Saturday, August 26, 2017

Feast of The Transverberation of St. Teresa of Avila

Today Discalced Carmelites celebrate this event in the life of St. Teresa as a feast day.  It commemorates the piercing of the heart of the saint:

The transverberation is a mystical grace wherein the Saint’s heart was pierced with a “dart of love” by an angel. St. John of the Cross, “It will happen that while the soul is inflamed with the Love of God, it will feel that a seraph is assailing it by means of an arrow or dart which is all afire with love. And the seraph pierces and in an instant cauterizes this soul, which, like a red-hot coal, or better a flame, is already enkindled. The soul is converted into an immense fire of Love. Few persons have reached these heights.” - Source


After ecstatic union, as a preparation for the transforming union, there is a very painful purification of love, of which St. Teresa speaks at the end of the sixth mansion. The saint says:
The heart receives, it knows not how or whence, a blow as from a fiery dart. . . in the very depths and center of the soul. . . . This resembles the pains of purgatory. . . . The spiritual torments are so much more keen that the bodily ones remain unnoticed. . . . She feels a strange loneliness, finding no companionship in any earthly creature. . . . Meanwhile all society is a torture to her. She is like one suspended in mid-air, who can neither touch the earth nor mount to heaven; she is unable to reach the water while parched with thirst and this is not a thirst that can be borne, but one which nothing will quench. . . . Though this torment and grief could not, I think, be surpassed by any earthly cross. . . , yet they appeared to her as nothing in comparison with their recompense. The soul realizes that it has not merited anguish which is of such measureless value.(24)
In the same chapter of the sixth mansion, the saint goes on to say: "This agony does not continue for long in its full violence - never, I believe, longer than three or four hours; were it prolonged, the weakness of our nature could not endure it except by a miracle. . . . This favor entails great suffering but leaves most precious graces within the soul, which loses all fear of any crosses it may henceforth meet with, for in comparison with the acute anguish it has gone through, all else seems nothing. . . . It is also much more detached from creatures, having learned that no one but its Creator can bring it consolation and strength." - Garrigou Lagrange

Friday, August 25, 2017

Close Encounters

Of the Facebook kind.

Since being on Facebook, relatives I never knew I had, never met, as well as old friends I've neither seen or spoken with in decades, have popped up in my message box, and/or friend-me box, to connect online.  I can only imagine what they think when and if they go through the posts on my blog or Facebook site.  Without knowing my humor and craziness, as well as my 'formation' I can only imagine what they might think.  Therefore, getting unfriended shouldn't surprise me - but it sometimes does.

When it comes to relatives or friends I've known and loved, yet lost contact with, I have to admit the unfriending thing can awaken old fears and self-doubt.  In other words, I can get sidetracked by concerns over what people might think of me, and that's a huge waste of time.

It's kind of cool to have that sort of contact, but I don't have a lot to say to them.  I've pretty much used my blog as a journal and oftentimes write about my life - as I experienced it - not as others saw it.  In a way I feel more vulnerable, more judged because of it.  When I consider that they have lived their lives without me all of these years, I should understand why I wouldn't fit in well now, much less be understood - but acknowledging that objectively is not as easy as it sounds.  Life sometimes seems to be comprised of a series of departures and arrivals, people show up to wish you well, and then they bid you adieu.  I guess I was the one who always abruptly departed, so as not to be left behind.  But they had no way of knowing that.

My old friend David sent me the following poem a long time ago ... I use it often to express something difficult for me to articulate.

The Art of Disappearing 

When they say Don't I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like 
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It's not that you don't love them anymore.
You're trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven't seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don't start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.  -Naomi Shihab Nye

Song for this post here.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Figurative Monstrances

I'm against it.

I don't mind elaborate monstrances, or simple ones with little or no ornament, but it seems to me figurative monstrances distract from the Eucharistic mystery.  Sometimes designs for monstrances w ant to express every little - or big - detail of the faith.  When in fact everything is contained in the the simplicity of the Blessed Sacrament.  Our devotion finds it source in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, so it seems to me introducing or mixing it up with other devotions and or 'causes'.  It's why I sometimes think adoration should be encouraged with the Blessed Sacrament reposed in the tabernacle, or even in a veiled ciborium, and exposition made more solemn with Benediction by a priest.  Today is 'Adoration Day' at a few parishes near me.  Laity repose the Blessed Sacrament - with no Benediction.  Sometimes if a funeral takes place, laity move the Blessed Sacrament unceremoniously to a chapel, to continue adoration.  They may do so with devotion, but it strikes me as bit pedestrian and much too casual.  Frequently, even when the priest reposes the luna containing the Blessed Sacrament, he does so without ceremony - that is, without any form of closure, such as the Divine Praises or some hymn.

The decline in reverence and faith in the Eucharist can't just be blamed on liturgical abuses often connected with the Ordinary Form of Mass.  Just as Mass attendance wouldn't necessarily increase if only the Extraordinary Form was in wider use, Eucharistic devotion isn't necessarily increased by elaborate monstrances.  I'm convinced that if the Blessed Sacrament was restored to the center of the church, in a suitable tabernacle, and of course in direct proximity to the altar of sacrifice, the disconnect from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass would no longer be possible.

As for figurative monstrances, they have their place, but it seems to me they need to represent the mystery they contain.  Elements of the Passion; angel or saint adorers of the body, blood, soul, and divinity surrounding the nimbus, as well as signs of the Kingship of Christ seem fine to me.  Yet if the Blessed Virgin is incorporated I would almost think it would be more appropriate to see her as part of the stem or support, or flanking the monstrance.  I love the imagery of the Ark of the Covenant, but for me it detracts from the Blessed Sacrament - it seems appropriate as a tabernacle, but not as an ostensorium.  Obviously, others more knowledgeable than myself will disagree.






I don't like this monstrance
but yes, this seems acceptable.

This is my preferred style of monstrance.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

S. Rose of Lima

Pray for us St. Rose.  
Pray most especially
for the poor, sick, and suffering children
throughout the world,
victims of neglect, abuse, war and terror.
Pray the Infant Jesus to have mercy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

What's wrong with people?

Suggesting Jesus rebuffed the Canaanite woman because he was prejudiced?

And he only gave in to get rid of her?  Nuts.

This is why little kids understand much more than those who are wise and learned.  

Jesus could have said to the Canaanite woman, "I heard you the first time, your daughter is healed."  But he didn't.  Sometimes we need to prolong our prayer, sometimes we are not ready to receive what Christ has in store for us.  We need to pray incessantly, even though we may not be perfect, even though we might be praying for someone else, or even when we pray for selfish motives.  Prayer clarifies our intentions, it purifies our desires.  I'm not saying this is what this Gospel is all about, but neither do I think it is about Jesus learning to overcome prejudice.

If anything, the disciples may have learned something about prejudice and Christ's mission to the Gentiles in and through this experience, but Christ knew well what was going on.  He never had to 'learn' something in this encounter.  The entire notion is absurd.

Christ is Teacher.  Christ is Pantocrator.

He was teaching.  It seems to me he wanted to draw out the faith of this woman, who recognized he was Lord and could - or would - heal her daughter.  When he spoke of throwing bread to the dogs, he indeed meant the unbelievers, but a little child knows he could not be harsh, or cruel to the woman whose faith he was drawing forth for all to see and marvel at.  Some say the word for dog Christ used was not the same word for the wild dogs who roamed the city, but a house dog, a domesticated dog.  This interpretation seems to be clarified by the woman's response, 'Yes Lord, but even the dogs eat the leavings at their master's table.'  Indeed, as one priest noted in his homily this past weekend, the house dogs were thrown bits from the table, even juicy morsels.  Hence the exchange between Christ and the woman was actually quite homely, and kind.  As well as direct and frank.

He treated the Canaanite woman with kindness, with love.  He most likely couldn't wait for the encounter to begin.  He ignored the meanness of the disciples who wanted nothing to do with her.  Rather, I'm convinced he was instructing them, just as he set an example for us.  He was teaching them as he was teaching us - with love.  His humanity was and is all love.  When he spoke with the Samaritan woman - he didn't rebuke her, but credited her good conscience when he recognized her honesty in admitting she had no husband.  He never condemned her, but drew from her a confession, and awakened in her the gift of faith.  Similar to the woman caught in adultery.  Was he harsh in telling her to go and sin no more?  Not at all.

We need to believe in love, in merciful love.

All of these women are saints now - but when they first encountered Christ they were not yet perfect, Jesus made them so.  He inspired and perfected their faith - and instructed and strengthened the faith of the disciples and other witnesses who looked on in surprise that he would associate with sinners and pagans.  Yes, Jesus is fully God and fully man - and to be sure, he was neither insulting the Canaanite woman or her paganism, nor was he 'other directed' and/or subject to cultural bias.  It flies in the face of what he stated emphatically in John's Gospel, 'No one who comes to me will I ever reject.'

"When the Son of Man returns, will he find any faith?"

Remember this?
The dog who goes to Mass everyday?

H/T ChurchPop

Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Solemnity of the Assumption is prolonged in the celebration of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which occurs seven days later. On this occasion we contemplate her who, seated beside the King of ages, shines forth as Queen and intercedes as Mother. - Paul VI, Marialis Cultus

Monday, August 21, 2017

I know I use this song a lot ...

The problem is getting left behind.

Three Minutes Darkness

Heavy burtations.

What to do.

Actually, the totality of the eclipse will last two minutes and 41 seconds - just shy of 3 minutes - but that's how prophecy goes.  You can't be too literal.

Serious burtations (things) to know and share:

There shall come over the whole earth an intense darkness lasting three minute.
Nothing can be seen, and the air will be laden with pestilence which will claim mainly, but not only, the enemies of religion. 
It will be impossible to use any man-made lighting during this darkness, except blessed beeswax candles. 
He, who out of curiosity, opens his window to look out, or leaves his home, will fall dead on the spot. During these three days, people should remain in their homes, pray the Rosary and beg God for mercy.
All the enemies of the Church, whether known or unknown, will perish over the whole earth during that universal darkness, with the exception of a few whom God will soon convert. The air shall be infected by demons who will appear under all sorts of hideous forms. - The Seer of Heavy Burtations at the Vatican.

 Oh.  And converts who survive will be silenced forever.

This will not save you.  

Heavy burtations over Fr. Martin's bridge building.

I'm thinking it's not safe.

I wouldn't, couldn't recommend Fr. Martin's book, but I still won't say anything bad about Fr. Martin.

That said, I'm convinced identity issues are a trap - 'coming out' sears the identity into the personality.  It's akin to branding.  You're marked.  It wasn't always like this.

That's all I have to say on that.  I'll reprint something I wrote a long time ago to expand a little on what I'm trying to say.

"I know of these romantic friendships of the English and the Germans. They are not Latin. I think they are very good if they do not go on too long... It's the kind of love that comes to children before they know its meaning." - Cara, Brideshead Revisited
The relationship of Charles and Sebastian in Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited can be said to illustrate the concept of what might be understood as a transitional homosexuality; Cara noting, "In England it comes when you are almost men." In the book it is clear Charles moved on from any inordinate affection he may have experienced; while Sebastian's homosexuality was more entrenched, in the end, as a sort of porter for a monastery, he was obviously converted and found peace. I expect fans of the novel will disagree with me on the details, but it works for my purpose here.
I believe it true that not all men who identify as same-sex attracted are 'fixed' in homosexuality, which happens to be a fact glossed over by homosexual activists, and even priests such as Fr. Martin, who seem to regard it as an irreversible, even natural sexual orientation. Indeed, activists seem to think 'once gay always gay', rejecting the idea that some men, given the motivation can change, although one must first be able to move on and out of the behavior. This is why homosexual molestation, or pederasty is so very evil, not to mention the indoctrination through sex education programs in primary school, middle school, and high school. (And yes, it is true, as the catechism states, the orientation is not sinful in itself, just the behavior, and by extension, advocating for normalizing or promoting the behavior.) - Source

I'll leave it at that.

I highly recommend living in fidelity to the Commandments and the teaching of the Church, which means sanctifying one's life in and through chastity and fidelity to the duties of one's state in life.  Many difficulties and obstacles are removed in the process.  As the Catechism affirms:
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. - CCC
 Courage Apostolate is around today to help the Sebastian Flytes live in fidelity to Catholic teaching.

"Despite claims to the contrary, Courage has 'no interest' in trying to redirect someone’s sexual attractions. What we do have an interest in [is] helping people to live all the virtues well.'” - Fr. Check