Saturday, July 05, 2003

Thanks to our governor and the folks in Harrisburg...grrrr...
the library can no longer afford to stay open on Sundays . So, no blogging.
For Saturday

Mary is the "Speculum Justitiae," the Mirror of Justice
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"Here first we must consider what is meant by justice, for the word as used by the Church has not that sense which it bears in ordinary English. By 'justice' is not meant the virtue of fairness, equity, uprightness in our dealings; but it is a word denoting all virtues at once, a perfect, virtuous state of soul—righteousness, or moral perfection; so that it answers very nearly to what is meant by sanctity. Therefore when our Lady is called the 'Mirror of Justice,' it is meant to say that she is the Mirror of sanctity, holiness, supernatural goodness.

Next, what is meant by calling her a mirror? A mirror is a surface which reflects, as still water, polished steel, or a looking-glass. What did Mary reflect? She reflected our Lord—but He is infinite Sanctity. She then, as far as a creature could, reflected His Divine sanctity, and therefore she is the Mirror of Sanctity, or, as the Litany says, of Justice.

Do we ask how she came to reflect His Sanctity? —it was by living with Him. We see every day how like people get to each other who live with those they love. When they live with those whom they don't love, as, for instance, the members of a family who quarrel with each other, then the longer they live together the more unlike each other they become; but when they love each other, as husband and wife, parents and children, brothers with brothers or sisters, friends with friends, then in course of time they get surprisingly like each other. All of us perceive this; we are witnesses to it with our own eyes and ears—in the expression of their features, in their voice, in their walk, in their language, even in their handwriting, they become like each other; and so with regard to their minds, as in their opinions, their tastes, their pursuits. And again doubtless in the state of their souls, which we do not see, whether for good or for bad.

Now, consider that Mary loved her Divine Son with an unutterable love; and consider too she had Him all to herself for thirty years. Do we not see that, as she was full of grace before she conceived Him in her womb, she must have had a vast incomprehensible sanctity when she had lived close to God for thirty years?—a sanctity of an angelical order, reflecting back the attributes of God with a fulness and exactness of which no saint upon earth, or hermit, or holy virgin, can even remind us. Truly then she is the Speculum Justitiae, the Mirror of Divine Perfection. "

Meditations and Devotions
God be praised !
for a miracle recovery and a faithful spouse !

Link courtesy of Catholic Light .

Thursday, July 03, 2003

No blogging tommorow
since the library will be closed.
I noticed a post...
on heroism over at Scattershot Direct (See the one dated "Sunday, June 29, 2003" ) . It was interesting, but I had a bit of a beef with her Tolkien criticism... and sent the e-mail which I am posting below (with her kind permission...) (WARNING: LORD OF THE RINGS SPOILERS !)

Subject: In defense of Aragorn and LOTR...
Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2003 16:45:17 -0400

" King Elessar Telcontar did not rest on his laurels. He not only rebuilt Minas Tirith, he led the way in the resettlement of the entire North Kingdom (Arnor), established good relations with various formerly hostile neighbors like Harad, and fended off other hostile neighbors when necessary. No, he didn't defeat all evil, but neither can we.... Tolkien was a Catholic- he knew the true defeat of Evil in Middle-earth didn't happen until Calvary....

Besides, the true hero of the book, IMHO, is Samwise Gamgee- who spent his later years making the Shire a better place to live and raising 13 children ! He didn't 'sail off into the sunset' until after the death of his wife.... "

I'm not much of a comic book fan...
but I thought this was one of the funnier post titles I've seen in a while:

"Mr. Austen, there's a blue priest with a saber here to see you..." "...And he says he doesn't need an appointment...." *BAMF* (Direct link not working correctly- some scrolling necessary)
What are these people thinking ?

We are now at the point where bribing men to mutilate themselves is lauded, men are now being considered as possible 'mothers' and small human beings with confused sexual identities are being deliberately created, then destroyed. .

And Christians (especially Catholics) are sniped at for 'hating sex ' ??????

Links courtesy of Sed Contra, Mark Shea, and ibidem .

The Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle
is today. There is information on him here.

"God Alone

by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Thomas says to Him, 'My Lord and my God.'

1. I adore Thee, O my God, with Thomas; and if I have, like him, sinned through unbelief, I adore Thee the more. I adore Thee as the One Adorable, I adore Thee as more glorious in Thy humiliation, when men despised Thee, than when Angels worshipped Thee. Deus meus et omnia—'My God and my all.' To have Thee is to have everything I can have. O my Eternal Father, give me Thyself. I dared not have made so bold a request, it would have been presumption, unless Thou hadst encouraged me. Thou hast put it into my mouth, Thou hast clothed Thyself in my nature, Thou hast become my Brother, Thou hast died as other men die, only in far greater bitterness, that, instead of my eyeing Thee fearfully from afar, I might confidently draw near to Thee. Thou dost speak to me as Thou didst speak to Thomas, and dost beckon me to take hold of Thee. My God and my all, what could I say more than this, if I spoke to all eternity! I am full and abound and overflow, when I have Thee; but without Thee I am nothing—I wither away, I dissolve and perish. My Lord and my God, my God and my all, give me Thyself and nothing else.

2. Thomas came and touched Thy sacred wounds. O will the day ever come when I shall be allowed actually and visibly to kiss them? What a day will that be when I am thoroughly cleansed from all impurity and sin, and am fit to draw near to my Incarnate God in His palace of light above! what a morning, when having done with all penal suffering, I see Thee for the first time with these very eyes of mine, I see Thy countenance, gaze upon Thy eyes and gracious lips without quailing, and then kneel down with joy to kiss Thy feet, and am welcomed into Thy arms. O my only true Lover, the only Lover of my soul, Thee will I love now, that I may love Thee then. What a day, a long day without ending, the day of eternity, when I shall be so unlike what I am now, when I feel in myself a body of death, and am perplexed and distracted with ten thousand thoughts, any one of which would keep me from heaven. O my Lord, what a day when I shall have done once for all with all sins, venial as well as mortal, and shall stand perfect and acceptable in Thy sight, able to bear Thy presence, nothing shrinking from Thy eye, not shrinking from the pure scrutiny of Angels and Archangels, when I stand in the midst and they around me!

3. O my God, though I am not fit to see or touch Thee yet, still I will ever come within Thy reach, and desire that which is not yet given me in its fulness. O my Saviour, Thou shalt be my sole God!—I will have no Lord but Thee. I will break to pieces all idols in my heart which rival Thee. I will have nothing but Jesus and Him crucified. It shall be my life to pray to Thee, to offer myself to Thee, to keep Thee before me, to worship Thee in Thy holy Sacrifice, and to surrender myself to Thee in Holy Communion. "

Meditations and Devotions

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Jesus the Lord of Armies
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"Among the visions which the beloved disciple St. John was given to see, and which he has recorded in his Apocalypse, one was that of our Lord as the commander and leader of the hosts of the Saints in their warfare with the world. 'I saw,' he says, 'and behold a white horse, and He that sat on him had a bow, and there was a crown given Him; and He went forth conquering that He might conquer' (Apoc. vi. 2). And again, 'I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and with justice doth He judge and fight' (Apoc. xix. 11) … 'And he was clothed with a garment, sprinkled with blood, and His Name is called, The Word of God. And the armies that are in heaven followed Him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean'(verse 13). Such is the Captain of the Lord's Host, and such are His soldiers. He and they ride on white horses, which means, that their cause is innocent, and upright and pure. Warriors of this world wage unjust wars, but our Almighty Leader fights for a heavenly cause and with heavenly weapons—and in like manner His soldiers fight the good fight of faith; they fight against their and their Master's three great enemies, the World, the Flesh, and the Devil. He is covered with blood, but it is His own blood, which He shed for our redemption. And His followers are red with blood, but still again it is His blood, for it is written 'they have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb' (Apoc. vii. 14). And again He and they are certain of victory because it is said 'He went forth conquering that He might conquer' (Apoc. vi. 2). So let us say with the Psalmist 'Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O Thou most mighty … Because of truth and meekness and justice Thy right hand shall conduct Thee wonderfully' (Psalm xliv. 4-5).

Let us pray for the whole Church Militant here upon earth.

O Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the root of David, who fightest the good fight, and hast called on all men to join Thee, give Thy courage and strength to all Thy soldiers over the whole earth, who are fighting under the standard of Thy Cross. Give grace to every one in his own place to fight Thy battle well. Be with Thy missionaries in pagan lands, put right words into their mouths, prosper their labours, and sustain them under their sufferings with Thy consolations, and carry them on, even through torment and blood (if it be necessary), to their reward in heaven. Give the grace of wisdom to those in high station, that they may neither yield to fear, nor be seduced by flattery. Make them prudent as serpents, and simple as doves. Give Thy blessing to all preachers and teachers, that they may speak Thy words and persuade their hearers to love Thee. Be with all faithful servants of Thine, whether in low station or in high, who mix in the world; instruct them how to speak and how to act every hour of the day, so as to preserve their own souls from evil and to do good to their companions and associates. Teach us, one and all, to live in thy presence and to see Thee, our Great Leader, and Thy Cross—and thus to fight valiantly and to overcome, that at the last we may sit down with Thee in Thy Throne, as Thou also hast overcome and art set down with Thy Father in His Throne. "

Meditations and Devotions
Added a link...
to Chris Burgwald's blog, Veritas
And Then ?
has a link to an article on the Professor...

Gerard Serafin
has a post after my own heart (as he would say) :

The Convert.

I made a rather lengthy comment in his boxes !

As I mentioned as Number 31. in my "100 Things About Me" posts, I am(happily!) addicted to conversion stories. (One of the reasons I'm such a huge Venerable Newman devotee, besides his holiness and his eloquence and the fact that he was an Oratorian, is that his life has an epic-level conversion story right smack in the middle of it ! )

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

The summer of 1839
was a turning point for the Anglican clergyman and Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, John Henry Newman. He had been energetically leading the charge to restore the Church of England to what he believed to be her rightful heritage of "Catholicity", inherited from the undivided Church represented by the Church Fathers, yet free from what he would have ( and did) refer to as the corruptions of "Romanism". Now that the students to whom he had been preaching at St. Mary's Church had gone home , he had time to do what he had done for many summer vacations: read the Fathers of the Church. However, this time his reading was to turn him in a new direction- unexpected, unwelcome and frightening....

"The Long Vacation of 1839 began early. There had been a great many visitors to Oxford from Easter to Commemoration; and Dr. Pusey and myself had attracted attention, more, I think, than in any former year. I had put away from me the controversy with Rome for more than two years. In my Parochial Sermons the subject had never been introduced: there had been nothing for two years, either in my Tracts or in the British Critic, of a polemical character. I was returning, for the Vacation, to the course of reading which I had many years before chosen as especially my own. I have no reason to suppose that the thoughts of Rome came across my mind at all. About the middle of June I began to study and master the history of the Monophysites. I was absorbed in the doctrinal question. This was from about June 13th to August 30th. It was during this course of reading that for the first time a doubt came upon me of the tenableness of Anglicanism. I recollect on the 30th of July mentioning to a friend, whom I had accidentally met, how remarkable the history was; but by the end of August I was seriously alarmed.

I have described in a former work, how the history affected me. My stronghold was Antiquity; now here, in the middle of the fifth century, I found, as it seemed to me, Christendom of the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries reflected. I saw my face in that mirror, and I was a Monophysite. The Church of the Via Media was in the position of the Oriental communion, Rome was, where she now is; and the Protestants were the Eutychians. Of all passages of history, since history has been, who would have thought of going to the sayings and doings of old Eutyches, that delirus senex, as (I think) Petavius calls him, and to the enormities of the unprincipled Dioscorus, in order to be converted to Rome!

Now let it be simply understood that I am not writing controversially, but with the one object of relating things as they happened to me in the course of my conversion. With this view I will quote a passage from the account, which I gave in 1850, of my reasonings and feelings in 1839:

'It was difficult to make out how the Eutychians or Monophysites were heretics, unless Protestants and Anglicans were heretics also; difficult to find arguments against the Tridentine Fathers, which did not tell against the Fathers of Chalcedon; difficult to condemn the Popes of the sixteenth century, without condemning the Popes of the fifth. The drama of religion, and the combat of truth and error, were ever one and the same. The principles and proceedings of the Church now, were those of the Church then; the principles and proceedings of heretics then, were those of Protestants now. I found it so,—almost fearfully; there was an awful similitude, more awful, because so silent and unimpassioned, between the dead records of the past and the feverish chronicle of the present. The shadow of the fifth century was on the sixteenth. It was like a spirit rising from the troubled waters of the old world, with the shape and lineaments of the new. The Church then, as now, might be called peremptory and stern, resolute, overbearing, and relentless; and heretics were shifting, changeable, reserved, and deceitful, ever courting civil power, and never agreeing together, except by its aid; and the civil power was ever aiming at comprehensions, trying to put the invisible out of view, and substituting expediency for faith. What was the use of continuing the controversy, or defending my position, if, after all, I was forging arguments for Arius or Eutyches, and turning devil's advocate against the much-enduring Athanasius and the majestic Leo? Be my soul with the Saints! and shall I lift up my hand against them? Sooner may my right hand forget her cunning, and wither outright, as his who once stretched it out against a prophet of God! ' " - Apologia Pro Vita Sua

This was the beginning- his journey on the 'road to Rome' would last six difficult and painful years.

This world just keeps on getting sicker and sicker...

Aborted foetus could provide eggs

Can you imagine the psychological devastation that would occur in a child who found out his biological mother was torn limb from limb before he was even conceived ?

Link courtesy of ibidem.

The Solemnity of the Most Precious Blood of Christ
is today. May God send special graces on us all, but particularly those connected with the Precious Blood communities, including this blogger.
"Jesus Christ....when darkness, sin, guilt and misery had overspread the earth, came down from Heaven, took our nature upon Him, and shed His precious blood upon the Cross for all men." - Venerable John Henry Newman. C.O.

Jeff Miller
is cracking me up again.

Fine article...
by a man dealing well with what must be a difficult cross.

Link courtesy of Sed Contra

Monday, June 30, 2003

From "Christ Upon the Waters",
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

" If Satan can so well avail himself even of the gifts and glories of the Church, it is not wonderful that he can be skilful also in his exhibition and use of those offences and scandals which are his own work in her now or in former times. My Brethren, she has scandals, she has a reproach, she has a shame: no Catholic will deny it. She has ever had the reproach and shame of being the mother of children unworthy of her. She has good children;—she has many more bad. Such is the will of God, as declared from the beginning. He might have formed a pure Church; but He has expressly predicted that the cockle, sown by the enemy, shall remain with the wheat, even to the harvest at the end of the world. He pronounced that His Church should be like a fisher's net, gathering of every kind, and not examined till the evening. Nay, more than this, He declared that the bad and imperfect should far surpass the good. 'Many are called,' He said, 'but few are chosen'; and His Apostle speaks of 'a remnant saved according to the election of grace.' There is ever, then, an abundance of materials in the lives and the histories of Catholics; ready to the use of those opponents who, starting with the notion that the Holy Church is the work of the devil, wish to have some corroboration of their leading idea. Her very prerogative gives special opportunity for it; I mean, that she is the Church of all lands and of all times. If there was a Judas among the Apostles, and a Nicholas among the deacons, why should we be surprised that in the course of eighteen hundred years, there should be flagrant instances of cruelty, of unfaithfulness, of hypocrisy, or of profligacy, and that not only in the Catholic people, but in high places, in royal palaces, in bishops' households, nay, in the seat of St. Peter itself? Why need it surprise, if in barbarous ages, or in ages of luxury, there have been bishops, or abbots, or priests who have forgotten themselves and their God, and served the world or the flesh, and have perished in that evil service? What triumph is it, though in a long line of between two and three hundred popes, amid martyrs, confessors, doctors, sage rulers, and loving fathers of their people, one, or two, or three are found who fulfil the Lord's description of the wicked servant, who began 'to strike the manservants and maidservants, and to eat and drink and be drunk'? What will come of it, though we grant that at this time or that, here or there, mistakes in policy, or ill-advised measures, or timidity, or vacillation in action, or secular maxims, or inhumanity, or narrowness of mind have seemed to influence the Church's action, or her bearing towards her children? I can only say that, taking man as he is, it would be a miracle were such offences altogether absent from her history. Consider what it is to be left to oneself and one's conscience, without others' judgment on what we do, which at times is the case with all men; consider what it is to have easy opportunities of sinning; and then cast the first stone at churchmen who have abused their freedom from control, or independence of criticism. My Brethren, with such considerations before me, I do not wonder that these scandals take place; which, of course, are the greater in proportion as the field on which they are found is larger and wider, and the more shocking in proportion as the profession of sanctity, under which they exhibit themselves, is more prominent. What religious body can compare with us in duration or in extent? There are crimes enough to be found in the members of all denominations: if there are passages in our history, the like of which do not occur in the annals of Wesleyanism or of Independency, or the other religions of the day, recollect there have been no Anabaptist pontiffs, no Methodist kings, no Congregational monasteries, no Quaker populations. Let the tenets of Irving or Swedenborg spread, as they never can, through the world, and we should see if, amid the wealth, and power, and station which would accrue to their holders, they would bear their faculties more meekly than Catholics have done. "

Sermons Preached on Various Occasions
The Antipodean
reveals that his atttitude on Protestantism is pretty similar to mine. I'd add a quote from Msgr. Ronald Knox's The Belief of Catholics .

"For three centuries the true issue between the two parties was obscured, owing to the preposterous action of the Protestants in admiring Biblical inspiration. The Bible, it appeared, was common ground between the combatants, the Bible, therefore, was the arena of the struggle; from it the controversialist, like David at the brook, must pick up texts to sling at hus adversary. In fact, of course, the Protestant had no conceivable right to base any arguments on the inspiration of the Bible, for the inspiration of the Bible was a doctrine which had been believed, before the Reformation, on the mere authority of the Church; it rested on exactly the same basis as the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Protestantism repudiated Transubstantiation, and in doing so repudiated the authority of the Church; and then, without a shred of logic, calmly went on believing in the inspiration of the Bible, as if nothing had happenedl Did they suppose that Biblical inspiration was a self-evident fact, like the axioms of Euclid ? Or did they derive it from some words of our Lord? If so, what words? What authority have we, apart from that of the Church, to say that the Epistles of Paul are inspired, and the Epistle of Barnabas is not? It is, perhaps, the most amazing and the most tragic spectacle in the history of thought, the picture of blood flowing, fires blazing, and kingdoms changing hands for a century and a half, all in defence of a vicious circle. "

On this day in 1607...
my second- favorite Oratorian Venerable went to his reward: Venerable Caesar Baronius, both a pioneering ecclesiastical historian and a man of deep humility and charity.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

As the Processional Hymn at Mass today...
we sang one of my favorites, "Faith of Our Fathers". Besides the fact that it's simply a great hymn, I have two ulterior motives in liking it:
1. The "fathers chained in prisons dark" is a reference to my much-loved martyrs of England and Wales. (The reference is, of course, suitable for other martyrs as well- hence the use of this hymn for today's Solemnity.)
2. The author of the words was an Oratorian: Fr. Frederick Faber, C.O. (Although, alas ! Fr. Faber and Venerable Newman had some serious disagreements- but that is a long and complicated story !)
The original words to the hymn tend to be modified when sung in this country. There is a specific reference to Faber's homeland, England, in the lyrics, and I have no problem with a slight change to make it suitable for use in the US. However, other modifications are sometimes made, weakening the specifically Catholic doctrines implied in the words, eliminating the references to Our Lady's intercession or to martyrdom. Here are the lyrics, as printed by Fr. Faber in his book , "Hymns".

Faith of Our Fathers

"Faith of our Fathers! living still
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword:
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene'er we hear that glorious word:
Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to Thee till death.

Our Fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free:
How sweet would be their children's fate,
If they, like them could die for thee!
Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to thee till death!

Faith of our Fathers! Mary's prayers
Shall win our country back to thee;
And through the truth that comes from God
England shall then indeed be free.
Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to thee till death!

Faith of our Fathers ! we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife;
And preach thee, too, as love knows how,
By kindly words and virtuous life.
Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to Thee till death! "

Ok, I got the signature fixed...
Anybody have a clue why Blogger is putting big spaces in certain posts ?
The Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles
is today. There is information on them here and here.

"We ought to desire to do great things for the service of God, and not content ourselves with a moderate goodness, but wish, if it were possible, to surpass in sanctity and love even St. Peter and St. Paul. " - St. Philip Neri

"In such a time as this did the prince of the Apostles, the first Pope, advance towards the heathen city, where, under a Divine guidance, he was to fix his seat. He toiled along the stately road which led him straight onwards to the capital of the world. He met throngs of the idle and the busy, of strangers and natives, who peopled the interminable suburb. He passed under the high gate, and wandered on amid marble palaces and columned temples; he met processions of heathen priests and ministers in honour of their idols; he met the wealthy lady, borne on her litter by her slaves; he met the stern legionaries who had been the 'massive iron hammers' of the whole earth; he met the anxious politician with his ready man of business at his side to prompt him on his canvass for popularity; he met the orator returning home from a successful pleading, with his young admirers and his grateful and hopeful clients. He saw about him nothing but tokens of a vigorous power, grown up into a definite establishment, formed and matured in its religion, its laws, its civil traditions, its imperial extension, through the history of many centuries; and what was he but a poor, feeble, aged stranger, in nothing different from the multitude of men—an Egyptian or a Chaldean, or perhaps a Jew, some Eastern or other—as passers-by would guess according to their knowledge of human kind, carelessly looking at him (as we might turn our eyes upon Hindoo or gipsy, as they met us), without the shadow of a thought that such a one was destined then to commence an age of religious sovereignty, in which they might spend their own heathen times twice over, and not see its end! "- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., "Prospects of the Catholic Missioner", Discourses to Mixed Congregations

Various blogs have posts on the feast, including A Catholic Blog for Lovers, Dappled Things, The Blog from the Core, and A Catholic Point of View .