. If sanctity is the goal, then religious life and all its harrowing renunciations begin to make sense. Although religious life is the hardest, most fearsome way to live, it is also the most spiritually secure, most fruitful, and most meritorious. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux tells us that because they renounce property, family, and their own wills, religious “live more purely, they fall more rarely, they rise more speedily, they are aided more powerfully, they live more peacefully, they die more securely, and they are rewarded more abundantly.” - ibid
It is too bad the abbey is closing, having survived the Reformation.  It will be transferred to the Diocese of Trier now, which isn't much of a guarantee for preservation.  Collectors of religious artifacts and antiquities might want to make inquiries.  Too sad.

Available for weddings and Mystery Dinner theater parties.
Hotel and spa opening soon.

Friday, October 13, 2017

High School Reunion

Dancing to the Beach Boys.

I'm glad I didn't go now.

Friends are posting photos on their Facebook pages and almost all of those photographed looked old.  I recognized one woman who maintained her youthful beauty, posing with some old guys I thought must have been faculty members - turns out they were students.  For the most part, I was only able to recognize one or two people I actually knew.  Then it dawned on me, I didn't really know that many kids at school in the first place.  Oh!  Oh!  And the lights were so bright.  I thought they could have at least kept the place dim.  Everyone looks better in dim light.

Not sure what was happening here.

Or here.  I don't recognize any of them.

Now I'm thinking I was never in their class - in more ways than one, I guess.  What?  I'm so kidding.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hollywood corruption and Trump-family values ...

Just some thoughts.

"They're all pigs." Katherine Hepburn said that in an interview years ago when speaking of Hollywood.

She would never have been surprised by Harvey Weinstein's sexual exploits which have made headlines this past week. It kills me that grown-ups in the United States appear to be so outraged. Just a week ago, most of the eulogies for Hugh Hefner pretty much condemned Hefner as the most wicked man who ever lived. We Puritan Americans really love to get on our high horse to condemn pigs - dead or alive - acting so shocked by their slutty behavior. Yet we elected a pig as president. As I noted a few days ago on Facebook:

Trump has made the presidency a prime-time soap like Dynasty. He's turned it into a reality show - after so many fell for this guy's shtick - and continue to do so. Everyone got on their high horse about how evil Hugh Hefner was and yet Donald Trump has been the Sorcerer's Apprentice all along, perfecting the art of deception. The Ken-doll of the American dream - he's glamorized adultery, and has used his women to enhance his celebrity, and now the first wives club are fighting over him like Crystal and Alexis on Jerry Springer. He stages everything and everyone around him like a cheap reality show. They live like European royalty, and pretend to that type of status, and are concerned only with money, power, and prestige - he's turned the presidency into a family business for personal gain and interest. Talk about defacing the flag, disrespecting our country - I'm ashamed of the entire family, I'm ashamed of the entire administration.

Yeah.  So I had a knee jerk reaction to Trump's wives twittering online, posting my own indignation on my Facebook page for all to see.  Yeah, well.  No one cares.

That said, many of us with or without a past could/should be ashamed of ourselves as well, acting all holier than thou about this stuff when it leads the news. It seems to me this is the definition of corruption - rotten to the core.  

I doubt these behaviors are limited to Hollywood executives and political leaders.  In fact we know they aren't.  It happened to me when I was younger and dumber working in visual merchandising.  Over the years, friends and acquaintances have told me similar stories - equally as lurid.  Men and women told me of their 'involvement' - sometimes they had been the predator. 

I'm not saying we can't condemn bad behavior when we see it or come to know about it, but we need to be honest with ourselves and others, and we need to stop being so annoyingly self righteous about it.  Religious people and secular people can be equally self righteous.  Lately secular moralists are just as bad if not worse than the religious people they condemn, hypocritically calling out their political opponents for their vile immorality.  It's called 'virtue signalling' - and on Facebook, it has a way of sucking you in.  

Facebook is dangerous.

We cannot manipulate God.

Many Catholics expect some sort of great sign tomorrow.

October 13 is the centenary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima in 1917.  The 100 years 'prophecies' have nothing to do with the original message of Our Lady at Fatima, the idea that something bad will happen if Our Lady's request weren't fulfilled just exactly like 'we' expected then to be.  The 100 years mark is based upon the the story of the consecration of France to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  It was delayed by a hundred years and voila - the king is dead and the French Revolution happened.  It's not 'wrong' to make comparisons and speculate that since times are bad - something worse may happen.  Or, why not something great and wonderful like a miracle - again?  It could happen.

I suppose - but is that how God works?

We want to call down fire from heaven, but is that what God wants?  Or should he do what we say and want and take revenge upon all the wicked?  Or should he make a miracle so that everyone will believe?  That happened at Fatima, and many, many believed.  Likewise many did not - and humanity went from bad to worse.  So much worse, that people refused to believe men were capable of such atrocities, so we now have people who deny the holocaust, or try to blame it on the devil - unwilling to believe men can do evil all on their own. 

We need to get real.

We need to stop putting words in God's mouth and inventing new messages from Our Lady and making ourselves out to be co-prophets.  I don't think that is what Fatima or the faith is all about.

It bears repeating ...

Keep the following in mind regarding Fatima and private revelations:

"What matters is the public message ... Sr. Lucia was charged not only to transmit a secret to the Pope, but also to make known to all the world a public message."  - Cardinal Ottaviani, 11 February 1967

Concerning the content of the secret, Sr. Lucia explained, "The part necessary for the people to know was already known since 1917."

So what was essential to be known was already known in 1917.
"This had all been said in 1917, that is, that men must amend their lives, that they must not offend God, that he is already much offended." - Sr. Lucia
Anything more, or demanding this or that be revealed, or waiting in anticipation for some Divine intervention to rapture the faithful out of a crumbling world, seems to me to border upon presumption and tempting God. 
We must be guided humanly and visibly in all by the law of Christ the man and that of his Church and of his ministers. This is the method of remedying our spiritual ignorances and weakness; here we shall find abundant medicine for them all. Any departure from this road is ... extraordinary boldness ... one must ever adhere to Christ's teaching. - John of the Cross
In Chapter 21 of Book II of the Ascent, St. John goes on to say that God is displeased by the request for revelations and locutions, despite the fact that some believe their curiosity to know these things is good because God has revealed himself in this manner in the past. St. John asserts that God is not pleased, saying not only is he displeased, he is 'frequently angered and deeply offended.' The following may well apply to the inordinate curiosity some have regarding the secret of Fatima, a morbid inquiry which may likewise displease God:
The reason lies in the illicitness of transcending the natural boundaries God has established for the governing of creatures. He has fixed natural and rational limits by which man is to be ruled. A desire to transcend them, hence, is unlawful... consequently, God who is offended ... is displeased. - John of the Cross
 It is also important to keep in mind the precautions of St. Hannibale Maria di'Francia:

My dear father, to consider any expression of the private revelations as dogma or propositions near of faith is always imprudent! The mistakes could amount to thousands. Poulain substantiates this fact with examples of saints we venerate on the altars. It is not surprising because the visions or the news undergoes some modifications while passing through human channels… Aptitudes and dispositions may not be the same: a psychological, moral spiritual, physical event can modify them, hindering the spiritual enlightenment from shining perfectly in the soul. Thus the person is unaware of circumstances, details or propositions, and is mistaken involuntarily. In fact, everything is received through and according to the subject.
This is proved by experience, by the mystical theologians, such as St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa, Castrotevere, Poulain, etc. By prudence and reason we cannot accept all the words of revelations as they were propositions near to the faith; still less when they are contrary to the authoritative opinion of renowned writers and to the simple, beneficial devotion of the saints. - Source

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Monsignor Pope: The times are urgent.

Now this is the commentary/homily on last Sundays Gospel I was pretty much looking for ... kinda-sorta.

I would like to reflect on Sunday’s parable of the vineyard owner to see its application to our times. Here is a brief summary:
A landowner set forth a vineyard with great care and lavish attention. He then entrusted it to tenant farmers. At harvest time, he sought his share of the produce. Yet instead of giving the owner what was due him, the tenant farmers refused, ridiculing, beating, and even killing the servants sent to collect his share. They end by killing the landowner’s own son.
When Jesus asks his audience what they thought the owner would do in response, they replied that he would put the men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who would give him the produce at the proper time. Obviously, they did not realize that in the parable the Lord was actually describing them, and that such a judgment would be upon them unless they repented.
This is not merely a story told to illustrate a moral point. It had an actual historical fulfillment and remains a “real-world scenario” even today. The vineyard set forth with love and great care was Israel. God was the landowner, who gave them the land, protected them with His law, and sustained them with His love and providence. The servants who called for the fruits represented the prophets. Jesus Himself is the son whom they kill. Even in spite of this crime, God allowed Israel 40 biblical years to repent and come to believe in Him, sending forth apostles, evangelists, and teachers to convince them. Still, there was a collective and obstinate refusal to believe in Jesus, the Messiah sent to save. So, in A.D. 70, God permitted the unrepentant people to wage a foolish war against the Romans. The result was that the Romans conquered Jerusalem, utterly destroying it and the Temple. According to Josephus, 1.2 million Jewish people lost their lives in that terrible war. 
The parable was a true warning of the destruction that was sure to come unless repentance and faith replaced the obstinate refusal to obey and believe. It is tragic that things were so bad that God had to act drastically in order to reset the moral and spiritual order, to and save even a few.
I would argue, based on prophecy, that we are nearing such a time now and that we must urgently pray for both mercy and repentance. The warnings and prophecies of Our Lady in the past one hundred years have become more urgent and even dire. - read the rest here.

St. John XXIII

John XXIII went as a pilgrim to the Holy House of Loreto
to pray for the Second Vatican Council.

The fires in California

All I can do is pray.

It is a terrible sight, an awful reality.  People losing absolutely everything - getting out with the clothes on their back in some cases. 

I'm not linking to any news stories just because it is already the top story everywhere else.  I wouldn't dare connect this to any type of prophecy - none of that makes any difference when one is in the midst of such devastation.  No soothsayers necessary.

Pray and get aid to those suffering - that is what is needed.

Our Lady of the Fire
Beata Vergine del Fuoco

O Lord, You miraculously protected and preserved the image of the Mother of Your beloved Son from the destruction of fire. Grant that through her merits and intercession, we may escape the fire of hell thanks to the fire of Your love. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Maybe something really is happening?

Our Lady of Candelaria by Cristóbal Hernández de Quintana. 
The shrine of the Virgin of Candelaria can be found on the island Tenerife. 
She is the patroness of the Canary Islands.

Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.
(Today's First Reading, Jon 3:4-5)

"I felt my spirit flooded by a light-filled mystery which is God and in Him I saw and heard: the point of the flame-like lance which detaches, touches the axis of the earth and it [the earth] shakes: mountains, cities, towns and villages with their inhabitants are buried. The sea, rivers and clouds leave their bounds, they overflow, flood and drag with them into a whirlpool, houses and people in a number unable to be counted; it is the purification of the world from the sin it is immersed in." - Sr. Lucia, 1944, Tuy

I think a closer read of the blog Unveiling the Apocalypse might help explain things.  Just a thought.

The author, Emmett O'Reagan connects the above quote from Sr. Lucia to a possible eruption in the Canary islands which has the potential to devastate the entire Eastern Seaboard with a killer tsunami.  It isn't far fetched, since it is also predicted by science.  Skeptic that I am, I came across this bit of news today - which segues with the Fatima centenary fears making the news this week, in anticipation of October 13th.

FEARS of a volcano erupting on the Canary Islands has sparked panic as the Spanish archipelago was hit by more than 40 earthquake tremors in just 48 hours. - Story here.
I don't know how reliable a source Express UK is, I haven't checked other sources, but the story did impress me that I might be wrong in my skepticism and that the rest of the world may be right... you know, 'is it just me'?

Something to think about ...

"But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?'"

A poor person has a mysterious power: in his weakness he is able to open hardened hearts and reveal the sources of living water within them.  It is the tiny hand of the fearless child which can slip through the bars of the prison of egoism.  He is the one who can open and lock and set free.  And God hides himself in the child. - Jean Vanier

Monday, October 09, 2017

I know the guy in the middle

and the one on the right.

The relics of St. Charbel

I went to visit the relics of St. Charbel yesterday.

They were at St. Maron's Maronite Church in Northeast Minneapolis.  I was alone except for another woman in the church.  For a very long time I was able to pray quietly. 

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Mass Chat: I think the Pope is right.

It just might be the priest's fault.

Last evening I was at Mass and a kindly priest was filling in for the evening Mass.  He's from the seminary - an excellent priest, no doubt.  A family with young kids was sitting ahead of me.  I've seen them before - they are a large family and rather devout.  Two of the preteen boys were slumped over and or slouching during Mass.  One kid held his head with both hands, not that he was ill, he was totally bored.  I listened to the music, the readings, the homily.  The kid was right - the entire thing was so banal, so boring.  I normally don't pay any attention to how people act during Mass, I don't care.

I remain rather recollected at Mass so I never notice much, but these kids were right in front of me, I couldn't avoid seeing them.  So I put myself in their place and tried to experience Mass as they did.  The woman doing the readings flat-lined - which is fine.  The responsorial was well sung - but it really isn't a spontaneous responsorial when it's a rehearsed and conducted performance by the new music director with a really great voice.  (I know the place of the responsory, so I'm not suggesting it be spontaneous.)  The Gospel obviously echoed the first reading and the priest preached about that - at length.  Nice biblical commentary and very smart exegesis, with something about being judged in the end, but we should  have no anxiety about it.  In the meantime the boys were kicking one another without even cracking a smile.  They knew what to do all through Mass, because they politely greeted me at the sign of peace, bowed at communion, and so on.  So they went through the motions and couldn't wait to get out.

Please don't be angry with me - I'm neither trying to channel the pope or complain about priests.  I'm just reflecting on what I observed in the light of all the controversy surrounding the pope(s), liturgy, priesthood, and vocations.  I could feel the boys apathy, I could feel their boredom.  It really isn't the priest's fault - but I'm not sure it was the boys fault either.

So why did the tenants of the vineyard not cooperate with the landowner?

The priest reminded me of the priests and seminarians the Pope complains about.  Perfect decorum, devout Mass according to the rubrics, well prepared homily - perhaps a little too academic and a bit too long.  Nothing engaging.  Very safe - but no 'fires' started.  (If it had been the Extraordinary Form of Mass the kids maybe would have been curious, but unless the priest was on fire himself, the kids could have slept through it.)  Even when the priest is 'enthusiastic' and animated, very often it's more about popular catch phrases and chuckles than real life problems.  Last evening I half expected to hear something about the social problems in the world, anxieties people have about war and peace, not to mention some kind of instruction regarding the confusion in the church and the world.  Nothing there.  It seemed so perfunctory.

The Holy Father is right.  I am convinced that is why many priests don't like him.  He's never departed from Catholic teaching or proposed heresy.  People say he does, but it's a convenient criticism by those who don't like him in order to deflect his efforts at reform.  Even lay seminary professors feel challenged and insulted, which says to me there really is something wrong in formation.  Think about it.  Piously repeating 'save the liturgy save the world' anthems doesn't make a priest fervent or holy.

What the Pope said yesterday ...

Drawing inspiration from the bible passage in which the Lord says to the prophet Jeremiah: "Get up and go down into the potter's shop", the Pope explained that “priestly formation depends first of all on God's action in our lives and not our activities, adding, it is a work that requires the courage to let oneself be molded by the Lord, for it transforms our heart and our lives.” 
During his address the Pope stressed that if one does not let oneself be molded like clay by the Lord every day, he becomes a priest who is out of the office with inertia, without enthusiasm for the Gospel or passion for the People of God. Instead, Pope Francis said, the seminarian needs to be guided by the Lord, as the craftsman, being led to become more and more his daily disciples. 
The Church, Pope Francis said, “needs priests capable of proclaiming the Gospel with enthusiasm and wisdom.”
Finally, the Holy Father left the group with a question, “What do I want to be? A "priest in the lounge", quiet and well-arranged, or a missionary disciple whose heart is burning for the Master and the People of God? - Pope Francis

Just a thought.  I may be wrong.  I'm not picking on priests.  All the priests I know are on fire with the love of God and are above criticism and are living saints.  What?

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Pope Francis' Prayer to Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii

Virgin of the Holy Rosary, Mother of the Redeemer, our earthly Lady raised above the heavens, humble servant of the Lord, proclaimed Queen of the world, from the depth of our miseries we turn to you. With the faithfulness of children we look to your sweet gaze.
Crowned with twelve stars, you bring us to the mystery of the Father, you shine the splendor of the Holy Spirit, you give us our Divine Child, Jesus, our hope, our only salvation in the world. Comforted by your Rosary, you invite us to be fixed to his gaze. You open to us His heart, abyss of joy and sorry, of light and glory, mystery of the son of God, made man for us. At your feet in the footsteps of the saints, we feel as God’s family.
Mother and model of the Church, you are our guide and secure support. Make us one heart and one mind, a strong people on the way towards the heavenly homeland. We entrust our miseries, the many streets of hate and blood, the thousands of ancient and new poverties and above all, our sins. To you we entrust ourselves, Mother of Mercy: grant us the forgiveness of God, help us to build a world according to your heart. 
O Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain that ties us to God, chain of love that makes us brothers, we will not leave you again. You will be in our hands a weapon of peace and forgiveness, star that guides our path. And the kiss to you with our last breath, we plunge into a wave of light, in the vision of the beloved Mother and the Son of God, the desire and joy of our heart, with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Amen. - Vatican Radio 21 March 2015

Prayer for the Pope

O God, who in your providential design willed that your Church be built upon blessed Peter, whom you set over the other apostles, look with favor, we pray, on Francis our Pope, and grant that he, whom you have made Peter’s successor, may be for your people a visible source and foundation of unity in faith and of communion. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Many Catholics Online Have Lost Their Minds ...

Or it's mass hysteria sweeping through the trad-o-sphere. Take a look at this screwball screenshot of a so-called Catholic news-aggregate. Fake news bites - to be sure.  The editor is a click bait specialist. (Links to the stories have been removed.)

Register: Catholic parishes are crashing

FrancisVatican online 'child protection' expert: You need people doing this 24/7. People who are actually collaborating with UNICEF, with the United Nations, with Interpol!

Barnhardt and SuperNerd: The civic body should be willing to take steps to protect the citizenry from people like James Martin


FrancisCatholic: Mexican 'Saint Death' believed to be more merciful and forgiving than the Catholic Church

Francis attacks those dangerous nuts who resist his Islamization program: 'They prefer psychological exile from society. It's a disease that does much harm!'

Francis joins list of fiendish world leaders in running for this years’ Nobel Peace Prize

Communist Francis opens two-day DeathAcademy conference by railing against 'technocratic materialism', plugging that seamless garment

Communist Daily Distributes Francis Speeches!

Catholics live in an abusive family, the time to stand up to the abusers is long past - wake up!

"It’s boring, and the list of signatories is unimpressive and badly judged." - Damian Thompson slams Filial Correction and 'dark online Catholic Alt Right propaganda'

Correctio Filialis Signature List Grows, but Still Few Traditional Priests

Filial Correction Spox Dr. Shaw to Opus Dei: If there are problems, we should talk about them, and not pretend they do not exist.

....Why doesn’t Planned Parenthood join the list of Freakish FrancisCardinals and Mouthpieces at Upcoming Boston College ‘Joy of Sex’ Strategy Session?

Saints and Blessed for Today ...

Among them, my special patron, Blessed Alberto Marvelli.

Blessed Albert Marvelli

Alberto Marvelli was born at Ferrari on 21st March 1918, the second of seven brothers. Later, he began to attend the Salesian Oratory. He was always available and became a catechist and leader: the Salesians’ right arm. He loved to play all kinds of sports. He joined the Oratory group for Catholic Action soon becoming its parish president. In June 1942 he graduated from college as an engineer and began working with Fiat in Turin. He did his military service and succeeded in bringing many of his friends to Mass. During the Second World War he became an apostle amongst displaced persons and a real source of providence for the poor. His Marian and Eucharistic devotion really were the supporting columns in his life: “What a new world opens up to me contemplating Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament”, he wrote in his diary. Each time I receive Holy Communion, each time Jesus in his divinity and humanity enters into me, in contact with my soul, it awakens holy ideas in me, a burning and consuming flame, but one that makes me so happy!”. He died when he was hit by an army truck on October 5th 1946. He was, as Don Bosco wanted, a good Christian and upright citizen, committed to the Church and society with a Salesian heart. As a youth his motto was: We go forward or we die. - Bosc.org
Tomba B. Alberto Marvelli

I also found this prayer card here.
Praise God in his angels and his saints!
Bl. Alberto, pray for us.

Other patrons whose feast is today:

St. Faustina, pray for us.
St. Placid, pray for us.
Bl. Raymond Capua, pray for us.
Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos, pray for us.
Bl. Bartolo Longo, pray for us.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

On the feast of St. Francis ...

Everybody is talking about the 'real' St. Francis - reminding little kids and their pets that he was as 'nice' as people say he was. These people are very much like the Grinch who tell kids there is no Santa - and yet - there is. His name was St. Nicholas and he helped little kids escape death, and helped girls escape prostitution, and helped innumerable other outcasts with charitable gifts - not gifs. But I digress.

Yes kids. Francis was rich, then he chose to be poor, just like Christ. He really was poor - but people online say that is wrong - his poverty was something mystical and he wouldn't mind if his followers wore really nice clothes under their really nice habits and living in really nice friaries and driving really nice cars, and so on. In a strange way - those who say he was 'not nice' are right - because he didn't like their brand of nice ... 

Not only was he poor, but he was deeply respectful of the Church and her ministers - and of course the liturgy - so yes indeed he loved beautiful churches, exquisite sanctuaries, and beautiful vestments.  He also once ordered the friars to give a poor woman their only copy of the New Testament, so that the woman might sell it.  He loved Lady Poverty because Christ chose it for himself.  

As for his respect for the 'Lord Pope' and the ministers of the Church, I will share something the Pope said:

Let us return to the life of St Francis. When his father Bernardone reproached him for being too generous to the poor, Francis, standing before the Bishop of Assisi, in a symbolic gesture, stripped off his clothes, thus showing he renounced his paternal inheritance. Just as at the moment of creation, Francis had nothing, only the life that God gave him, into whose hands he delivered himself. He then lived as a hermit, until, in 1208, another fundamental step in his journey of conversion took place. While listening to a passage from the Gospel of Matthew Jesus' discourse to the apostles whom he sent out on mission Francis felt called to live in poverty and dedicate himself to preaching. Other companions joined him, and in 1209 he travelled to Rome, to propose to Pope Innocent III the plan for a new form of Christian life. He received a fatherly welcome from that great Pontiff, who, enlightened by the Lord, perceived the divine origin of the movement inspired by Francis. The Poverello of Assisi understood that every charism as a gift of the Holy Spirit existed to serve the Body of Christ, which is the Church; therefore he always acted in full communion with the ecclesial authorities. In the life of the Saints there is no contradiction between prophetic charism and the charism of governance, and if tension arises, they know to patiently await the times determined by the Holy Spirit.
It is also true that Francis had no intention of creating a new Order, but solely that of renewing the People of God for the Lord who comes. He understood, however, through suffering and pain that everything must have its own order and that the law of the Church is necessary to give shape to renewal. Thus he placed himself fully, with his heart, in communion with the Church, with the Pope and with the Bishops. He always knew that the centre of the Church is the Eucharist, where the Body of Christ and his Blood are made present through the priesthood, the Eucharist and the communion of the Church. Wherever the priesthood and the Eucharist and the Church come together, it is there alone that the word of God also dwells. The real historical Francis was the Francis of the Church, and precisely in this way he continues to speak to non-believers and believers of other confessions and religions as well.
Innocent III's Successor, Pope Honorius III, with his Bull Cum Dilecti in 1218 supported the unique development of the first Friars Minor, who started missions in different European countries, and even in Morocco. In 1219 Francis obtained permission to visit and speak to the Muslim sultan Malik al-Klmil, to preach the Gospel of Jesus there too. I would like to highlight this episode in St Francis' life, which is very timely. In an age when there was a conflict underway between Christianity and Islam, Francis, intentionally armed only with his faith and personal humility, travelled the path of dialogue effectively. The chronicles tell us that he was given a benevolent welcome and a cordial reception by the Muslim Sultan. It provides a model which should inspire today's relations between Christians and Muslims: to promote a sincere dialogue, in reciprocal respect and mutual understanding (cf. Nostra Aetate, 3). - Pope Benedict XVI

In his day, when bishops and priests scandalized the faithful, many openly criticized and spread stories about the sins of priests.  One story in particular is well known.  Villagers approached St. Francis, scandalized by a priest, and Francis knelt before the priest with great reverence, saying:

 "I don't know whether these hands are stained as the other man says they are. [But] I do know that even if they are, that in no way lessens the power and effectiveness of the sacraments of God... That is why I kiss these hands out of respect for what they perform and out of respect for Him who gave His authority to them." - St. Francis

Francis never criticized the Church, the Pope or the clergy.  He never acted on his own initiative or on private revelations.  He submitted to the authority of the Church, he never did anything without permission.   So that, my friends is the real St. Francis.  He also loved lambs and wolves and rabbits, kitties and puppies, birds and squirrels - he placed special food out for them at Christmas.  So don't spoil the legends which surround him with your mean-spirited 'truth in charity' stories.

Happy feast day!

He really did embrace 

I am bi-locating to Assisi today.

Apparition of St. Francis
Josep Benlliure Gil


Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

The Vision Of Saint Francis Of Assisi by Lodovico Carracci

Prayer of St. Francis to obtain divine love.

I beseech Thee, O Lord, that the fiery and sweet strength of Thy love may absorb my soul from all things that are under heaven, that I may die for love of Thy love as Thou didst deign to die for love of my love.

St. Francis pray for us. 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Monday, October 02, 2017

Prayers for all the victims of the Las Vegas shooting ...

May the angels lead you into paradise

May Christ, who called you, take you to himself;
may Angels lead you to Abraham's side.

Give them eternal rest, O Lord,
and may your light shine on them forever.
May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.  Amen

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Something for the feast of St. Therese.

I want to repost a story about an Argentinian Carmelite nun who reminds me very much of St. Therese.  Therese once confided to her sister, 'If I had not been accepted in Carmel, I would have entered a Refuge (for fallen women) and lived out my days there, unknown and despised among the poor penitents.' - St.Therese of Lisieux

How appropriate that the readings for today speak of Christ who emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, including himself among sinners and outcasts.  In the Gospel Jesus points out 'tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God' before those who believe they are there already.

The story of Sister Monica Astorga, OCD is extraordinary for a Carmelite nun - yet we live in extraordinary times.  I'm sure she must be criticized for her work.  Maybe some are scandalized.  Yesterday I read a friend's comment on a Facebook post calling Pope Francis a scandal machine.  That made me sad - for my friend, not the Pope.  Just as sad as I am saddened by the controversy surrounding Fr. Martin, S.J. - which I pray will be resolved. 

Sister Monica Astorga, o.c.d.
For the past 10 years, Sister Monica Astorga, a Discalced Carmelite in the central Argentine city of Neuquen, has helped a group of transvestites and transsexuals who decided to give up prostitution and addictions to alcohol and drugs. She has started them on the path of recovery and reintegration into society.
But the work has been full of obstacles, she said. “People asked me why there were transgendered people in church. I told them the Church is for everyone. Who was Jesus with? With sinners. What is important here is that they live in dignity, so they don’t have to sleep on the street in cold temperatures—even below zero. What I offer them is a space for prayer and to find a way to work, and the rest is for the judgment of God, which I know is so merciful.” - Read the rest at Aleteia

It's a very moving account.  Sr. Monica has the permission of her Bishop, and the encouragement of the Pope.  Perhaps like Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, Sr. Monica received a 'call within a call'.  I also think of  St. Simon Salus, who left his desert solitude to live amongst the outcasts, criminals, and whores, to demonstrate the love of God, to be a sort of presence of merciful love amidst the unlovable.  I'm so edified by this story of Sr. Monica.  I'm betting Sr.'s penitents may not always manage to be faithful, nor may they change all that much in appearance or their identity, yet the grace of God is available to them and they have indeed found a place in the Church.

We always hear people say we have to make a place for people in the Church - the truth is, there is a place ... a place for all of us.  It is there already.  No special clubs or groups to join is necessary.  The sacraments - the life blood of the Church are enough.  Christ is enough.  So why do those in the Church, those receiving the sacraments, complain and call others out?  Why do they complain like those in the marketplace who have no faith?

Christ can do all things if we ask with the least bit of faith. "O Lord, I want to return to the Church and the sacraments but I don't know how." The Lord finds a way. When I write about two men or two women living together, agreeing to renounce sinful relations and determining to sanctify their lives and return to the Church and the sacraments, I'm saying that Christ can accomplish for them even more than they ask or desire. The Church does not lay burdens too heavy to carry on those who wish to be reconciled. The Church calls homosexuals, transsexuals, prostitutes, sinners to freedom, to chastity, to holiness. The Church does not dictate with whom and where a person must live, the Church doesn't command a person to join this or that group.  

I had a Discalced Carmelite nun as a spiritual sister who died a few years ago.  I came upon a letter from her last night, written many years before.  She is the one who told me, to go to confession after every fall - even if it is every day - and then go to communion.  In time the Lord will free you.  The Lord did free me.  My sister never gave up on me.  I had confessors who nearly did - she never did.  Anyway - I repeat myself - anyone who knows me know that story.

Have faith: Ask, seek, knock. It will be opened for you.