Benedict’s death, at the age of 95, was announced in Rome on Dec. 31. His body will lie in state in St. Peter’s Basilica from the morning of Monday, Jan. 2, 2023.
Tuesday, December 27, 2022
I finished my painting of the saint. The photos are not the best, but I wanted to share the work - I spent Advent painting him.
Short biography of St. Toribio.
Born in Santa Ana de Guadalupe, which belongs to the parish of Jalostotitlán, Jal. (Diocese of San Juan de los Lagos), 16 April 1900. Vicar functions pastor in Tequila, Jalisco., (Archdiocese of Guadalajara). Priest sensitive heart, assiduous prayer. Passionate about the Eucharist asked many times: "Lord, let me not a single day of my life without saying Mass without Communion hold in'. In a First Communion, to take the Sacred Host in his hands, said: "And would accept my blood, Lord, I offer you the peace of the Church? 'While in Aguascalientes, a location near Tequila that served as refuge and center of his ministry, he wanted to acquaint the parish. Worked on Friday all day and all night. At five in the morning of Saturday February 25, 1928, wanted to celebrate the Eucharist but, feeling very tired and sleepy preferred to celebrate a little sleep better. He had hardly fallen asleep when a group of agrarians and soldiers entered the room and when one of them pointed, saying, "That's the priest, kill him"Father Toribio woke up scared, stood up and received a discharge. Wounded and walked a little hesitant, a new download, in the back, cut the life of the martyr and his generous blood that reddened the land of Jalisco Canyon. - Vatican website
Holy Father, you who sent your Son to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven to us, and He, obedient to your will, carried out the mission you gave Him to do, we pray that through the intercession of St. Toribio:
You care for and guide members of our families that have had to leave their homes for distant lands to improve their lives and those of their families. Keep them safe from harm and help them to stay firm in their Faith so that they can soon return to their homes strengthened in soul and body.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen
(St. Toribio Romo Shrine)
Saturday, December 24, 2022
Sunday, December 18, 2022
Saturday, December 17, 2022
Shaken and Stirred
I will reprint something from Alfred Delp, S.J. For me it explains everything. The war, the atrocities, the ideological madness, the schism, the apostasy, the civil unrest, the suicides and murders - even the Pope and his 'make a mess' call to conversion. I found this on Tumblr.
Friday, December 16, 2022
Pray, pray, pray. However you know how, wherever you are. Never give up prayer, no matter what state you are in. The rosary is a sure way of ceaseless prayer. The morning offering ensures that everything we do is a prayer and a sacrifice throughout the day, as the Catechism states: "He "prays without ceasing" who unites prayer to works and good works to prayer. Only in this way can we consider as realizable the principle of praying without ceasing." And, "It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop, . . . while buying or selling, . . . or even while cooking."
I would suggest that frequent spiritual communion throughout the day sustains us in the presence of God and teaches us how to be recollected in our occupations. These things I recommend to those who do not go to daily Mass, and even those who may be caught in the habit of sin. "Prayer is the trap door out of sin." Never give up prayer.
Artists like to quote Dostoevsky, or is it Solzhenitsyn, who wrote, "beauty will save the world". What few realize is that the true beauty, the essential beauty, or the 'love of beauty' is what the monastic fathers called prayer. As the Catechism affirms: "Still others exalt sensuality and comfort as the criteria of the true, the good, and the beautiful; whereas prayer, the "love of beauty" (philokalia), is caught up in the glory of the living and true God. Finally, some see prayer as a flight from the world in reaction against activism; but in fact, Christian prayer is neither an escape from reality nor a divorce from life."
Prayer is our heaven on earth.
Thursday, December 01, 2022
I woke up thinking that - thanking God for this new day, praying immediately for an online acquaintance who is most likely dying.
Everything must change, expectations of how things must be, or should be must be allowed to crumble.
O my God! I thank you for Pope Francis who has overturned the tables of our idolatry and ideology. He has lifted burdens too hard to carry and called down the Holy Spirit to stir up the love of God in the hearts of the faithful, though our sins impede the grace of mercy which so longs to save us - the Lord comes to our help with his mighty strength.
Thank you Lord. Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything.
Thursday, November 24, 2022
For years I lied to people - Darold did too - telling them we were going to my sister's for Thanksgiving. People just couldn't bear the idea two guys wouldn't be with family for Thanksgiving.
Thursday, November 17, 2022
I spend too much time online.
Now that family follows me on FB, along with others who actually know me, I can no longer be quite as candid as I used to be - which was always too much.
If I say something about what I'm feeling, reflecting upon what that means to me - I get reactions I was never expecting nor looking for. If I mention heath concerns I get offers to help - which again, wasn't what I was looking for. Then I get post links - whatever you call being flagged in a post and I don't know how to respond, but if I don't, I'm afraid the other person will be offended. (This is not a complaint - I'm simply reflecting on how my experience online has changed.)
I scroll looking for something funny or distracting to post as a diversion, only to run out of stuff that interests me or even make me laugh. In the meantime I keep scrolling by people I follow or link to and sooner or later I see how mundane everything is - and sometimes downright insane. The crazy things people post - it dawned on me, that is how I must look to others online.
The negativity and cynicism - not to mention the gossip and disparagement of others, be it political or ecclesial really is toxic. It's contagious. I never understood that more clearly than when I engaged in discussions - commenting with personal anecdotes regarding a couple of contemplative religious foundations. In part I believed I was contributing positively as well a supporting some directives from the Vatican. Long story short, I saw my good intentions were no better than a former religious' intention in exposing the problems associated with the founder and foundation of a Carmelite group out west. I was so taken aback by the accuser's inclusion of anecdotes, videos and photos, from her former community, apparently using them to establish her credibility and provide evidence to support her report. I had to examine my own part in the brew and realized it was not good.
I went through my archives as well as posts on Church Militant and removed all my commentary - quite ashamed I had engaged myself so imprudently and without being asked to do so. I very much doubt my commentary made any difference and was simply anecdotal and personal opinion - yet my involvement amounted to gossip and meddling - something I've censured others for - especially in the case of the former nun in the interview. I so want to avoid doing things like that, from now on.
The past couple of days, others I follow online, whom conservatives call 'leftist-Catholics' have taken issue with the elections of a new President and Chairmen of the USCCB. I looked up some of the concerns they expressed, one or two statements made by the Bishop-elect seemed just fine to me. Yet other points the critics made - that the election was a clear message of rejection to Pope Francis, if true, is simply very discouraging.
I don't usually follow the 'politics' of the USCCB and I'm not a bishop-watcher. From the early days of my conversion until now, the bishops have always simply been on the periphery of my spiritual life. I've know a couple personally, did some painting for one or two, but that's about it. I've lived through Bernadine, Roach and others - and none of that threatened my faith or devotion. If the pendulum has swung the other way, I'll live through this as well. It's just sad that Catholics are so divided and that so many appear to reject the Holy Father - of course others before them have as well. So many lay-Catholics regard the Church as a political entity and seem to take sides in the same way they do in American politics. Taking sides and fighting and defending ones' cause to the point of detraction and calumny is a great evil. That certainly comes out in com-boxes across social media platforms.
I hope I can learn from my mistakes and the mistakes I discover in others - which only mirror my own - especially if I want to correct or report on them. Discretion and discernment must be my companion and teacher.
Wednesday, November 09, 2022
When I feel quite lost and alone, I remember that I am not out of the Father's hands. This image reminded me of paintings of the Father holding the dead Christ, and today it suddenly became for me my assurance and my peace. Although all seems lost and things seem to be collapsing around me and I feel utterly alone, this image reminds me that I - we - are held (together) in the Father's embrace. "...and the gates of the nether world shall not prevail against it." (Mt 16:18)
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever present help in distress,
Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea. - Ps 46
*The image is actually a detail of a Pieta - the Mother of Sorrows holding her Son. When I first viewed this particular image, my mind immediately went to the image of the Father receiving the Body of Jesus which is often portrayed in images of the Blessed Trinity.
Monday, November 07, 2022
This is such an important message. I've seen unforgiveness online among Catholics, some who have even left the Church - we all need to forgive. Over and over if need be - just as much as we all need to ask for forgiveness, especially in the sacrament of Penance - over and over and over.
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
Friday, November 04, 2022
I was scrolling through Tumblr and came across a painting from the Prado, "The Desecration of the Crucifix or The Christ of the Insults". I didn't understand what it depicted and searched online. It turns out the painting depicts one of the episodes in the story of desecration and offense to a crucifix, this time by a family of Portuguese Jews in Madrid in 1630. Researching the story, I believe it to be a hysterical invention to slander New Christians or Conversos at the time, memorialized in art. Much like 'blood libel' cases of Jews killing children and drinking their blood - a trope resurrected today by QAnon conspirators and several of their MAGA followers: E.g. "QAnon followers claim the drug adrenochrome is harvested from the blood of children by Hollywood elites." Dig deeper and links to the Jews as perpetrators is claimed. It's an old lie, with Christian roots.
("Kanye West's recent statements draw on longstanding anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories about Jewish people. Ye’s comments also reflect beliefs espoused by fringe anti-Semitic religious groups, including extremist sects of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement and the Nation of Islam." - read more at ADL: Kanye West - What you need to know.)
The Lisbon Massacre
The painting which caught my attention is not related to the 1506 Lisbon Massacre, since what is depicted took place at later date in Madrid. Yet I believe it is part of the continuum of circumstances precipitated the Lisbon Massacre of 1506. I will copy and paste, with links to another site wherein I found a good history and commentary.
|A German woodcut depicting the massacre, |
one of the few woodcuts that survived the 1755
Lisbon earthquake and the fire at Torre do Tombo
The Lisbon Massacre, alternatively known as the Lisbon Pogrom or the 1506 Easter Slaughter was an incident in April, 1506, in which a crowd of Catholics, as well as foreign sailors who were anchored in the Tagus, persecuted, tortured, killed, and burnt at the stake hundreds of people who were accused of being Jews and, thus, guilty of deicide and heresy. This incident took place thirty years before the establishment of the Inquisition in Portugal and nine years after the Jews were forced to convert to Roman Catholicism in 1497, during the reign of King Manuel I. Because the victims were Marranos or Conversos (Jews who had become Catholics), it was somewhat unique among incidents of anti-Semitic violence. It is also known as the Easter Massacre. It is estimated to have resulted in the violent deaths of anywhere between 1,000 to 4,000 men, women and children.
The massacre began at Convent of Saint Dominic, on Sunday, April 19, 1506, when the believers were praying for the end of the drought and plague that ravaged Portugal, and someone claimed to have seen the face of Christ lit at the church altar – a phenomenon that was interpreted as a miracle by the Catholics present.
A New Christian who also attended the mass tried to explain that this miracle was only the reflection of a light, but the crowd would not listen to him and beat him to death. As from there onwards, the Jews who were already viewed with suspicion became the scapegoat of drought, hunger and plague. - Richard Harvey, Messianic Jewish teacher in UK
Antisemitism, specifically anti-Judaism - exists on the left and the right.
Could it happen again? It is happening today, right now. What it might become may be seen elsewhere around the globe - not always against Jews at first, but certainly against Christians. E.g. The massacres and burning of churches in Africa. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia to save the country from Satanists and neo-Nazis, are just two examples of genocidal crimes with 'religious' motivation. In the United States, the anti-Semitic rhetoric and activities by the extreme rightwing is growing, while anti-Zionism/anti-Israel sentiments can likewise be found on the left. It is too complicated for me to discuss here, to be sure. However it seems to me we may be on the precipice of suffering the same kind of violence we witness in other places, Africa, Middle East, Ukraine, just to name a few.
I'm no expert or historian of course, but I believe we are on the precipice, as the Pope mentioned today in Bahrain, warning "...we continue to find ourselves on the brink of a delicate precipice and we do not want to fall."