Friday, July 24, 2020

Social Media and hurting yourself and others...


Merging with the crowd feels much better than standing alone.*

Since the death of my friend, for some reason I've become much more sensitive regarding criticism and rash judgment.  I've always opposed it when it has been focused upon the Holy Father, and over the years, I've gone back and forth on criticism of bishops.

For years I've been skeptical about 'new' religious orders, or communities, and I've offered my share of criticism suspicion about certain groups.  Considering the toxic things Trump dishes out to anyone who questions what he says, it occurred to me that he is speaking from some sort of interior deficit.  His cousin, Mary Trump suggests he acts out because of deep seated insecurities.  That could include fear of failure, fear that people may discover his vulnerability or weaknesses, and so on.

I considered that analysis in respect to my own 'critical spirit'.  Perhaps my criticism of others reflects what I most lack in myself?  Or failed to achieve? Perhaps it is rooted in envy, even jealousy?  Stemming from my own sense/fear of failure?  Used as an offensive to avoid being found out by others...  It's all stuff I've been reflecting upon in my grief and solitude.

I suppose I recognize it in others, probably because I am guilty of, or prone to the same toxic attitudes.  In fact, many years ago, very much influenced by Traditionalists, I freely criticized so-called 'neo-cons' - without grounds.  I followed the opinions of those who appeared to know better, because they were steeped in Traditional Catholicism, and trusted nothing after 1960, and that sort of thing.  I began blogging under that influence.  I freely criticized other writers, Catholic movements, priests, and so on.

My conscience has been especially troubled recently, as I encountered the mean spirited posts and comments regarding a well known Catholic blogger-writer.  She was very much maligned over the years because she married a man who had been a priest.  I followed suit in my criticism - totally unwarranted, BTW.  She in turn contacted me and asked why I would treat her like that, since we didn't even know one another.  I accepted her humble question as a 'rebuke' and an occasion to examine my conscience.  I apologized and we became online friends.  When I came across the latest attacks upon her character and talent, I had great sympathy for her, once again.  She is in my prayers.  The people maligning her seem to thrive on condemning those they disagree with. 

That is just one example of my change of heart.  Immediately after my friend died, a high school friend posted comments mocking Trump.  I'm no fan of Trump, I don't like him at all, but the mocking, sneering comments are always against charity, and I can't support that any longer.  I told her that, and she removed her comment.

In turn, some of my 'online friends' constantly criticize Catholics who support Trump, reject Pope Francis, while they themselves embrace so-called liberal politics, including the questionable political motives of a radical left.  They seem to be able to ignore some of the tactics and agenda of the 'left', and embrace everything opposed to the Trump administration.  (Like I said, I'm not a fan of Trump.) It seems to me, they fall into the exact same trap I fell into years ago, when I sided with the more traditionalist agenda, which supported Pope Benedict before his retirement.

I think both sides tie into an ideological mindset, a kind of dogmatism, and therefore become rigid in a closed system, as it were.  Therefore one pigeon-holes certain groups and person, which excludes them from your social network/clique, and vice versa.  I recognize in these situations the corrupting influence of a collective mentality, a sort of group think which influences social media and manipulates opinion.

Just sharing some thoughts.

*"Americans have discovered the way in which fear of collective disapproval breeds self-censorship and silence, which impoverish public life and creative work. The double life one ends up leading—one where there is a growing gap between one’s public and private selves—eventually begins to feel oppressive." - The American Soviet Mentality

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Devotion to the Holy Wounds

I have a 'secret' title.

When I was professed in the III Order of St. Francis, I took the title 'of the Holy Wounds' since after my conversion, I found the devotion to the Sacred Wounds especially efficacious against temptation and in reparation for sin.  I was especially devoted to the wounds inflicted upon Jesus in the scourging, along with the wounds of the Crucifixion.  I say the chaplet of the Holy Wounds, as well as the chaplet of Divine Mercy.... for the sick, the dying, and those who have died - those whose faith is known to God alone.  This is the direction my life has taken now.

Promises of the devotion.

I will link to Mystics of the Church, the source of the following information on the devotion.

Sister Mary Martha Chambon and Devotion to the Holy Wounds of Jesus Christ 
Sister Mary Martha Chambon (1841- March 21, 1907), a nun of the Religious of the Visitation of Chambery, could be called the apostle of the Holy Wounds. Like St. Margaret Mary, a saint from the same religious order, whom Jesus entrusted with the Devotion to the Sacred Heart; Sister Mary Martha Chambon was entrusted with the Devotion to the Holy Wounds. 
One year on the Feast of the Visitation, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her together with St. Margaret Mary and the Founders of the order to confirm her mission. The Blessed Virgin Mary told her: “Blessed Margaret Mary reproduced the Sacred Heart of my Son in order to give Him to the world…and you, my daughter are chosen to arrest the justice of God in making known the merits of the Passion and of the Holy Wounds of my unique and beloved son, Jesus.”  
Jesus, Himself, revealed to her the many advantages and graces that can be obtained through this devotion to His Holy Wounds:
“My daughter, each time you offer to My Father the merits of My divine Wounds, you gain an immense fortune.”
"Behold wherewith to pay all debts. Fear not to show My Wounds to souls. The way of My Wounds is an easy and simple way of going to heaven.”“I will grant all that is asked of Me through devotion to the Holy Wounds. Those who will honor them will have a true knowledge of Jesus Christ.”“There will be no death for the soul that expires in My Wounds, They give true life.”
Then, Jesus taught her these two aspirations:
“My Jesus, pardon and mercy through the merits of Thy Holy Wounds.”
 Jesus indicated that this aspiration should be repeated often near the sick as it is promised to bring solace to soul and body. The second prayer that Jesus taught her was:
“Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Wounds of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, to heal the wounds of our souls.” Jesus promised the conversion of the sinner who would make this offering.
The sisters in this convent arranged these two aspirations into the Chaplet of the Holy Wounds, also called the Chaplet of Mercy, in order to facilitate its recitation. These aspirations, which are indulgenced, can be said on any rosary or chaplet, or may be said as single invocations during work.
Sister Martha Chambon had great zeal for souls, especially the dying. Jesus told her:
“You must offer the merits of the Holy Wounds for persons who die in the night or during the course of the day.” Jesus told her of this great gift He had given to her community: “Behold your treasure. The treasure of the Holy Wounds encloses crowns which you should take and give to others. One day these souls for whom you shall have obtained a holy death by your prayers, will turn towards you to thank you. All men shall appear before Me on the judgment day, and I shall then point out My privileged Spouses, who shall have purified the world by My Holy Wounds.”

Another practice of Saint Mary Martha was offering her actions in union with the Holy Wounds for the conversion of sinners and for the souls in purgatory. In this way, she obtained the release of many souls. The chaplet of the Holy Wounds is a very efficacious way of helping the poor souls. Jesus told her once:
“My daughter, look at my Wounds, offer them for the souls in Purgatory. The sufferings of My Holy Passion, behold the great remedy for these souls; but its merits must be applied to them.”

The chaplet of the Holy Wounds is a very efficacious way of helping the poor souls. 

Monday, July 20, 2020

Feast of St. Elijah

My favorite little painting ...

Feast of St. Elijah, Prophet

In the 19th century a Coptic manuscript was found, known as the Apocalypse of Elijah. Elijah is of course associated with the coming of the Messiah - for Jews and Christians - Muslims as well. Christ attested to his coming in the Gospel - in regard to John the Baptist. Jews still set a place at table for Elijah, and the Book of Revelation speaks of his return at the end times.

"No one is able to enter the holy place if he is double minded. The one who is double minded in his prayer is darkness to himself. And even the angels do not trust him." - Apocalypse

1.The word of YHWH came to me saying, "Son of man, say to his people, 'why do you add sin to your sins and anger the Lord God who created you ?' " 2.Don't love the world or the things which are in the world, for the boasting of the world and its destruction belong to the devil. 
13.Hear, O wise men of the land, concerning the deceivers who will multiply in the last times so that they will set down for themselves doctrines which do not belong to God, setting aside the Law of God, those who have made their belly their God, saying, "The fast does not exist, nor did God create it," making themselves strangers to the covenant of God and robbing themselves of the glorious promises. 
14.Now these are not ever correctly established in the firm faith. Therefore don't let those people lead you astray. 
25.Likewise no one is able to enter the holy place if he is double minded. 26.The one who is double minded in his prayer is darkness to himself. And even the angels do not trust him. 27.Therefore be single-minded in the Lord at all times so that you might know every moment. - Apocalypse of Elijah

Another poem too important to forget ...

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone who journeyed through the night
with plans and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head from the crowd of the world
to say it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where like a shadow or a friend.
- Naomi Shihab Nye from The Words Under the Words: Selected Poems