Thursday, August 14, 2003

No blogging until Monday
since I will be out of town for a wedding until then. Since I will not be able to blog tommorow, here is a little quote for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Mary is the "Stella Matutina," the Morning Star—after the Dark Night, but always Heralding the Sun
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"What is the nearest approach in the way of symbols, in this world of sight and sense, to represent to us the glories of that higher world which is beyond our bodily perceptions? What are the truest tokens and promises here, poor though they may be, of what one day we hope to see hereafter, as being beautiful and rare? Whatever they may be, surely the Blessed Mother of God may claim them as her own. And so it is; two of them are ascribed to her as her titles, in her Litany—the stars above, and flowers below. She is at once the Rosa Mystica and the Stella Matutina.

And of these two, both of them well suited to her, the Morning Star becomes her best, and that for three reasons.

First, the rose belongs to this earth, but the star is placed in high heaven. Mary now has no part in this nether world. No change, no violence from fire, water, earth, or air, affects the stars above; and they show themselves, ever bright and marvellous, in all regions of this globe, and to all the tribes of men.

And next, the rose has but a short life; its decay is as sure as it was graceful and fragrant in its noon. But Mary, like the stars, abides for ever, as lustrous now as she was on the day of her Assumption; as pure and perfect, when her Son comes to judgment, as she is now.

Lastly, it is Mary's prerogative to be the Morning Star, which heralds in the sun. She does not shine for herself, or from herself, but she is the reflection of her and our Redeemer, and she glorifies Him. When she appears in the darkness, we know that He is close at hand. He is Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Behold He comes quickly, and His reward is with Him, to render to everyone according to his works. 'Surely I come quickly. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.' " - Meditations and Devotions
Kyrie, eleison !
Cloning Yields Human-Rabbit Hybrid Embryo
Pray, pray, pray....

The Feast of St. Maximillian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

From The Idea of a University
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
"Right Reason, that is, Reason rightly exercised, leads the mind to the Catholic Faith, and plants it there, and teaches it in all its religious speculations to act under its guidance. But Reason, considered as a real agent in the world, and as an operative principle in man's nature, with an historical course and with definite results, is far from taking so straight and satisfactory a direction. It considers itself from first to last independent and supreme; it requires no external authority; it makes a religion for itself. Even though it accepts Catholicism, it does not go to sleep; it has an action and development of its own, as the passions have, or the moral sentiments, or the principle of self-interest. Divine grace, to use the language of Theology, does not by its presence supersede nature; nor is nature at once brought into simple concurrence and coalition with grace. Nature pursues its course, now coincident with that of grace, now parallel to it, now across, now divergent, now counter, in proportion to its own imperfection and to the attraction and influence which grace exerts over it. And what takes place as regards other principles of our nature and their developments is found also as regards the Reason. "
Either somebody is getting Primary and Secondary Realities confused...
or else their spelling is really screwy. I noticed a new entry over at the infamous List o' Mini-Balrogs- apparently some poor soul out there is referring to a certain Elven lady as "Gabriel". Now I like elves a great deal, but angels they aren't, as anybody who has read The Silmarillion will tell you. it's probably just a bizarre typo, but still... weird....
And the misspellings of the Tolkienian names for the Deity continue to multiply:
Iluuvatar, Iluvitar, Iluvetar, Lluvatar, Illuvator, and Aru. If you are going to use the Eldarin names for God Almighty Himself- spell them correctly, please !

(This concludes the public service announcement from the Nihil Obstat of Arda.)
Quote from St. Philip Neri...
for frequent repetition when one is discouraged....
"Cast yourself with confidence into the arms of God. And be very sure of this, that if He wants anything of you, He will fit you for the work and give you strength to do it. "
Vocational prayers would be a blessing
for a string of folks...
Sr. Claire Benedicta of the Cross, O.C.D., a good friend whom I do not get to see often these days... for obvious reasons !
Sr. Clare Joseph, N.O.S.B., who began her novitiate on Sunday...
Jen, who was a student in the campus ministry here, is joining the Nashville Dominicans....
Philip, who entered the Church after being instructed in our R.C.I.A. some years ago, is becoming a Cistercian novice this month....
Godfrey and Alison, who will be married on Saturday...
and Rob and Brenda, whose wedding is scheduled for later this year....

I've got to stop getting so worked up when I'm reading certain non-Catholic blogs. I check out Blogs4God pretty regularly, and some of the blogs are quite interesting. However, I just ran into one that talked about someone being 'saved' from Catholicism and breaking apart a rosary. Now exactly how does showing disrespect for His mother honor Our Lord ? ...sigh....
The Feast of St. Pontian, Pope and Martyr, and St. Hippolytus, Priest and Martyr
is today. There is information on them here and here .

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Gerard Serafin
posted a quote yesterday from Venerable John Henry Newman's last sermon as an Anglican, The Parting of Friends . While the paragraphs quoted are both beautiful and sad , I always found the final paragraph the most moving.

"And, O my brethren, O kind and affectionate hearts, O loving friends, should you know any one whose lot it has been, by writing or by word of mouth, in some degree to help you thus to act; if he has ever told you what you knew about yourselves, or what you did not know; has read to you your wants or feelings, and comforted you by the very reading; has made you feel that there was a higher life than this daily one, and a brighter world than that you see; or encouraged you, or sobered you, or opened a way to the inquiring, or soothed the perplexed; if what he has said or done has ever made you take interest in him, and feel well inclined towards him; remember such a one in time to come, though you hear him not, and pray for him, that in all things he may know God's will, and at all times he may be ready to fulfil it."

It took the speaker two more years of anguish, during which he prayed, fasted, and eventually wrote himself out of his theological difficulties in An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, before he found spiritual peace in the Catholic Church. And his life as a Catholic, while utterly satisfying from a spiritual perspective, was to be filled with difficulties and frustrations, many of them caused not by those outside the Catholic Church, but, alas, some within her fold-including some whom he himself had helped to lead home.

Nice !
I just found out that yet another Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri has been officially established. Congratulations to the Fathers in Seville-Blanco Paloma, Spain- my prayers will be with them.
Happy Blogoversary
to Bill White at Summa Minutiae
I can't believe I almost missed this one...
A great post by Fr. Jim Tucker on Christian Joy and Worship of the Presence of God .
It's blushing time...
Bro. John Larson, M.I.C. ,sent me a very complimentary e-mail and a link to an even more complimentary post on his blog. He is a brother in the Marians of the Immaculate Conception who is currently studying for the priesthood. Prayers for him and for all the seminarians out there would be most welcome.
The Feast of Blessed Karl Leisner, Priest
is today. There is information on him here.

Monday, August 11, 2003

I missed the actual day because I was without a computer...
but happy belated St. Dominic's Day to Tom at Disputations.
In case you were wondering....
the Day of Recollection on Saturday went well. So did the ceremony on Sunday where my friend Clare ( now Sr. Clare Joseph), became a Benedictine novice. Prayers for her perserverance in her vocation, and for that of her fellow novice Sr. John Paul, would be most welcome.
On this date in 1890...
Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, C.O., went to his reward. He was eighty-nine years old, having been an Anglican for the first 44 years of his life and a Catholic for the other 45. Here is a description of his last few days:
" In the summer of 1890 it was clear that the end was not far distant. Father Neville( ed. the Oratorian Father who assisted the Venerable in his declining years) records that the Cardinal was displeased with the doctors for speaking as though he might yet live a year or two when they must know that it was a matter of months or even weeks. Death did come almost suddenly. But it was immediately preceded by a somewhat remarkable momentary rally on the evening of August 9, which Father Neville thus records:

'The Cardinal entered his room ... his footstep was slow yet firm and elastic; indeed, it was not recognized as his, his attendant was surprised that it was he; soon, when seen, his bearing was in keeping with his step;—unbent, erect to the full height of his best days in the 'fifties; he was without support of any kind. His whole carriage was, it may be said, soldier-like, and so dignified; and his countenance was most attractive to look at; even great age seemed to have gone from his face, and with it all careworn signs; his very look conveyed the cheerfulness and gratitude of his mind, and what he said was so kind; his voice was quite fresh and strong, his whole appearance was that of power, combined with complete calm.' …

That night he was taken ill of congestion of the lungs. He rose next morning, but had to go to bed again. Then happened a little incident which brings before us vividly his clinging and grateful memory of those who had ministered by their kindness to his suffering temperament in days of trial. I relate it in Father Neville's own words:

'A poor, an indigent person, a stranger to him, had once left for him at the house door a silk handkerchief with a message of respect. This was very many years before he was Cardinal, and when he seemed, so to speak, much set aside; at a time, too, when he was himself very poor. Both present and message were received by him as they were meant, and with a solemn gravity which checked even a smile. He kept the handkerchief as something he prized. When he went to bed expecting to die, he had it brought to him, and put it on, and, though the doctors said he might as well be without it, he died with it on. He had kept it quite thirty years, even more.'

The Cardinal received the last Sacraments on August 10, and passed away at a quarter to nine in the evening of August 11, having been unconscious for most of the day. The funeral was at Rednal (ed. the Birmingham Oratory's retreat house) on the 19th. He was buried in accordance with the instructions he had left, in the grave of his beloved friend Ambrose St. John, and on the pall was his chosen motto 'Cor ad cor loquitur.' On the memorial slab at his own desire were engraved the words 'Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem.' "- Wilfred Ward, Life of Cardinal Newman

As Msgr. Ronald Knox once noted, the words on that memorial slab, which Knox translates "Out of the shadows and images into truth", could be the epitaph for every Catholic.

Here is a link to his obituary in the Times of London , and one to a collection of close to 200 obituaries published at the time of his death . (What really amazed me was the existence of obituaries in Rod and Gun and Horse and Hound . I'm trying to picture Field and Stream doing an obit of an ecclesiastic.....)

Important as this day is, I must admit that I am hoping that when he is canonized another day is chosen as his feast. This is because, as I noted below, today is the feast of St. Clare of Assisi, and to put it bluntly, competing with the Franciscans is a terrible idea.

Here is the prayer for his canonization:

Eternal Father, You led JOHN HENRY NEWMAN to follow the kindly light of Truth, and he obediently responded to your heavenly calls at any cost. As writer, preacher, counsellor and educator, as pastor, Oratorian, and servant of the poor he laboured to build up Your Kingdom.

Grant that through your Vicar on Earth we may hear the words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the company of the canonized saints."

May You manifest Your servant's power of intercession by even extraordinary answers to the prayers of the faithful throughout the world. We pray particularly for our intentions in his name and in the Name of Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord.


Please report any favours received to:
The Postulator, The Oratory, Hagley Road, Birmingham B16 8UE, England

Thanks to Lane Core , Karen Marie Knapp, and anyone else who has mentioned this anniversary.

Finally, from the Venerable's own pen:

Prayer for a Happy Death
Oh, my Lord and Saviour, support me in that hour in the strong arms of Thy Sacraments, and by the fresh fragrance of Thy consolations. Let the absolving words be said over me, and the holy oil sign and seal me, and Thy own Body be my food, and Thy Blood my sprinkling; and let my sweet Mother, Mary, breathe on me, and my Angel whisper peace to me, and my glorious Saints ... smile upon me; that in them all, and through them all, I may receive the gift of perseverance, and die, as I desire to live, in Thy faith, in Thy Church, in Thy service, and in Thy love. Amen.
The Feast of St. Clare of Assisi
is today. There is information on her here. Prayers for all Franciscans would be especially appropriate today, as well as prayers for all those who have St. Clare as a patroness. (I would request prayers for two religious I know who are named after her, Sr. Claire Benedicta of the Cross, O.C.D., and Sr. Clare Joseph, who received the veil as a Benedictine novice yesterday. )