Saturday, March 31, 2018

Our Lady on Holy Saturday

Come, all who pass by the way, pay attention and see ...

Holy Saturday is traditionally kept in company with Our Lady - or at least devotions to Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Solitude, are piously kept. The image shown here is the beautiful Nuestra Senora de la Soledad de Manilla. There are many variations of NS Soledad, this one is especially charming.

Italians also have a special devotion to l'Addolorata, Our Lady of Sorrows. Frequently - usually - the Madonna is shown weeping, her heart pierced with seven swords representing the seven sorrows foretold by the prophet Simeon. It is a lovely practice to keep Our Lady company in this way.

However, knowing what she knew, Our Lady's sorrows were not isolated from Our Lord's. She suffered the opposition of sinners with him, sharing his shame. It seems to me the devotion to the Sorrowful Mother is for our consolation, more or less. Our Lady suffered with Jesus - her suffering is/was co-redemptive. Her silent, loving 'action' on Holy Saturday was not forlorn. She knew by faith that he descended among the dead, and was at work even then/now. She knew by faith that in three days he would rise again.

These thoughts permit one a different perspective. Considering the mystery in a new way, somehow I think we might come to understand that what we see in the Virgin may be our own fears and sorrows reflected, which in her mother's love, she assuages. I may be wrong, or just old, but it occurred to me that Our Lady's sadness isn't meant to guilt us or make us feel bad about ourselves, but rather it is the first glimmer of hope, before the joy of Easter. While her solitude is a sober reminder of how sin separates us from the love of God. Therefore we are moved to deeper sorrow for our sins and the sins of others and making reparation is our attempt to console Our Lady. She is there, as it were, willing to receive all our fears and sorrows - she shares them - in other words she compassionates them. The more our love prompts us to 'take pity' on our Mother of Sorrows, the more she in turn prepares us to comprehend the depths of Divine Mercy and Love.

Anyway, I might be wrong. One thing for sure, if Christ seems silent and hidden, our Sorrowful Mother is near, watching and waiting, loving and praying with us.

Remember, today is the second day of the Novena to Divine Mercy. If you have started it, begin today.

Into great silence.

His silent loving action ...

My Father is at work until now, so I am at work. - John 5:17

Friday, March 30, 2018

Ask Father

Dear Fr.

"Since Easter falls on Sunday this year do we have to go to Mass twice?"

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Confession at the Cathedral

I went to confession yesterday. 

I waited in line at the Cathedral for over an hour - the line stretched across the entire church. Two priests were hearing confessions.  I told the lady next to me that I felt how people on the Titanic must have felt waiting for the life boats before time ran out.  Confessions were to end at 5:00 PM but Fr. Ubel remained in the confessional through Mass time.  

I was able to get in before 5PM and I stayed for Mass afterwards. the afternoon turned out to be a sort of mini retreat. The priests at the Cathedral are excellent priests - Fr. Jaspers had Mass.  Our priests are so solid, so reverent, so good. 

Anyway. Go to confession - the encounter with Christ in the sacraments is overwhelming in our times. This morning I still experience the effects. Not sure if it is more of a signal grace because it is Holy Week - but He is there. Jesus is really, truly present in the sacraments, living and active.

The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation. "Sacramental grace" is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament. The Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God. The fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior. - CCC 1129

His heart an open wound with love.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Spy Wednesday ...

Spy Wednesday is a reference to Judas Iscariot's intent to betray Jesus, which he formed on Holy Wednesday ...

To understand what that might look like in our day, go to the 1P5 website, or peruse the editorialized links on Canon 212, and maybe click through the articles listed at the Big Pulpit aggregate - paying special attention to the links to Douthat, and what's that guy's name - oh yes, former Catholic Rod Dreher.  

The Passion of Christ is so not just a film.

Remember Catholic Fundraiser too.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Saints who were sent away ...

The death of St. Margaret of Cortona.
Men may deprive us of everything,
but nothing can separate us from the love of God.
As Catholics we have that assurance when we die with the sacraments.

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state ...

Someone should write about saints who were sent away or marginalized, either by their own choice or by those in authority, and most of all - those shunned by their neighbors.  Victims of calumny and detraction.

Just today I came across Catholics on FB engaged in an online fight, condemning one another for condemning some one else.  In a strange way, Holy Week is an appropriate time for such mean spirited arguments and attacks upon the good name of others.  After all, that is just how men treated Our Lord in his passion.  Those who were his friends betrayed him and denied him, and of course abandoned him.  Over the centuries, his followers repeat the same sins, down to the minute.

Some saints like Roch were imprisoned, others like Benedict Joseph and other 'fools for Christ' were mocked and despised for their ignorance, and dismissed as mentally ill, and so on.  Founders of religious orders were thrown out by their own congregations, or given the lowliest tasks and replaced by someone smarter or more capable.  The failure saints, after the martyrs, seem to me the most conformed to Christ.

Today I'm thinking of St. Margaret of Cortona who had been taunted her entire life, even after her conversion and life of severe penance.  Envious town folk and fellow tertiaries continued to gossip and question her behavior - always suspicious of her penance and charity.  Even until her death.  The Franciscans sent her away to live and die in a much smaller place, a poor hamlet with a very poor church.  They did this to quiet the gossips.  Imagine how the saints suffered from the misunderstandings of concerned religious people.  Always accused and often calumniated - think of Elizabeth of Hungary.  Her relatives drove her away after her husband's death, Her own confessor subjected her to great abuse.  She suffered - they all suffered as did Christ, amid much clamor and unrest.  I love knowing that.

"And if you ask, 'What is the way?' I will tell you it is the way Christ chose, the way of disgrace ..." - S. Catherine

Monday, March 26, 2018

Hommage au gendarme Arnaud Beltrame.

Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame

Je vous salue, Marie, 
pleine de grâces, 
le Seigneur est avec vous; 
vous ętes bénie entre toutes les femmes, 
et Jésus le fruit de vos entrailles, est béni. 
Sainte Marie, Mčre de Dieu, 
priez pour nous pécheurs, 
et ŕ l'heure de notre mort. 

Monday in Holy Week ... all the images are draped in purple ... the Passion solemnly chanted ... everything just as it should be ...

The drama!

Taking time off social media for Holy Week? I have an idea - study the characters who surrounded Christ during his Passion. Look closely at the scoffers, the gossips, the liars, those whose expressions mirror our own denigration and contempt of others ... When they cover all the statues and pictures in church, pull up Hieronymus Bosch on your phone to help you understand what calumny, detraction, and scoffing look like. It always helps me when I feel all holier than thou.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Pope is on the side of youth, urging young people to 'keep shouting'!


Of course the Holy Father did not mention yesterday's March For Our Lives in Washington, but he is no doubt very much aware of it.  He also respects young people, perhaps more than their own parents do in some cases.  I've read comments on Facebook and on other sites suggesting that youth are being manipulated, that they are too immature to effect policy change, making fun of them as the Tide-pod generation and so on. 

So many so called adults are completely dismissive of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School group of survivors - not surprisingly, Fr. Z lays it up to 'teen emotions' - this statement after returning home from the gun range with his mom.  In typical fashion, he goes after another commenter scolding: The immature should not be making public policy, especially these days when they are under the thumbs of the left in their schools.  Other comments on his post suggest the students are manipulated by Soros and the Deep State - typical scapegoats for anything they can't control.

Speaking of moms, one mother on FB said one of the student leaders, David Hogg needs to be 'bitch-slapped' - a somewhat gay expression she may have picked up from her ex-husband.  Not long ago, another politician attempted to shame one of the young women, Emma Gonzalez, calling her a lesbian.  Such remarks are a form of bullying and decidedly immature.  As the Pope pointed out: “The temptation to silence young people has always existed.

“There are many ways to silence young people and make them invisible. Many ways to anesthetize them, to make them keep quiet, ask nothing, question nothing. There are many ways to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive,” he said.
“Dear young people, you have it in you to shout,” he told young people, urging them to be like the people who welcomed Jesus with palms rather than those who shouted for his crucifixion only days later.
“It is up to you not to keep quiet. Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders, some corrupt, keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet and loses its joy, I ask you: Will you cry out?”
The young people in the crowd shouted, “Yes!” - Reuters

I'm inspired by the Parkland students.  I'm so happy to see them activating a generation.  I pray they will not allow themselves to be corrupted or manipulated - with the Pope I pray they will not be silenced or cowered into submission, or fall prey to or spoiled by success and celebrity.  Stay true.

I think it is important to note that they are not against the 2nd Amendment as so many fear.  To quote David Hogg: "What a lot the media, and especially Fox News, has messed up with me is they’ve made it seem like I’m trying to take away people’s guns — that I’m against the Second Amendment,” Hogg said. “My father is a retired FBI agent. I have guns in my house. I’m not against the Second Amendment.” - Source