Saturday, March 08, 2003

For Saturday
The Heart of Mary
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Written to place under a picture of the Heart of Mary

Holy the womb that bare Him,
Holy the breasts that fed,
But holier still the royal heart
That in His passion bled.

Meditations and Devotions

Silly quiz time

Knowledge, Creativeness, Logic
You are the White Angel. You have powers over the
very wind. You have vast knowledge and are
very logical. Your time is spent with your
head in a book. If there's a fight, you'd be
the one too talk things out with the opponents.
If there is no reasoning with them then the
only logical course would be to draw your
sword. You don't let the cold reason of logic
to harden your heart.

Which Angel are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks to Michelle for the link.

If you think I'm Tolkien-crazy
Check out this lady who apparently named her son Feanor .
Now I happen to have a fascination with Finwë's eldest child , but naming your son after fell Fëanor, the Kinslayer, seems a trifle odd, even to me...

Friday, March 07, 2003

The Feast of Sts. Perpetua, Felicitas, and Companions, Martyrs
is today. There is information on them here .

Once, I came to an All Saints day party as St. Perpetua. I have always especially loved the detail of her fixing her hair in the arena, so that it doesn't look as if she is grieving when she is going to meet her Lord....

Against Thee only have I Sinned
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"1 . My God, I dare not offend any earthly superior; I am afraid—for I know I shall get into trouble—yet I dare offend Thee. I know, O Lord, that, according to the greatness of the person offended against, the greater is the offence. Yet I do not fear to offend Thee, whom to offend is to offend the infinite God. O my dear Lord, how should I myself feel, what should I say of myself, if I were to strike some revered superior on earth? if I were violently to deal a blow upon some one as revered as a father, or a priest; if I were to strike them on the face? I cannot bear even to think of such a thing—yet what is this compared with lifting up my hand against Thee? and what is sin but this? To sin is to insult Thee in the grossest of all conceivable ways. This then, O my soul! is what the sinfulness of sin consists in. It is lifting up my hand against my Infinite Benefactor, against my Almighty Creator, Preserver and Judge—against Him in whom all majesty and glory and beauty and reverence and sanctity centre; against the one only God.

2. O my God, I am utterly confounded to think of the state in which I lie! What will become of me if Thou art severe? What is my life, O my dear and merciful Lord, but a series of offences, little or great, against Thee! O what great sins I have committed against Thee before now—and how continually in lesser matters I am sinning! My God, what will become of me? What will be my position hereafter if I am left to myself! What can I do but come humbly to Him whom I have so heavily affronted and insulted, and beg Him to forgive the debt which lies against me? O my Lord Jesus, whose love for me has been so great as to bring Thee down from heaven to save me, teach me, dear Lord, my sin—teach me its heinousness—teach me truly to repent of it—and pardon it in Thy great mercy!

3. I beg Thee, O my dear Saviour, to recover me! Thy grace alone can do it. I cannot save myself. I cannot recover my lost ground. I cannot turn to Thee, I cannot please Thee, or save my soul without Thee. I shall go from bad to worse, I shall fall from Thee entirely, I shall quite harden myself against my neglect of duty, if I rely on my own strength. I shall make myself my centre instead of making Thee. I shall worship some idol of my own framing instead of Thee, the only true God and my Maker, unless Thou hinder it by Thy grace. O my dear Lord, hear me! I have lived long enough in this undecided, wavering, unsatisfactory state. I wish to be Thy good servant. I wish to sin no more. Be gracious to me, and enable me to be what I know I ought to be. "

Meditations and Devotions

Thursday, March 06, 2003

A bit of Oratory news, and a relic story
I mentioned that the Secular Oratory was getting a new member last night. Actually, there were two. (Where was my head yesterday ? ) So prayers for Pat as well as for Adam would be welcome.
Also, Fr. Wilfred Tighe recently went to his reward after 45 years as a member of the London Oratory. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord....

As part of the ceremony last night, we were blessed with one of the Pittsburgh Oratory's three first-class relics of St. Philip Neri. This one is particularly interesting. Its reliquary is a small bronze bust of the saint. This relic once belonged to Pope St. Pius X . He gave it to his friend, Rafael Cardinal Merry de Val . Cardinal Merry de Val then passed it on to Fr. Charles Stephen Dessain, priest of the Birmingham Oratory and Newman scholar. Fr. Dessain then gave it to William Clancy, one of the founding members (and later a Provost) of the Pittsburgh Oratory, whose novitiate was made at the Birmingham Oratory. When he went to his reward, Fr. Clancy left the relic to Fr. Bryan, who happens to be the Father Prefect (i.e. the 'chaplain') of the Secular Oratory here.
In a way, it's simultaneously a first-class relic (of St. Philip) and a second-class relic (of Pope St. Pius X)....

Kyrie, eleison
on whoever is responsible for this .

Bill White
posted this very funny passage from Loss and Gain , one of the two novels by the Venerable.
This novel has an interesting story behind it. In 1847, Newman was sent a copy of a novel criticizing those members of the Oxford Movement who had been received into the Catholic Church . He had thought about writing something in response, but he was rather busy with establishing the Birmingham and London Oratories. However, he then heard of a married former Anglican clergyman named Burns who had been received into the Church. Burns was attempting to support himself by starting a Catholic publishing house. As a kindness to the struggling new publisher, Newman, as a "name author", took time from his packed schedule to write Loss and Gain, which he then offered to Burns to help launch his venture. ( I don't know if this Burns was the Burns of the famous Burns and Oates publishing house, but it would be likely, wouldn't it ? )
Anyway, it's an interesting read, moving in places, and, IMHO, quite funny in certain spots. This chapter makes me smile every time I read it.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

St. Philip Neri quotes for Lent
" To mortify one's passion, no matter how small, is a greater help in the spiritual life than many abstinences and fasts."
(Especially interesting coming from a man who, from the age of nineteen or so, ate no meat except when commanded to by his doctor, and who basically survived on one meal a day, consisting of a roll, a few vegetables, and water ...)
"He who wishes to give himself up to prayer without mortification, is is like a bird wishing to fly before it is fledged."
"To be without pity for other men's falls, is an evident sign that we shall fall ourselves shortly."
"One of the very best means of obtaining humility, is sincere and frequent Confession. "
"He who conceals a grave sin in Confession, is completely in the devil's hands. "
"A man ought to mortify his understanding in little things, if he wishes easily to mortify it in great ones, and to advance in the way of virtue. "

The Old Oligarch
has a link to an important article here .
Taking this seriously would deprive a lot of folks of the satisfaction they get disguising their lack of generosity as concern for the world. (Yes, I know, not all couples with few children or none are lacking in generosity. I'm talking about the type who go up to mothers-of-many in supermarkets and make stupid remarks. "You're so selfish!" "Don't you care about the environment ?", etc. This has happened to friends of mine. )
Two prayer requests
First, I've got an interview tommorow morning. Please pray that it will go well.
Second, tonight the Secular Oratory in Pittsburgh officially gains a new member. Please pray for Adam as he takes this step.
Lane Core
has a bunch of Venerable Newman links for Lent .

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Litany of Penance
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, "
God the Holy Ghost,
Holy Trinity, one God,
Incarnate Lord,
Lover of souls,
Saviour of sinners,
Who didst come to seek those that were lost,
Who didst fast for them forty days and nights,
By Thy tenderness towards Adam when he fell,
By Thy faithfulness to Noe in the ark,
By Thy remembrance of Lot in the midst of sinners,
By Thy mercy on the Israelites in the desert,
By Thy forgiveness of David after his confession,
By Thy patience with wicked Achab on his humiliation,
By Thy restoration of the penitent Manasses,
By Thy long suffering towards the Ninevites, when they went in sackcloth and ashes,
By Thy blessing on the Maccabees, who fasted before the battle,
By Thy choice of John to go before Thee as the preacher of penance,
By Thy testimony to the Publican, who hung his head and smote his breast,
By Thy welcome given to the returning Prodigal,
By Thy gentleness with the woman of Samaria,
By Thy condescension towards Zacchæus, persuading him to restitution,
By Thy pity upon the woman taken in adultery,
By Thy love of Magdalen, who loved much,
By Thy converting look, at which Peter wept,
By Thy gracious words to the thief upon the cross,

We sinners, Beseech Thee, hear us.
That we may judge ourselves, and so escape Thy judgment. "
That we may bring forth worthy fruits of penance,
That sin may not reign in our mortal bodies,
That we may work out our salvation with fear and trembling,
Son of God,

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
V. O Lord, hear our prayer.
R. And let our cry come unto Thee.

Let us Pray

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to Thy faithful, pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their offences, and also serve Thee with a quiet mind, through Christ our Lord.—Amen.

Meditations and Devotions

Eru help us all...
I've been checking out the mini-balrogs on Miss Cam's classic list . There are now twenty-seven Saruman-derived ones. Even minor characters are generating the critters. ("Alrohir"? "Ellandan" ? "Halabard"? ) More frightening still, there are ones derived from Silmarillion -related people and things. ("Thoronder " ? "Telpirion" ? "Maegin " ? Worst of all, "Iluuvatar"- if you are going to use the Elvish name for God Almighty Himself, you could at least spell it correctly !)
"Treebread" is still the funniest, though....

As if I didn't have enough to worry about....
I just heard that they are remaking the movie Willard. I haven't seen the original, but apparently it features a guy who sends his pet rats out to kill people. More lousy publicity for ratties and those who own them....sigh......

Monday, March 03, 2003

Cool !
According to the official website , a new Congregation of the Oratory will be added to the Confederation on March 25. This one is in Prato, Italy, and will bring the number of Congregations in Italy to 19, and the number worldwide to 76.
They also have a little list of the other recently founded Congregations. Since the site is in Italian, I'll post the list here, in English:
Nancy, France - (1995)
Mexico City, Mexico- Our Lady of Peace - (1995) - (Mexico City is unusual in that it has 3 Congregations. Usually it's one to a city or town. )
São Paulo, Brazil - (1996)
Ilsede, Germany - (1997)
Maastricht, Holland - (1997)
Oudtshoorn, South Africa - (1997)
Metuchen, New Jersey, USA - (1998)
Poznan, Poland - (1999)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - (2000)
Acicatena, Italy - (2002)

Pittsburgh's foundation date ? 1968. Young, but not that young.

The Feast of St. Katherine Drexel
is today. There is a link to information on her here .

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Got my first look at the future National Newman Library yesterday...
It's only up to 3,000-something books as of yet, but I think it's off to a great start. Besides books directly by and about the Venerable, there are books on topics related to his life, such as the Oxford Movement, Patristics, Oratorianism, and such.

I, along with a bunch of other folks, was helping to do some cataloguing of the current collection. The section I worked on was labeled "Catholicism in England-Recusancy and Restoration". One of the books was called "The Catholic Families", and it was about the aristocratic recusant families which held onto the Faith through the centuries of persecution. I mention it because I spotted a chapter title which made me smile...
"Red Hats and Coronets" !

Venerable Newman on the Saints
Note particularly his comments on St. Philip Neri.....

"It is indeed most true that the holier a man is, and the higher in the kingdom of heaven, so much the greater need has he to look carefully to his footing, lest he stumble and be lost; and a deep conviction of this necessity has been the sole preservation of the Saints. Had they not feared, they never would have persevered. Hence, like St. Paul, they are always full of their sin and their peril. You would think them the most polluted of sinners, and the most unstable of penitents. Such was the blessed Martyr Ignatius, who, when on his way to his death, said, 'Now I begin to be Christ's disciple'. Such was the great Basil, who was ever ascribing the calamities of the Church and of his country to the wrath of Heaven upon his own sins. Such was St. Gregory, who submitted to his elevation to the Popedom, as if it were his spiritual death. Such too was my own dear Father St. Philip, who was ever showing, in the midst of the gifts he received from God, the anxiety and jealousy with which he regarded himself and his prospects. ' Every day,' says his biographer, 'he used to make a protest to God with the Blessed Sacrament in his hands, saying, "Lord, beware of me today, lest I should betray Thee, and do Thee all the mischief in the world" '. At other times he would say, 'The wound in Christ's side is large, but, if God did not guard me, I should make it larger'. In his last illness, 'Lord, if I recover, so far as I am concerned, I shall do more evil than ever, because I have promised so many times before to change my life, and have not kept my word, so that I despair of myself'. He would shed abundance of tears and say, 'I have never done one good action'. When he saw young persons, he began considering how much time they had before them to do good in, and said, 'O, happy you! O, happy you!' He often said, 'I am past hope,' and, when urged, he added, 'but I trust in God'. When a penitent of his called him a Saint, he turned to her with a face full of anger, and said, 'Begone with you, I am a devil, not a Saint'. When another said to him, "Father, a temptation has come to me to think you are not what the world takes you for," he answered, 'Be sure of this, that I am a man like my neighbours, and nothing more'.

What a reflection on ordinary Christians is the language of Saints about themselves!"

Discourses to Mixed Congregations

Lane Core is on a roll
with the great Venerable Newman links .

A slightly belated Gwyn Dygwyl Dewi Sant to all

Yesterday was the feast of St. David of Wales . As about half of my ancestors came from Cymru, I felt I was a bit remiss in not noting his feast.
It was also Fr. David's nameday, and prayers for him would be appreiciated.

Music at noon Mass
Processional Hymn: "Praise the Lord ! Ye Heavens Adore Him "
Offertory: "Domine Convertere" - Gregorian Chant
Communion: "Cantabo Domino" - Gregorian Chant
Recessional Hymn: "God, My King, Thy Might Confessing"

Unfortunately, I was not singing, as my throat isn't up to it yet.