Thursday, February 20, 2020

02-20-2020 Centenary of the Death of St. Jacinta Marto

Saint Francisco Marto
(June 11, 1908 – April 4, 1919)
Saint Jacinta Marto
(March 11, 1910 – February 20, 1920)
Feast Day: February 20



One hundred years ago.

So much about Fatima has now been confirmed. Growing up, I was very much attached to the Fatima apparitions, the call to holiness, the promises of Our Lady - especially that she would take Jacinta and Francisco to heaven - although I was sure it would probably not be fulfilled in my lifetime. Yet it is unfolding right now. The example of the three children, especially Francisco and his fidelity to prayer, very much influenced my childhood piety, and as I learned more about prayer as an adult, he has been a guide and model for me to some extent.  Our Lady promised to take them to heaven, and canonization is affirmation of that promise.  I expect Lucia will be canonized soon.

I pray the rosary every day and have done the First Saturdays several times.  I often think about the apparitions, the promises of Our Lady, the spiritual experiences each child had outside of the recorded apparitions and after the events, especially St. Jacinta's experiences.

It seems to me her particular experiences - especially her private visions, one or two specifically  involving the 'Third Secret' and the papacy, one might be able to get a deeper understanding of the totality of the secret.  I happen to believe we are most likely witnessing some of the calamity Jacinta saw.  I also think there is ample room to believe that not just one pope was represented in the visions, but subsequent popes are most likely included.  Of course the Holy See's interpretation suggested all the popes of the 20th century had much to suffer - hence, one might conclude, St. John Paul II was not the only pope connected with the vision.

I think it's silly how some speculate, or at least wonder as to why the Blessed Virgin didn't mention plagues - specifically the flu.  Spirit Daily just posted something like that with current discussion of the Coronavirus.  Or how some expected that Our Lady ought to have mentioned the idea of papal resignation and 2 popes.  After all, it these matters are included in  other private revelations, more or less.  I always like to point out that the Blessed Virgin never mentioned the Holocaust, for instance.  What did Pope Francis once say about such things?  Didn't he dismiss stuff like that saying that Our Lady is not a news person?  Daily reporting the news and weather?  Something like that.

I'm not an expert, much less a scholar on the subject of Fatima, simply a devotee.  Yet it seems to me, the message of Jacinta allows more room for conjecture and application to our contemporary situation than the general text of the Fatima Secret - one secret in 3 parts.  Perhaps Jacinta understood things about the secret which we may be experiencing today.  I don't know?

The essential Jacinta is for me, wrapped up in the following prophetic statements:

"I saw the Holy Father in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones, others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray very much for him." - St. Jacinta

"Look! Don’t you see many roads, paths and fields full of people crying of hunger, not having anything to eat? And the Holy Father in a Church praying next to the Heart of Mary?" - St. Jacinta Marto

"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." - Bl. Jacinta to Lucia

St. Jacinta devoted herself to prayer and suffering for the Pope, may she intercede for him in these times of crisis. St. Francisco was deeply contemplative and hidden, praying to console the 'Hidden Jesus' and making reparation for sins. Both Jacinta and Francisco prayed earnestly and constantly for the conversion of sinners. May these little saints, who have now reached full stature and maturity in Christ, intercede for all of us.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Weird Saints

St. Mark Ji Tianxiang 

And me.

A childhood friend of my family said I was weird on FB yesterday.  He was reacting to a piece of art I posted.  I laughed.  

I began thinking about a couple of weird saints I admire, whose stories I will share here.

St. Mark Ji Tianxiang 
Mark Ji Tianxiang was an opium addict. Not had been an opium addict. He was an opium addict at the time of his death.

For years, Ji was a respectable Christian, raised in a Christian family in 19th-century China. He was a leader in the Christian community, a well-off doctor who served the poor for free. But he became ill with a violent stomach ailment and treated himself with opium. It was a perfectly reasonable thing to do, but Ji soon became addicted to the drug, an addiction that was considered shameful and gravely scandalous. 
As his circumstances deteriorated, Ji continued to fight his addiction. He went frequently to confession, refusing to embrace this affliction that had taken control of him. 
Unfortunately, the priest to whom he confessed (along with nearly everybody in the 19th century) didn’t understand addiction as a disease. Since Ji kept confessing the same sin, the priest thought, that was evidence that he had no firm purpose of amendment, no desire to do better.  
Ji’s confessor told him to stop coming back until he could fulfill the requirements for confession.  He couldn’t stay sober, but he could keep showing up.  And show up he did, for 30 years. For 30 years, he was unable to receive the sacraments. And for 30 years he prayed that he would die a martyr. It seemed to Ji that the only way he could be saved was through a martyr’s crown. 
In 1900, when the Boxer Rebels began to turn against foreigners and Christians, Ji got his chance. He was rounded up with dozens of other Christians, including his son, six grand children, and two daughters-in-law. Many of those imprisoned with him were likely disgusted by his presence there among them, this man who couldn’t go a day without a hit. Surely he would be the first to deny the Lord.

But while Ji was never able to beat his addiction, he was, in the end, flooded with the grace of final perseverance. No threat could shake him, no torture make him waver. He was determined to follow the Lord who had never abandoned him. - Finish reading here.


St. Andreas Wouters, Martyr of Gorcum

The Gorkum Martyrs.
In 1572, the Netherlands had fallen culturally and politically into Protestant hands, and Catholics of the country became objects of persecution for Lutherans and Calvinists alike. As town after town fell to Protestant control, the Catholic clergy of the area were arrested and often tortured. The goal of this mistreatment was not death, but apostasy.

The pirates demanded that these nineteen priests and religious deny the Real Presence and the authority of the Pope. They refused, much to their captors’ distress. Despite a plea for leniency from William of Orange, the Dutch prince and leader of the Protestant Rebellion, the Calvinists of Gorcum transferred their prisoners to nearby Brielle, where they were martyred outside of town in a dilapidated shed. Their bodies were horrifically desecrated both before and after their deaths, out of mockery for their priesthood.
One of the secular priests, Andreas Wouters was notorious for his unchastity. When accused of this by his captors, he offered his famous reply, “Fornicator I always was, but heretic I never was.” - Source
To be continued... 

Blessed Charles de Foucauld might be included in the list of weird saints - he founded an order without disciples - yet he was faithful.  Likewise, Matt Talbot, Benedict Joseph Labre, and others - specifically the fools for Christ - whose names I can't recall at the moment, were faithful, a bit odd, and definitely not successful - just faithful. So remember, if you found an order of monks and you are the only member, remain faithful. If you blunder through life, yet remain faithful despite everything, you can stand erect - if you remain faithful.  No one can ever take the last place away from Christ.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Why, Oh Why?

Bert Hardy - NOEL COWARD WITH SIR JOHN GIELGUD IN DUBLIN, 1954.


Why do I do this?

Anyway - a quick post on saying gay instead of SSA.  What sounds better, "I got the SSA," or "I'm a 'gay' Catholic"?  Same old, same old.  In my old age I say the later, simply because that is how other 'gay' people see me, and on many levels, quite astounded that I remain Catholic.  Not a few Catholics would even say, "You can't be gay and Catholic."  That's not exactly true.  You can't engage in same sex sexual acts, or marry a same sex partner and engage in sexual acts, and remain in the state of grace.  I'm not getting into that, but most people who read me understand what I am saying - because I've said it so often in the past.

Why I don't Call Myself Gay.

There was a book by that title, and several blog posts from others with similar titles.  The authors pretty much distance themselves from anyone who would call themselves 'gay' while insisting they are faithful to Catholic teaching, living celibate chaste lives.  Since I've been using the term - because that is how people tend to talk about me anyway - I have noted a decline in comments and links - on FB.  I don't mind that, but it's telling.  As telling as the removal of former Cardinal McCarrick's coat of arms from the Cathedral in Washington.  Denial and cover-up and more denial.

'Why I don't call myself gay' statements sometimes work really well to hide behind.  Say you are interested in a young teen, or a co-worker, or a penitent (if you're a priest).  You convince yourself you have same sex attraction, but you're not gay - until you hit on someone, someone hits on you, or you spend a lot of time on the 'hot guys' site.  Likewise, the 'why guys like me' can't be ordained, pretty much reveals, in my opinion, that ssa=gay and who knows what else, and yeah, that's why you can't be ordained.  (No offense to the authors of such testimonies - the irony is inescapable.)

Chaste, celibate.

Continence is a good word too.  So, what is a celibate?
It is defined as a person who abstains from marriage and sexual relations.

When a person experiences/understands himself to be same sex attracted, a sexual inclination popularly, culturally, academically and generally identified as gay, and when such a person decides to return to the Church and the sacraments, living chastely and celibately, he may use the term gay-celibate. The Church calls all persons to live chastely according to their state in life. If a person is single and chooses not marry, he chooses the celibate lifestyle for himself. Interestingly, celibate persons - no matter what their temptations, frequently live together in large or small communities. Diocesan priests frequently live alone, but more and more join together to live in a community of two or more. Single men and women can do the exact same thing.  The Church doesn't forbid it.

However, commentators online, pick up a discussion like this and they reduce the thoughts down to a soundbite, such as 'you can't be gay and celibate', or 'you can't say gay', or something like that. The person always gets sidelined or boxed-in and labeled - thus the pastoral concern gets lost in the details.

The only reason I bring this up again, and I know people are tired of the discussion and have moved on, is because it keeps popping up elsewhere online, and people are judged and sometimes written off.  This is when I tend to call out some people online as being disingenuous.  (On the other hand, some gay Catholics in 'marriages' and who are sexually active, consider themselves to be faithful Catholics as well.  They seem to believe the Church is wrong.  I'm not including their POV here.)

I have SSA or I have a disorder, or I'm gay - you be the judge?

When people such as myself take an honest inventory of our lives and review the choices we have made, I sometimes wonder how authentic it is to always be going back and forth with these terms - trying to be faithful to a somewhat clinical 'definition' can be difficult and in the end it remains a sort of label, an identity, most ordinary people immediately equate with 'gay'. A person on Spiritual Friendship replied to a comment by a person who prefers to use SSA instead of gay:

This sort of semantic dishonesty and obfuscation and distancing is where I think most of the concern over “SSA” comes from. Not that it can’t be someone’s preferred label, but that they think by some mental gymnastics that preferring a different label somehow means they can opt out of experiential affinity with the group in question. - Patty Keith 

I totally get that. These issues can be very troubling, no doubt about it. Over the years, in my efforts to live in fidelity to the Gospel, I've often struggled with the identity issue as well: Who am I?  What am I?  So often misled by the impositions of church people who don't know me, and so on. Someone who worked for me once asked, "Why don't you want people to know you live with someone?" I answered, "Because I don't want people to think I'm gay." He understood - but many people wouldn't. Today most people think two same sex persons living together are in a romantic relationship, and not just friends.  I think the guy I once worked with now just thinks I'm gay - and I no longer hear from him.  That is another story, BTW.

Experiential affinity.

This is my final point, as to why I revisit this subject.  I have friends and family who are gay and sexually active, some are civilly married to their partners.  some have been life long friends.  None of them accept the language used by Catholic theologians, much less understand it.  It is what it is.  It is the reality we find ourselves in.  Many of these people believe the Church hates them and wants to annihilate their very sense of being.  Lately, especially with Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the running for the Democratic nomination for president, MAGA supporters and provocateurs such as Rush Limbaugh, are on the offensive against anything gay or LGBTQ.  Far right Christians are claiming Buttigieg deserves death, and so on.  Not a few conservatives want to take away benefits from same sex couples, and so on.  

As a Catholic, how can I opt out of 'experiential affinity' with my gay brothers and sisters when they encounter unjust discrimination and hatred, just because they exist?  

“On the question of relating to our fellowman - our neighbor's spiritual need transcends every commandment. Everything else we do is a means to an end. But love is an end already, since God is love." - Edith Stein



Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A Well Researched Reply to Fr. Z.



From an expert on Fatima.

Kevin Symonds is a man I believe is a reliable expert on Fatima and the writings of Sr. Lucia - I would call him a Fatima scholar.  I don't know him personally but I have read his work and what he writes on his blog.

Symonds responded politely to Fr. Z's post on the vision of the Third Secret, wherein he speculates that it may have foretold two popes in the scenario.  Kevin offered to explain another dimension of the vision which would better accord with the theological exegesis offered by Cardinal Ratzinger.  (More or less.)  He politely asked him to 'refer to the book he had written on the Secret.  Fr. Z seemed to rebuff the idea, and stuck to his theory.

Kevin Symonds wrote a reply.

Actually, posting a separate reply on his blog is a good idea, because if he tried to comment a second time on Fr. Z's site, he might find himself blocked.  That said - I'll post an excerpt from Kevins post.

Under my comment, Fr. Z. responded in his characteristic red comments in brackets: 
[Refer me? Send me the book. And the fact remains: that’s how she described it. Facts are stubborn.] 
In his post, Fr. Z. associates the text “‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror…” with the text after it (the Bishop dressed in white). Thus, Fr. Z. wonders if the phrase is about two popes as in a mirror image.
So, is his interpretation correct? I have some thoughts on this question and submit them to the reader for consideration. 
[...]
(As Cardinal Ratzinger noted) "In the “mirror” of this vision we see passing before us the witnesses of the faith decade by decade." 
It is, therefore, clear that the Church herself understands the “mirror” and “light” analogy to be referring to God. It is not a literal mirror that the Pope passed by and saw a reflection. 
Lastly, if the Pope passed by some mirror in the vision of the third part of the secret, what about the others in the vision? Did they do so as well? It would seem to follow logically. After all, everyone specified in the vision are all headed to the same place–the cross. Curiously, they are not mentioned as having passed by some mirror. 
Conclusion:
Sr. Lúcia lacked theological, spelling and grammatical finesse in her writings, as is generally acknowledged.[4] She was, however, gifted with prophecy and wisdom in her simplicity. As I have said elsewhere, you have to pay attention to mystics as they are subtle people; one can miss something very important if care is not taken. In the present case, it seems plausible that Sr. Lúcia employed the “mirror” analogy in order to explain the manner in which the three visionaries saw the vision that is the third part of the secret of Fátima.  - A Reply to Fr. Z
An Observation:

In his footnotes, Kevin mentioned his appreciation for Fr. Sotello's comment on the more accepted theory of what Sr. Lucia meant in describing the vision as 'seeing people  passing by as in a mirror'.  I was happy with his comment as well, however I believe he misquotes something Our Lady said:  "Rather, she reinforces the phrase made earlier by Our Lady at Fatima, that “the Holy Father will have much to suffer for.”"  I've never read it in that way.  I've always understood Our Lady's words to be, "the Holy Father will have much to suffer", not "suffer for".  To 'suffer for' makes it sound like the Holy Father is being punished.  That was never the sense I had from Our Lady's words.


Monday, January 27, 2020

A Lutheran Convert in Our Lady's Court.



Don't even go there Fr. Z ... please.

Fr. Z sees 2 popes in the Fatima Secret.  No.  No. No.  Gosh!

About that secret.  Cardinal Ratzinger pretty much summed it up.  However, those who do not know how to deal with the retirement of a reigning Pontiff need to see some sort of extraordinary judgment on that.  C'mon.

What bothers me?  Not the part about persecution.  That’s a given.
Speculating on the Third Secret, Fr. Z goes on to observe:
Note that reference to seeing an image like to that of an image in a mirror.
When you see someone pass in front of a mirror, you see two of them, the real one and the image. Two.
Hence, in this case, the vision involved seeing two figures dressed in white, one being the real one and the other being the image of the real one. And, according to the description, Lúcia says she saw whom she took to be the Pope and a figure that was not the Pope but an image like the Pope.
One figure the Pope and the other, close by, as in a mirror, not the Pope but looking like the Pope. - Fr. Z
He tries, I know.  I hope he prays his rosary.  Deeply, and consistently.  Devoutly.  Then Our Lady will never permit silly distortions like this to continue.  Our Lady did not put on a show or a morality tale.

On this day, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, just remember, Our Lady at Fatima never mentioned by name her people who died in the camps.  Our Divine Mother encompasses all of humanity - she never enters into politics, much less the way the Petrine Office is conducted - EXCEPT to request prayers for the reigning Pontiff - at any time in history.

Stop playing with the secret.  Stop manipulating it for your agenda.  Our Lady is obedient to her Son, to the Church He established, and She is Mother of the Church.  Children and simple souls understand her message - they don't ever use it to condemn or judge, much worse, to play Pope against a retired Pope.  The secret is unfolding - no doubt - but not how those who should know better attempt to interpret it.

When repairs are needed.



"Jesus, repair what I have done badly!"

When we fail, when we are tempted to rebel against those who find out our faults and imperfections, we too can remain silent, asking our Lord to undo, to repair what we've done badly, that no one may be lost because of our bad example.  If others are scandalized by our failings, we can have confidence Jesus will repair and draw forth a greater good.  I think this is a secret of His Sacred Heart, as well as the key to the devotion to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots.  When others condemn us, we can even rejoice to be found imperfect and in need of God's mercy!


"A notion which is not widespread and which, nevertheless, is very important is that Jesus, when we ask him with confidence, repairs not only the evil we have done in ourselves, but also the evil we have done around us.

Indeed, he has made all things right in me, but what about the evil I have done to others?  The bad example I have set, the scandal I have given, the good I would have been able to do and did not do, the injustice I committed?  I am set aright myself, but what about the others?

Say then, 'Jesus, from this evil also which I have wrought around me, draw forth good.  Even, I dare to ask you, draw a greater good from it than if I had not done the evil... Jesus, make reparation in me and around me.'" - I Believe In Love, Pere Jean du Coeur de Jesus D'Elbee

Friday, January 24, 2020

Spreading Devotion to the Extraordinary Form of Mass.



Nothing wrong with that.

Yet to make the claim one form of Holy Mass is better than another, or more efficacious, is a big mistake.  Yet that is what devotees frequently do, even Fr. Z and his followers.  Not always overtly, but it is implied - especially in his comment box.  Recently he posted: "A diocese smells the coffee: starts planning for decline of the Novus Ordo and growth of the TLM"

Just the language of the title seems to denigrate, declass the Ordinary Form of Mass, by referring to it as the Novus Ordo - which is understood by most to mean the 'new' Mass.  That is, the Ordinary Form of Mass celebrated by Roman Catholics throughout the world.  TLM stand for Traditional Latin Mass - known after Summorum Pontificum as the Extraordinary Form.  Summorum was not meant to be divisive but inclusive.  I have heard some Catholic claim that if one continues to attend the EF after experiencing the transcendent beauty of the EF, they offend God.  That is the notion I object most to.

Janet Smith posted a supportive link to Fr. Z's post and I responded.  In vain, I dare say.  This was the exchange:

Terry Nelson I hate it when you people promote this - Fr. Z's mentor and patron was not anti-VII, nor anti Novus Ordo. He celebrated the Novus Ordo - promoting Latin and ad orientem - seriously, there was no tangible difference to the ordinary Catholic in the manner Mass was celebrated. I went to talk to Monsignor, confessed to him - I think he would completely disapprove of how Fr. Z promotes this division. 
Janet E. Smith What is offensive or divisive about what was posted? People are gravitating to the TLM. Is that bad or divisive? Are those who stick with the NO divisive? Both are permitted. It not divisive to prefer one or the other. People who keep lamenting “division” are the ones causing it, IMHO.
Terry Nelson Janet E. Smith there is nothing wrong with an attachment to the EF - the OF is the ordinary form in the Church, when celebrated according to rubrics, esp. ad orientem, the OF is fine. To say one is holier than another is mistaken. To devoutly prefer one to another is not bad in itself, but it often degenerates into mockery of and condemnation of the OF. (In the extreme, calling into question the NO sacraments - including Holy Orders.) Fr. Z promotes the OF and encourages 'recruits' to it, if you will. Underlying all of this is the claim the OF is not as holy, that it's an abomination. Read the commentary Fr. Z gets. Holy Mass should not be politicized but that is how it gets treated, the 'liberals' don't like it, the 'conservatives' do, and so on. That's wrong. I grew up with the TLM, I was an altar boy - as Mons. Pope recently pointed out, the EF wasn't always well celebrated either. Wasn't the point of the Summorum Pontificum to help the Ordinary Form? It's been my observation it has been used to oppose the Pope and any authentic reform of VII.

My experience with Dr. Smith is that she is more or less dismissive of anyone who is neither an academic or cleric.  The conversation I began on her site developed further, with other commenters who supported her POV.  Nothing wrong with her opinion BTW, my point was made.  My experience of promoters of the TLM is that they are the divisive element when they think anyone devoted to the OF Mass is ignorant of tradition, and/or protestant.

I love both forms of Mass.  I also love the traditional celebration of the sacraments.  The Ordinary Form of things are just as sacred, just as holy, and no more or less eficacious than the EF.

As I have said before, I believe many people are drawn to deeper devotion in and through the traditional liturgical rites. Nothing wrong with that at all. It is their personal experience, but it cannot be stated that therefore the extraordinary Form is holier or more pleasing to God, when in fact the Church celebrates the Ordinary Form as the central form of the liturgy. (I'm not a liturgist so I'm not sure I expressed that well.) Playing the two forms against one another, or saying one is more efficacious than the other is an error. It seems to me that attitude is also a form of snobbery which is often observable in other areas of the lives of such people. (It's frequently fairly obvious on social media.)

As regards exterior things, he (Editor: one who is attached to the grandeur and pomp of the EF) will become unable to dispose himself for prayer in all places, but will be confined to places that are to his taste; and thus he will often fail in prayer, because, as the saying goes, he can understand no other book than his own village. - S. John, Ascent

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Sayings



Many times I'm mistaken, presumptuous, and don't know what I'm talking about. So pay no attention to me - I'm a sounding keyboard.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

I'm not finished.



I haven't posted much on the blog - but I'll be back.  Soon.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Praying for Cardinal Pell

Cardinal George Pell has reportedly been moved 
from his central prison in Melbourne 
to a high-security facility in regional Victoria 
after a drone had flown over the prison. - Source

This is sad.  I believe Pell is innocent.  He's being moved because they don't want him photographed.  The conditions in the new prison are supposed to be pretty bad. 

"Cardinal Pell knew from hard personal experience how virulent the anti-Catholic atmosphere in Australia had become. As a member of the College of Cardinals and a senior Vatican official, Pell enjoyed Vatican citizenship and held a Vatican diplomatic passport; he could have stayed put, untouchable by the Australian authorities. Yet he freely decided to submit himself to his country’s criminal justice system. He knew he was innocent; he was determined to defend his honor and that of the Church; and he believed in the rectitude of the Australian courts. So he went home." - George Weigel

Sunday, January 05, 2020

The Epiphany of Hieronymus Bosch




I thought of the Bosch while meditating on today's Gospel.  The kings represent the Turks, ‘Ethiopians’, and Mongols - reminding me of all the powers interested in the Middle East today.  In the background is the figure of the Antichrist - at the time Herod, the precursor of the Antichrist.  He is depicted as a voluptuous sensualist - vain, narcissistic and corrupt.  He is Antichrist since he wants to destroy the child Jesus.

We read the Magi were warned to not return to Herod and they left by a different route.  We know the Holy Family fled, and that Herod massacred the Holy Innocents to ensure he killed his rival.  How like our times, I thought.  Children, babies, the unborn - are eliminated in our day, legally and illegally.  Others are driven away from their homeland, or exploited and given over to slavery. 

St. John tells us there are many Antichrists among us.  Herod is one prototype.  The Bosch figure is perhaps a warning, a projection of what will be in the end times.  An immoral, corrupt hedonist, rallying 'those who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise government: audacious, self willed, they fear not to bring in sects, blaspheming.'  (2 Peter 2:10; Douay-Rheims Haydock)

The Epiphany is much more than that, of course.  It is the manifestation of the divinity in Christ, and it is threefold:  To the gentiles in the adoration of the Magi, in the baptism by John in the Jordan, and in the wedding at Cana.  

Imagine - wanting to kill the Messiah, the Savior, the King of the Jews?  As the angel said to St. Joseph: 'Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.' (Matt 2:13)

Many today are out to destroy - in the end, they fail.  "And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail. (Matt. 16:18)


Thursday, January 02, 2020

Thoughts and prayers.

That time the Holy Father tripped.


People hate that saying.

I thought I'd use it for the title of this post - just for fun.  I post everything on Facebook and do not take time to write very much on the blog.  On FB you can post a link and quote, as well as a few thoughts, and it's done.  Now that I take care of my friend, I'm always in the same room with him when I'm online, he also watches TV, likes to talk, and needs attention.  That makes it difficult to compose a post.  I'm not complaining - just letting my friends know why I'm not posting so much.

Recent news on the Holy Father incited his critics to condemn him for slapping the hand of a woman who yanked his arm.  The poor woman appeared to have something urgent to say or ask, but the Holy Father nearly lost his balance and was obviously in great pain.  I don't know how he does it - he walks the entire length of the basilica, greets pilgrims, and travels so much - never even taking a vacation. He has one lung, obvious sciatica and most likely painful arthritis, and when he was yanked back, I think there was pain - from the look on his face. I'm certain he was sincerely sorry he offended the woman, I also think he is humble enough to accept being seen as imperfect and just like anyone else who loses their patience under stress.

I'm reminded of St. Therese, whose birthday it is today, when on her deathbed, sisters in her community found her 'imperfect' and not a saint.  Mother Agnes noted a couple of occasions when Therese lost her patience - although we would never have noticed it or thought it an imperfection or a fault.

"Four months before her death, Therese was running a high fever. One of the nuns came in and asked her help in a very delicate piece of painting.  Just for an instant a very slight blush betrayed her effort to keep her patience.  That evening she sent a little note to M. Agnes, humbly admitting her weakness.  'This evening I showed you my virtue, my treasures of patience.  I who am so good at preaching to others.  I am glad you noticed my imperfection.  It does me good ...'"

Later, a lay-sister brought Therese some broth, which she refused because she was so ill it would cause her to vomit.  The sister was offended, and Therese apologized, asking the sister's pardon.  The sister remained disedified and later told another sister, "Sr. Therese is no saint!  She is not even a good religious!"  Later, when Therese was told about it, she rejoiced.  She was happy that she was found to be imperfect, and especially a bad religious - on her deathbed.  Her joy was in knowing that  she too needed the Divine Mercy.

Little Therese told M. Agnes:  "The fact that people find me imperfect brings me real joy, and what brings me even more joy is to realize this myself and to feel the need for God's mercy at the moment of death."

I think Pope Francis is very much like St. Therese, may she obtain for him all that is necessary to lead the Church.

What?