Saturday, June 09, 2018

Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that people are to ask her for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at his side. Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, since God entrusted it to her.  St. Jacinta to Lucia

This was the idea... the effect I was after.

Friday, June 08, 2018

He first loved us ...

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in you.
One summer day in Montreal ... many tears ago.
This is where it began - my return to the sacraments.

“It is not us who first loved God,” it's the other way around: “it is He who loved us first” he said. 
The Pope said the prophets used the symbol of the almond blossom to explain this reality highlighting the fact that the almond blossom is the first to bloom in spring. 
“God is like that: he is always first. He's the first to wait for us, the first to love us, the first to help us” he said. - Pope Francis, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Good catch!

Venerable Matt Talbot

Man on a Bridge
(Matt Talbot on Newcomen Bridge)
T. Nelson

Today is the anniversary of Matt's death.  It was Trinity Sunday, June 7, 1925.

The painting shown above is my attempt at depicting Matt Talbot in the moment of his conversion.  I imagine him here as he crossed Newcomen Bridge, after his friends ignored him.  Knowing he was probably broke, they avoided him and did not offer to buy him drink.  Though we don't know what happened on the bridge to give him the resolve to take the pledge, the bridge is a sort of metaphor of conversion, crossing over from one sort of life to another.  I imagine the 28 year old Matt Talbot as a young man, in a very private moment - looking at a crumpled piece of paper - perhaps it's a prayer, a scripture verse, or even a sort of printed notice encouraging pub patrons to take the pledge and join the Total Abstinence League?  In any case, it signifies his call to conversion.

The painting is still on the easel.

I asked him for a model and I searched Google for an "Irish lad".  Surprisingly an actor showed up and the thought came to mind as if Matt said, 'this could be me'.  I did my best to change the expression from the photo I used, but I wasn't very successful.  Perhaps one day I can try again.

The enemy of your salvation.

What Jesus told Margaret of Cortona.

St. Margaret had a lover.  She had his son.  She was his concubine - which indicate he was probably married - I can't recall.  Some biographies describe her as a servant in his household.  No one uses the term concubine these days - it's also not uncommon any longer for people to live together without benefit of marriage.  I guess that means we live in a promiscuous society - which maybe explains why marriage is so screwed up - but that's not my point with this post.

The fact that our Lord referred to her lover as the enemy of her salvation is what I find so striking.  How can one's love-er be one's enemy?  One to whom we give our entire self?  Who would believe our closest friend could be an enemy of our salvation?  How about other 'friends'?

Worldly friendships.

Bad friendships can be dangerous - toxic friends can bring out the worst in us, even lead us into grave sins which we might not have been willing to engage in on your own.  I'm not suggesting they are at fault, or that a bad friend 'made' me sin - since each of us are responsible for our own actions.  Yet we can surely follow a friend's lead and be led into sin. "Everyone has enough bad inclinations of his own without burdening himself with another's. A friend who would lead us into sin has become our enemy.  False friendship brings on dizziness of mind which causes people to falter in chastity and devotion and carries them on to improper looks, sensual caresses, deep sighs, little complaints about not being loved, enticing postures, acts of gallantry, requests for kisses and other familiarities. - St. Francis De Sales

I used to justify some bad, even 'toxic' friendships because I had more fun with such friends.  Sometimes I was the culprit, my worse side would emerge and I had a willing partner to go out and have a good time with.  That's what drinking buddies are for, kinda, sorta.  Oblivious to my own propensity for sin, I'd justify the friendship loosely based upon another maxim of St. Francis: "Friends love each other despite their faults and flaws. Just as a gold miner separates the precious metal from the earth or sand, so friends must sort for the best in each other and treasure it."  De Sales was speaking of virtuous friendship and the faults, not the sins of our friend.  "We must, of course, meekly put up with a friend's faults, but we must not lead him into our faults, must less should we acquire his.  But I speak only of imperfections. As to sins, we must neither occasion them nor tolerate them in our friends. What a strange or sinful friendship that would watch the friend die spiritually!"

One needs honest discernment in our relationships with one another.

Worldly friendship impairs the judgment and leads to rationalization. False friendship, even when it is repulsed, leads to slander, trickery, sadness and jealousy. - St. Francis De Sales

I have experienced the last part of that statement many times after such a friendship has waned: False friendship, even when it is repulsed, leads to slander, trickery, sadness and jealousy.  I often thought of the friendship as close and true, yet it was false.  The gossip and detraction and slander that resulted was proof of that.  Anyone who reads this blog may have on occasion seen the contemptuous remarks left by former friends and acquaintances, although the slander gets back to me in other ways as well.  I have former friends who say terrible things about me - in some cases, I know how terrible it is by the things they have said in anger, in my presence about their other 'friends'.  It's a good learning experience, a purifying trial in some ways, which leads to an ever deeper conversion and love of what is true and good, I think.  Everything is a grace.  It also teaches us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us - with a healthy distrust of self.

I have often written about 'disinterested friendship', which seems to me is the kind that lacks any self-seeking and is above all 'detached' - devoid of sensuality and sentimentality.  Some friends want to control and direct the other, even to own or possess the other - for their own self-interest.  In effect these friendships tend to limit our freedom and are untrustworthy.

Let us not allow our will to be the slave of any. - S. Teresa of Avila, Way of Perfection, Chapter 4

Today is the day.

Thursday, June 7, 2018.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Works for me ...

"Homosexuality is an act, not an essential nature. Therefore, one cannot be a non-practicing homosexual. That would be as preposterous as being a murderer who never killed. A person born with homosexual feelings is tempted, but not sinful, unless that potential becomes actual sin by unnatural behavior." - Rev. Gerard Lessard, OP

If I can't say anything bad about anybody, why say anything at all?

That's my problem now.

After posting all of this stuff about sins of the tongue, I probably have nothing to blog about now.  Unless of course I go deeply passive aggressive.  Yeah, that might work.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

An Excerpt From Fr. Ciszek

The key word, in fact, of our priestly apostolate in the camps had to be the word 'witness'. It wasn't so much a matter of preaching God and talking religion to the men around you as it was a matter of living the faith that you yourself professed. 
It was not always a matter of preaching God and religion. It was enough at times to simply respect each of your fellow men in the camp, to do good to each no matter what he himself did or said, no matter how he acted toward you ... There was little call to preach about sin or damnation or hellfire to men who experience daily the hell of loneliness and separation and anxiety. A great deal of tolerance and a great deal of understanding were required of a priest if he wished to be effective among these unfortunate and almost degraded human beings. Common sense and intuition, a feeling for the finger of God's grace behind a question or a conversation or an encounter, was much more necessary than textbook answers in theology." - The Priesthood, He Leadeth Me, Walter Ciszek, S.J.

True devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Let us not interfere with His acting in us and for us just as He wishes. - S. Margaret Mary

It seems to me that our Lord's earnest desire to have his Sacred Heart honored in a special way is directed toward renewing the effects of redemption in our souls. For the sacred heart is an inexhaustible fountain and its sole desire is to pour itself out into the hearts of the humble so as to free them and prepare them to lead lives according to his good pleasure.
From this divine heart three streams flow endlessly. The first is the stream of mercy for sinners; it pours into their hearts sentiments of contrition and repentance. The second is the stream of charity which helps all in need and especially aids those seeking perfection to find the means of surmounting their difficulties. From the third stream flow love and light for the benefit of his friends who have attained perfection; these he wishes to unite to himself so that they may share his knowledge and commandments and, in their individual ways, devote themselves wholly to advancing his glory.
This divine heart is an abyss of all blessings, and into it the poor should submerge all their needs. It is an abyss of joy in which all of us can immerse our sorrows. It is an abyss of lowliness to counteract our foolishness, an abyss of mercy for the wretched, an abyss of love to meet our every need.
Therefore, you must unite yourselves to the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, both at the beginning of your conversion in order to obtain proper dispositions, and at its end in order to make reparation. Are you making no progress in prayer? Then you need only offer God the prayers which the Savior has poured out for us in the sacrament of the altar. Offer God his fervent love in reparation for your sluggishness. In the course of every activity pray as follows: "My God, I do this or I endure that in the heart of your Son and according to his holy counsels. I offer it to you in reparation for anything blameworthy or imperfect in my actions." Continue to do this in every circumstance of life. And every time that some punishment, affliction or injustice comes your way, say to yourself: "Accept this as sent to you by the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ in order to unite yourself to him."
But above all preserve peace of heart. This is more valuable than any treasure. In order to preserve it there is nothing more useful than renouncing your own will and substituting for it the will of the divine heart. In this way his will can carry out for us whatever contributes to his glory, and we will be happy to be his subjects and to trust entirely in him. - St. Margaret Mary

Monday, June 04, 2018

This just in: 'We are due for another Carrington Event.'

Keep watch over your mouth ... fake news and lies.

So you think you know the law.

People online, many people online, with a website, in the combox, clergy or laity, educated and under-educated: take note.  Study the Catechism.  If Fr. Corapi did nothing else, at least he preached/taught the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  It is clear to me, that many of us online have lost our way and daily commit sins of the tongue.  Sadly, we have a White House* which leads the way in fake news and lies, as we are all finding out today.


2482 "A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving."281 The Lord denounces lying as the work of the devil: "You are of your father the devil, . . . there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."282 
2483 Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error. By injuring man's relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word to the Lord. 
2484 The gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims. If a lie in itself only constitutes a venial sin, it becomes mortal when it does grave injury to the virtues of justice and charity. 
2485 By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others. The deliberate intention of leading a neighbor into error by saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and charity. The culpability is greater when the intention of deceiving entails the risk of deadly consequences for those who are led astray. 
2486 Since it violates the virtue of truthfulness, a lie does real violence to another. It affects his ability to know, which is a condition of every judgment and decision. It contains the seed of discord and all consequent evils. Lying is destructive of society; it undermines trust among men and tears apart the fabric of social relationships. 
2487 Every offense committed against justice and truth entails the duty of reparation, even if its author has been forgiven. When it is impossible publicly to make reparation for a wrong, it must be made secretly. If someone who has suffered harm cannot be directly compensated, he must be given moral satisfaction in the name of charity. This duty of reparation also concerns offenses against another's reputation. This reparation, moral and sometimes material, must be evaluated in terms of the extent of the damage inflicted. It obliges in conscience. -CCC


Similarly, we have Catholics who spread lies and gossip about the Pope, mocking and sneering and criticizing everything he does or says.  Just a week or so back, his critics with or without an STB or BA in theology, pretty much condemned him for telling the German Bishops to rework their proposal of inter-communion for Protestants.  Today we learn the Holy Father rejected their proposal.  Catholics online were less than charitable when speculating and discussing the subject when it made news not long ago.  If you read some of the commentary from the most notorious Catholic tabloid sites, you would have to wonder if many of these folks even understand the gravity of the sin of  slander and detraction, at times even calumny.  So often these same people speculate upon the state of soul of others who approach Holy Communion, when they themselves should examine their own conscience first. 
"Do not tell me, 'I would be a slanderer only if I lied. I am committing no slander if I tell the truth.' Error! Speaking evil of others, even if the evil be true, is always a crime. Surely the publican was really a publican and a sinner; but he left cleansed of all his defilements because he was scorned by the Pharisee. You want to correct your brother? Weep, pray to God, warn him by speaking to his heart, advise and exhort him. That is how Saint Paul acted. 'But backbiting is so sweet!' you say. Yes, but not backbiting is sweeter still. The backbiter creates deadly anxiety for himself, he is constantly besieged by suspicion and fear. He repents, but too late; he bites his tongue, but in vain; he trembles, for as his words spread, they may cause him grave danger and expose those who repeat them to enmities which so easily could have been avoided." - Saint John Chrysostom, Homily 3, Ad pop Antioch.

Back to the Catechism...


2493 Within modern society the communications media play a major role in information, cultural promotion, and formation. This role is increasing, as a result of technological progress, the extent and diversity of the news transmitted, and the influence exercised on public opinion. 
2494 The information provided by the media is at the service of the common good.285 Society has a right to information based on truth, freedom, justice, and solidarity:
The proper exercise of this right demands that the content of the communication be true and - within the limits set by justice and charity - complete. Further, it should be communicated honestly and properly. This means that in the gathering and in the publication of news, the moral law and the legitimate rights and dignity of man should be upheld.286 
2495 "It is necessary that all members of society meet the demands of justice and charity in this domain. They should help, through the means of social communication, in the formation and diffusion of sound public opinion."287 Solidarity is a consequence of genuine and right communication and the free circulation of ideas that further knowledge and respect for others. 

2496 The means of social communication (especially the mass media) can give rise to a certain passivity among users, making them less than vigilant consumers of what is said or shown. Users should practice moderation and discipline in their approach to the mass media. They will want to form enlightened and correct consciences the more easily to resist unwholesome influences. 

2497 By the very nature of their profession, journalists have an obligation to serve the truth and not offend against charity in disseminating information. They should strive to respect, with equal care, the nature of the facts and the limits of critical judgment concerning individuals. They should not stoop to defamation. 

*2498 "Civil authorities have particular responsibilities in this field because of the common good. . . . It is for the civil authority . . . to defend and safeguard a true and just freedom of information."288 By promulgating laws and overseeing their application, public authorities should ensure that "public morality and social progress are not gravely endangered" through misuse of the media.289 Civil authorities should punish any violation of the rights of individuals to their reputation and privacy. They should give timely and reliable reports concerning the general good or respond to the well-founded concerns of the people. Nothing can justify recourse to disinformation for manipulating public opinion through the media. Interventions by public authority should avoid injuring the freedom of individuals or groups. 

2499 Moral judgment must condemn the plague of totalitarian states which systematically falsify the truth, exercise political control of opinion through the media, manipulate defendants and witnesses at public trials, and imagine that they secure their tyranny by strangling and repressing everything they consider "thought crimes." - CCC

"He who speaks against his brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law." Jas 4:11 -  Sins of the Tongue

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Corpus Christi ...

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, 

Yeah.  So the next time someone tries to tell you the Pope doesn't kneel before the Blessed Sacrament, show them this photo.