Friday, August 09, 2019

Blessed Friars Michał Tomaszek and Zbigniew Strzałkowski, Martyrs

Fathers Michał Tomaszek and Zbigniew Strzałkowski 
were murdered by Shining Path guerillas 
in Pariacoto, Peru, on August 9, 1991.

"... [I]t was not a good time for Peru: the seeds of terrorism had been sown and produced much hatred, and with the participation of foreign elements, the soil was stained with the blood of martyrs – Fathers Michał and Zbigniew, and two weeks later Alessandro Dordi, a priest in Valle del Santa in the Diocese of Chimbote – and with the deaths of many other Peruvians and foreigners."  Finish reading here.

Today we remember the martyr, St. Edith Stein as well as the holocaust of Nagasaki...

This photo from Auschwitz doesn't show Sr. Benedicta of the Cross, 
but it does show nuns in habits entering the camp with the others ...
It' helps us understand that Edith Stein truly was 
called on behalf of her people ... how many people ...

And then three days later.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

The Splendor of Truth

So what is truth?

I was reminded by a friend online that yesterday was the anniversary of St. John Paul's Encyclical, Veritatis Splendor, given on August 6, 1993, the feast of the Transfiguration. Last night I read passages I opened to at random, I did the same early this morning. This document has such an effect upon me, much like the disciples on the way to Emmaus when they remarked later, 'weren't our hearts burning within us?' In a time of extreme moral confusion there is nothing like drinking from an unpolluted fountain.

I read the section on Conscience and Truth, and this morning, Chapter 3, Lest the Cross of Christ be Emptied of Its Power. The section on martyrdom thrilled and encouraged me.  I was once again impressed by the following section intrinsically evil acts.

81. In teaching the existence of intrinsically evil acts, the Church accepts the teaching of Sacred Scripture. The Apostle Paul emphatically states: "Do not be deceived: neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God" (1 Cor 6:9-10).
If acts are intrinsically evil, a good intention or particular circumstances can diminish their evil, but they cannot remove it. They remain "irremediably" evil acts; per se and in themselves they are not capable of being ordered to God and to the good of the person. "As for acts which are themselves sins (cum iam opera ipsa peccata sunt), Saint Augustine writes, like theft, fornication, blasphemy, who would dare affirm that, by doing them for good motives (causis bonis), they would no longer be sins, or, what is even more absurd, that they would be sins that are justified?".134
Consequently, circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act "subjectively" good or defensible as a choice. - Veritatis Splendor

I first returned to the encyclical after having been so confused about former Cardinal McCarrick and the recent news story detailing how he groomed his victims - which for me meant that his sin was 'premeditated' and all the more evil on account of that.  (Story here.) The psalmist describes what goes on in the mind of the perpetrator when he says, "sin speaks to the sinner in the depths of his heart, as he plots the defeat of goodness while he lays upon his couch.  He so flatters himself that he knows not his guilt." 

It seems to me, that like the Judges in Susanna, McCarrick could only go on the way he did because he suppressed his conscience, wouldn't allow his mind and heart to be guided by prayer, and therefore forfeited right judgement.

We need to love the truth ... live the truth.  Otherwise we live a lie - which is why St. Paul says we need to stop lying to one another.  We can't be 'confessors' or 'witness' to the truth if we are liars.  We need to be attentive to the truth, as a lamp shining in the darkness, "until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts."

89. Faith also possesses a moral content. It gives rise to and calls for a consistent life commitment; it entails and brings to perfection the acceptance and observance of God's commandments. As Saint John writes, "God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth... And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He who says ' I know him' but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked" (1 Jn 1:5-6; 2:3-6). - Veritatis Splendor

Monday, August 05, 2019

My hermitage garden ...

Ave Maria Room


View out.

View into Ave Maria 

The enclosure overgrown lilac woods.

Enclosure with lilac woods 
or as I call it,
 St. Joseph's Wood.

I mentioned on FB that I've let part of my garden go natural-wild, although I do conserve it and need to get in there and clean the stone paths.  I decided to leave it a bit wild to recover from rabbit damage - and yet to allow a sanctuary space for critters and the birds  and the bees to thrive.  It works!  Either St. Francis or St. Martin de Porres wanted such spaces in their gardens.  I also let the hedge grow tall to remain hidden from the neighbors - and now I no longer see their buildings or vast array of lawn ornaments and fairy villages.  They don't have to be distracted by mine, either - so it's a good thing.  Next season I hope to tame the hedge just a bit to create a green wall - that is, if the rabbits don't kill it.  In the meantime, it is a wonderful retreat for me.

I originally posted about it after reading an article on 'ungardening' or 'rewilding' yards by people who want to avoid chemical use and be more eco-friendly, while creating space for wildlife, e.g. birds, bees and butterflies, etc..  Story here.

My outer yard remains more cultivated and manicured - although I have some sculpting and trimming to do.

I should write something.

It's just so easy to post on Facebook.

I kind of neglect this blog.  FB is more interactive, but I'm less inclined to post serious stuff because so many of my relatives and friends of the family are linked to me there. 

I don't know them.

I left home as a senior in high school, and was never very close to anyone since then.  I stayed with my older brother and his wife during a transition period of my life, but I didn't stay close afterwards.  I tried to be close to my sister and her family after her husband died, but I wasn't successful, so it was more or less on again, off again.  (My brother-in-law said I wasn't welcome in their home after my parents outed me.  Dear old mums and dadums.)

Today is my brother Tim's birthday, I haven't been in contact with him for years.  When I left home, I said goodbye to him, and he cried.  He was under the control of my parents and so it was difficult to be close.  My older brother was a sort of mentor for Tim, as well as my sister's kids, and I couldn't compete.  Not that it was a competition, but I always felt as if I couldn't measure up.

Hence my distancing myself.

It doesn't mean I don't love them. 

They just don't know me.

Happy Birthday Timmy!