Friday, November 04, 2022

Antisemitism is here.


Francisco Camilo - The desecration of the Crucifix, 
or “The Christ of Injuries”.

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."

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Self Interest Over Charity

Chiesa del Purgatorio 
Matera, Italia

Catherine of Siena refers to it as selfish self seeking.

Yesterday I was thinking about the first reading from Revelations, especially the verse:

After this I had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb.” - Rv 7: 2-4, 9-14

I thought that I wouldn't like the outfit - I don't like white robes, I was thinking it wouldn't have a collar and I'd be dressed the same as everyone else.  I laughed to myself realizing how vain I am.  Even in the novitiate, I disliked having to wear a white sash instead of a belt, and I tried to keep the hood on my scapular standing so it covered my neck, as it were.  Once I asked a fellow novice if I looked fat in the habit.  (I was actually anorexic.)  Obviously I had issues with vanity and singularity.  As old as I am today, I still do if my musing on the reading from Revelations indicates anything.

Why we need purgatory.

This morning I read a meditation from St. Catherine of Genoa regarding the souls in purgatory, which drove home my point: "Only once, as they pass from this life, do they see the cause of the Purgatory they endure; never again do they see it for in another sight of it there would be self."

"Only once, as they pass from this life, do they see the cause of the Purgatory they endure; never again do they see it for in another sight of it there would be self. Being then in charity from which they cannot now depart by any actual fault, they can no longer will nor desire save with the pure will of pure charity. Being in that fire of Purgatory, they are within the divine ordinance, which is pure charity, and in nothing can they depart thence for they are deprived of the power to sin as of the power to merit." - St. Catherine of Genoa, "Treatise On Purgatory"

That is it, I thought.  If I am blessed to find myself in the white robed multitude before God, that self interest shall have been purged and consumed in the fire, the light that is God.  It is His sanctity, His purity, His consuming fire of charity which purifies and frees the soul from all selfish self seeking, all self interest, all self love.  It begins in this life and is accelerated by frequent reception of the sacraments, prayer, self-denial and charity: alms giving, service of the poor, and so on.  (Including fidelity to the duties of ones state in life.)

John of the Cross offers a kind of description which maybe analogous to that initial understanding the soul experiences in knowing the cause of their Purgatory:

"Before the divine fire is introduced into the substance of the soul and united with it through perfect and complete purgation and purity, its flame, which is the Holy Spirit, wounds the soul by destroying and consuming the imperfections of its bad habits. And this is the work of the Holy Spirit, in which he disposes it for divine union and transformation in God through love.
"The very fire of love that afterward is united with the soul, glorifying it, is what previously assailed it by purging it, just as the fire that penetrates a log of wood is the same that first makes an assault on the wood, wounding it with the flame, drying it out, and stripping it of its unsightly qualities until it is so disposed that it can be penetrated and transformed into the fire." -  Living Flame of Love

The sanctity of God makes us holy.

O my God, Trinity whom I adore; help me to forget myself entirely that I may be established in You as still and as peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing trouble my peace or make me leave You, O my Unchanging One, but may each minute carry me further into the depths of Your mystery. Give peace to my soul; make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling and Your resting place. May I never leave You there alone but be wholly present, my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring, and wholly surrendered to Your creative Action.

O consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, "come upon me," and create in my soul a kind of incarnation of the Word: that I may be another humanity for Him in which He can renew His whole Mystery. And You, O Father, bend lovingly over Your poor little creature; "cover her with Your shadow," seeing in her only the "Beloved in whom You are well pleased." - St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

God is love.

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Loving the Heart of Jesus. By a Carthusian

A wonderful meditation.

"Loving the Heart of Jesus means knowing how to suffer a lot, always, alone, in silence, with a smile on your lips, under the gaze of him who scrutinizes hearts, in the complete abandonment of loved ones, without being understood, without being pitied and consoled. ; knowing how to hide the sacred "mystery of the cross" as a priceless treasure, in the depths of the pierced and aching soul, in the midst of a heart crowned with thorns.

To love him means to forget ourselves and our miseries in order to remember only him, who is the resurrection and the life, to throw into that adorable Heart every anxious concern for spiritual progress, and even when we see ourselves fallen for the hundredth time into the same imperfections, always get up again promptly with humility and peace, trusting in the perennial miracle of his almighty grace, resting in the infinite sweetness and forgiveness of God.

To love the Heart of Jesus means to venerate the glorious stigmata of the Crucifix in the suffering, and to surround with tender affection their livid and tortured limbs, in which he renews every day and perpetuates the ineffable poem of his Passion over the centuries.

To love him means to suffer with him for his pains, and to make amends in an affective and effective, practical, effective, indefatigable, generous, intelligent way for the enormous crimes with which his enemies profane his Person, crush his honor, debase him in the mud. his dignity, insult those who represent him, and at the same time atone for the sins - materially perhaps less serious, but formally more injurious - than those who should by profession and by free choice be his friends, and instead .. "they crucify again ..." (Heb 6, 6).

Loving the Heart of Jesus means favoring and helping "with the holiness and sincerity that come from God" (2Cor 1, 12) whoever struggles for his glory, renouncing without regret, for the common good, alleged rights of precedence or patents of invention, covering with the mantle of charity weaknesses and miseries, forgetting in silence and forgiveness bitter words, unkind gestures, carefully avoiding stings of honor, petty jealousies and rivalries, which so often compromise the dignity and the success of the ministry.

To love him means to fulfill our obscure duty with faith and solicitude, in the uniformity of a monotonous and hidden existence, without expecting approval, without denigrating those who emerge, without hindering, with badly concealed envy, the initiatives of others without exulting for their failure. , without trampling on those who have fallen without denying merit or slandering intentions, in a word without impeding or condemning the good, for the sole fact that it does not bear our trademark: "Provided that in every way ... Christ is announced" ( Phil 1, 18).

Loving the Heart of Jesus means knowing how to content ourselves with what is necessary in material things, and happily surrendering the superfluous to the works of the Church, to seminaries, to poor monasteries, to missions, to his university, to anyone who knows hunger, pain, hardship, infirmity, "persecutions for justice" (Mt 5:10).

To love him means to change the gold, the silver, the gems of our casket into those works of enlightened charity that do not fear rust or thieves: "making the stones become bread" (Mt 4.3), and that the undeserved gifts of Providence be changed into instruments of mercy.

To love the Sacred Heart means «to reciprocate it with all the love it requires of us; strong love, which does not allow itself to be bent, pure love, which loves without ulterior motives and without interest, crucified love, love of preference, of oblivion, of abandonment, to let the Sacred Heart act, cut, burn, annihilate in us how sorry he is. And that is why it is so necessary to let ourselves be led by him, and to let him work in us - all hours of the day, every day of the year, all the years of life - let ourselves be intoxicated by the madness of the cross, make the hardest sacrifices, not only with fidelity and perfect submission to his plans, but also with superabundant joy: "Because God loves those who give with joy" (2 Cor 9: 7); and both when he gives and when he takes back his gifts, bless him forever.

Loving the Heart of Jesus means loving his holy Church with passion, a virginal flower sprouted from his blood, with ever more complete adherence to his precepts, becoming each of us "obedient to death" (Phil 2: 8).

To love him means to share cordially the joys and sufferings of the Supreme Pontiff - "the sweet Christ on earth" (Catherine of Siena) - and to follow in everything and always, with docility and promptness, his commands, his exhortations, his recommendations, the expression of his desires, in whatever form and by whatever means they are transmitted to us: to accept them fully, even when they are contrary to our ways of seeing, to our short views, to the ever new demands of our interest, to the empty sophisms of which so fruitful is wounded self-love. Being devoted to the Heart of Jesus means burning with the desire to make him known and loved, to extend his kingdom, to glorify his name, to carry out his will in whatever aspect it manifests itself; it means to love the men who cost his blood: to love them all." - Cartusia Lover

(Manete in dilectione mea, pp. 105-110) - Dom Giovanni Battista Simoni