Saturday, September 13, 2003

For Saturday

Our Lord and Our Lady
by Hilaire Belloc

"They warned Our Lady for the Child
That was Our Blessed Lord,
And she took Him into the desert wild,
Over the camel's ford.

And a long song she sang to Him
And a short story told:
And she wrapped Him in a woollen cloak
To keep Him from the cold.

But when Our Lord was grown a man
The Rich they dragged Him down,
And they crucified Him in Golgotha,
Out and beyond the Town.

They crucified Him on Calvary,
Upon an April day;
And because He had been her little Son
She followed Him all the way.

Our Lady stood beside the Cross,
A little space apart,
And when she heard Our Lord cry out
A sword went through her heart.

They laid Our Lord in a marble tomb,
Dead, in a winding sheet.
But Our Lady stands above the world
With the white Moon at her feet. "
Happy (slightly anticipated) Blogoversary
to Michelle at And Then ? !

The Feast of St. John Chrysostom, Patriarch and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here.
Prayers for the bishops, and for the reunion of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, would be appropriate.
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., who had such a strong devotion to the Fathers, wrote about the life of St. John Chrysostom here.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Apparently I jumped the gun a bit...
It seems the new Congregation of the Oratory in Seville-Blanco Paloma, Spain, is being officially established today. I thought it had happened a while ago. That's one of the troubles with the official Confederation website only being available in Italian- it leads to confusion for those whose Italian is weak-to-nonexistent, like me... sigh... Well, anyway, congratuations to the Fathers and Brothers of the new Congregation. Prayers for them, and for vocations to all Congregations of the Oratory, would be most welcome.
The Bishop is coming...
to celebrate Mass at Heinz Chapel on Sunday at 11:30 am. Afterwards, he will be blessing the new National Newman Library. Prayers that all goes well would be appreciated.
Borg bureaucrats
Mr. Cameron reports that some of the bureaucrats over in Europe want to force the Orthodox monks on Mt. Athos to let women onto their island.
I suppose it won't be too long until all cloistered communities are being hassled. "Living apart from society isn't tolerated. You have been brainwashed by your reactionary religion. You will be assimilated...."

The Feast of the Holy Name of Mary
is today. There is information on it here.

Litany of the Holy Name of Mary
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.
Son of Mary, hear us.
Son of Mary, graciously hear us.

Heavenly Father, who hast Mary for Thy daughter,Have mercy on us.
Eternal Son, who hast Mary for Thy mother, "
Holy Spirit, who hast Mary for Thy spouse,
Glorious Trinity, who hast Mary for Thy handmaid,

Mary, Mother of the Living God, Pray for us.
Mary, Daughter of the Light Unapproachable, "
Mary, our light,
Mary, our sister,
Mary, stem of Jesse,
Mary, offspring of kings,
Mary, best work of God,
Mary, immaculate,
Mary, all fair,
Mary, Virgin Mother,
Mary, suffering with Jesus,
Mary, pierced with a sword,
Mary, bereft of consolation,
Mary, standing by the Cross,
Mary, ocean of bitterness,
Mary, rejoicing in God’s will,
Mary, our Lady,
Mary, our Queen,
Mary, bright as the sun,
Mary, fair as the moon,
Mary, crowned with twelve stars,
Mary, seated on the right hand of Jesus,
Mary, our sweetness,
Mary, our hope,
Mary, glory of Jerusalem,
Mary, joy of Israel,
Mary, honour of our people,

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.

V. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
R. Blessed art Thou among women.

Let us Pray

O Almighty God, who seest how earnestly we desire to place ourselves under the shadow of the name of Mary, vouchsafe, we beseech Thee, that as often as we invoke her in our need, we may receive grace and pardon from Thy holy heaven, through Christ our Lord.—Amen.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

There's a bit of a dust-up..
in the comments over at Mark Shea's blog. Some objections were raised to his references to certain people as "chancery rats".
I, too, do not think that this namecalling is right. Rats get enough bad publicity without this sort of comparison....

The Catholic Blogosphere
is mourning and praying.

(Apologies to all the other people who have blogged on this heartbreaking subject. I chose to select just four posts. )

A prayer for the souls of those who went to their judgement on this day two years ago, and for all of the faithful departed.

" Jesu! by that shuddering dread which fell on Thee;
Jesu! by that cold dismay which sicken'd Thee;
Jesu! by that pang of heart which thrill'd in Thee;
Jesu! by that mount of sins which crippled Thee;
Jesu! by that sense of guilt which stifled Thee;
Jesu! by that innocence which girdled Thee;
Jesu! by that sanctity which reign'd in Thee;
Jesu! by that Godhead which was one with Thee;
Jesu! spare these souls which are so dear to Thee;
Souls, who in prison, calm and patient, wait for Thee;
Hasten, Lord, their hour, and bid them come to Thee,
To that glorious Home, where they shall ever gaze on Thee. "

Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. - "The Dream of Gerontius"
The Feast of St. John Gabriel Perboyre, C.M., Priest and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here. I find his story particularly moving in that it recapitulated that of Our Lord so closely- the fact that he was betrayed by a man he had been teaching for thirty tael ( silver pieces) is perhaps the parallel that struck me most forcibly.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

From Sermons Preached on Various Occasions
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"Now in order to show what this good will, or good disposition is, and how it bears upon faith, I observe as follows: What is the main guide of the soul, given to the whole race of Adam, outside the true fold of Christ as well as within it, given from the first dawn of reason, given to it in spite of that grievous penalty of ignorance, which is one of the chief miseries of our fallen state? It is the light of conscience, 'the true Light,' as the same Evangelist says, in the same passage, 'which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world.' Whether a man be born in pagan darkness, or in some corruption of revealed religion,—whether he has heard the name of the Saviour of the world or not,— whether he be the slave of some superstition, or is in possession of some portions of Scripture, and treats the inspired word as a sort of philosophical book, which he interprets for himself, and comes to certain conclusions about its teaching,—in any case, he has within his breast a certain commanding dictate, not a mere sentiment, not a mere opinion, or impression, or view of things, but a law, an authoritative voice, bidding him do certain things and avoid others. I do not say that its particular injunctions are always clear, or that they are always consistent with each other; but what I am insisting on here is this, that it commands,—that it praises, it blames, it promises, it threatens, it implies a future, and it witnesses the unseen. It is more than a man's own self. The man himself has not power over it, or only with extreme difficulty; he did not make it, he cannot destroy it. He may silence it in particular cases or directions, he may distort its enunciations, but he cannot, or it is quite the exception if he can, he cannot emancipate himself from it. He can disobey it, he may refuse to use it; but it remains.

This is Conscience; and, from the nature of the case, its very existence carries on our minds to a Being exterior to ourselves; for else whence did it come? and to a Being superior to ourselves; else whence its strange, troublesome peremptoriness? I say, without going on to the question what it says, and whether its particular dictates are always as clear and consistent as they might be, its very existence throws us out of ourselves, and beyond ourselves, to go and seek for Him in the height and depth, whose Voice it is. As the sunshine implies that the sun is in the heavens, though we may see it not, as a knocking at our doors at night implies the presence of one outside in the dark who asks for admittance, so this Word within us, not only instructs us up to a certain point, but necessarily raises our minds to the idea of a Teacher, an unseen Teacher: and in proportion as we listen to that Word, and use it, not only do we learn more from it, not only do its dictates become clearer, and at its lessons broader, and its principles more consistent, but its very tone is louder and more authoritative and constraining. And thus it is, that to those who use what they have, more is given; for, beginning with obedience, they go on to the intimate perception and belief of one God. His voice within them witnesses to Him, and they believe His own witness about Himself. They believe in His existence, not because others say it, not in the word of man merely, but with a personal apprehension of its truth. This, then, is the first step in those good dispositions which lead to faith in the Gospel. "

Quote from St. Philip Neri...
"To pray well requires the whole man."
You know those "Everything I need to Know I Learned From..." posters ?
Well, a clever person came up with the following. I have modified it slightly by eliminating a few lines and by emphasizing my personal favorites. For my fellow Tolkien geeks, see if you spot the references. (WARNING: SPOILERS!)

Everything I need to know about life I learned from Tolkien...
by A. Giesbrecht

Never underestimate the little guy! -Your worst nightmares really can come true- So can your greatest dreams- Be careful what you sing when you've had a little too much to drink- Wear your chain-mail UNDER your clothes- Be aware of the trees-Trust the elves. They usually know what they're talking about- Don't drop stones in unfamiliar water. You have no idea what could be down there- Be careful what you pick up, especially if you don't know who dropped it- Swords can be very dangerous- Don't assume that just because something fell that you killed it- Trust the Wizards. Unless, of course, they hole themselves up in a big stone tower and start breeding orcs with men-Tell the truth- Just because you're foolish and annoying doesn't mean you can't be of help- Sometimes you've just got to disobey your orders- Do not go to the elves for counsel, for they will say both "no" and "yes." Besides telling you their life story(and considering they're immortal...)- Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.Unless you really can't help it- -Don't judge someone's age by his size. Don't judge his strength by his size either- Fairytales aren't always just made up- Poetry is appropriate for all occasions-Never, ever, ever give up. Even in the face of certain death by roasting, wolves, or poison- Just because someone deserves to die doesn't mean you ought to kill him in cold blood-Don't rely on stereotypes and rumors-Never overlook anything-The right Road is usually the most dangerous one- Always take time to eat-"Weird" doesn't always mean "bad."- Elven swords are the best- One way to make friends is to speak their language-Hope is truly and amazingly powerful-Always arrive just in the nick of time. It makes for a better entrance- Elven bloodlines die hard-Always come home to your sweetheart-If the only place in the world that your ultimate weapon can be destroyed is within your country's borders, and your enemies happen to have this weapon, be absolutely sure they can't get in-Orcs really don't make very good spies. Or servants. Or anything-When you come home from an adventure, chances are you're a different person than when you left-Don't trust anybody who calls your mentor a fool-Always be sure and wash your head before breakfast- Looks can be very deceiving-If you can't see someone clearly, don't try to kill him- If you don't have a guide with you, don't take shortcuts-If you call for your rope, it may come to you- Sometimes it's best not to look down-Great empires often die from within-If something is considered off-limits, there is probably a very good reason why-Age is relative-No price is too high for true love-NEVER mouth off to a dragon-Friends often appear when you least expect it-Sometimes its good to kill the messenger-Never think no one's listening-Pride goeth before being stabbed in the knee by a plucky halfling-Pick your advisors VERY carefully-Keep track of your relatives. Especially during a war-A vow made in anger can come back to bite you. Hard-When you step out onto the Road, be careful. It may sweep you to places you never imagined....
The Feast of St. Nicholas of Tolentino
is today. There is information on him here Prayers for the repose of the souls in Purgatory would be especially appropriate.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

From The Idea of a University
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"Another reason of a kindred nature is to be found in the difference of method by which truths are gained in theology and in physical science. Induction is the instrument of Physics, and deduction only is the instrument of Theology. There the simple question is, What is revealed? all doctrinal knowledge flows from one fountain head. If we are able to enlarge our view and multiply our propositions, it must be merely by the comparison and adjustment of the original truths; if we would solve new questions, it must be by consulting old answers. The notion of doctrinal knowledge absolutely novel, and of simple addition from without, is intolerable to Catholic ears, and never was entertained by any one who was even approaching to an understanding of our creed. Revelation is all in all in doctrine; the Apostles its sole depository, the inferential method its sole instrument, and ecclesiastical authority its sole sanction. The Divine Voice has spoken once for all, and the only question is about its meaning. Now this process, as far as it was reasoning, was the very mode of reasoning which, as regards physical knowledge, the school of Bacon has superseded by the inductive method:—no wonder, then, that that school should be irritated and indignant to find that a subject-matter remains still, in which their favourite instrument has no office; no wonder that they rise up against this memorial of an antiquated system, as an eyesore and an insult; and no wonder that the very force and dazzling success of their own method in its own departments should sway or bias unduly the religious sentiments of any persons who come under its influence. They assert that no new truth can be gained by deduction; Catholics assent, but add that, as regards religious truth, they have not to seek at all, for they have it already. Christian Truth is purely of revelation; that revelation we can but explain, we cannot increase, except relatively to our own apprehensions; without it we should have known nothing of its contents, with it we know just as much as its contents, and nothing more. And, as it was given by a divine act independent of man, so will it remain in spite of man. Niebuhr may revolutionize history, Lavoisier chemistry, Newton astronomy; but God Himself is the author as well as the subject of theology. When Truth can change, its Revelation can change; when human reason can outreason the Omniscient, then may it supersede His work.

Avowals such as these fall strange upon the ear of men whose first principle is the search after truth, and whose starting-points of search are things material and sensible. They scorn any process of inquiry not founded on experiment; the Mathematics indeed they endure, because that science deals with ideas, not with facts, and leads to conclusions hypothetical rather than real; 'Metaphysics' they even use as a by-word of reproach; and Ethics they admit only on condition that it gives up conscience as its scientific ground, and bases itself on tangible utility: but as to Theology, they cannot deal with it, they cannot master it, and so they simply outlaw it and ignore it. Catholicism, forsooth, 'confines the intellect,' because it holds that God's intellect is greater than theirs, and that what He has done, man cannot improve. And what in some sort justifies them to themselves in this extravagance is the circumstance that there is a religion close at their doors which, discarding so severe a tone, has actually adopted their own principle of inquiry. Protestantism treats Scripture just as they deal with Nature; it takes the sacred text as a large collection of phenomena, from which, by an inductive process, each individual Christian may arrive at just those religious conclusions which approve themselves to his own judgment. It considers faith a mere modification of reason, as being an acquiescence in certain probable conclusions till better are found. Sympathy, then, if no other reason, throws experimental philosophers into alliance with the enemies of Catholicism. "

The Feast of St. Peter Claver, S.J.
is today. There is information on him here. Prayers for better relations between people of all races, and for those who minister to the oppressed, would be most appropriate.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Gerard Serafin
reminds us that it is the anniversary of a difficult day in the life of the Venerable- September 8, 1843, the day he officially tendered his resignation from ministry in the Church of England. ( He continued to function as an Anglican clergyman for a short while afterward, preaching his last sermon in late September and conducting his last service in early October.)

He wrote this letter to his sister Harriett soon afterwards, to attempt to deal with her distress over his resignation.


September 29, 1843.
" I do so despair of the Church of England, and am so evidently cast off by her, and, on the other hand, I am so drawn to the Church of Rome, that I think it safer, as a matter of honesty, not to keep my living.

This is a very different thing from having any intention of joining the Church of Rome. However, to avow generally as much as I have said would be wrong for ten thousand reasons. People cannot understand a man being in a state of doubt, of misgiving, of being unequal to responsibilities, &c.; but they will conclude that he has clear views either one way or the other. All I know is, that I could not without hypocrisy profess myself any longer a teacher and a champion for our Church.

Very few persons know this - hardly one person, only one (I think) in Oxford, viz. James Mozley. I think it would be most cruel, most unkind, most unsettling to tell them.

My dear Harriett, you must learn patience, so must we all, and resignation to the will of God. "

It was another two full years before he came into the Catholic Church, and when that finally happened, it exacerbated his difficulties with his family rather than making things easier. While his relationships with his brothers had been strained for quite a while and his entering the Catholic Church did not affect them much, his sisters were deeply troubled. Harriett never spoke to him again. Jemima continued to write sporadically, and visited the Oratory a few times, but her husband, who had been a good friend of Newman's, refused to come, and they both would not let him have any contact whatsoever with their children. After the success of the Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Jemima's sons, now adults, turned up at the Birmingham Oratory to visit their famous uncle, whom they had not known at all as boys. On the day before the Venerable's death in 1890, Harriett's daughter visited him. The ancient Cardinal recalled that the last time he had seen her, she had been three years old. She was fifty.
Now if only we could find a treatment for White Hand Dis-ease as well....

Jeff Miller offers a cure for those suffering from Lidless Eye Syndrome.

Great commentary..
by Michelle over at And Then ? on some people who seem a bit confused over the Catholic teaching on the proper treatment of animals. My favorite sentence: "If you treat a man like a dog, you do not elevate the dog; you put the man on a leash. "

Ok, what gives ?
Suddenly my posts are being signed "Donna" instead of "Nârwen". Anybody know why ?
The Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
is today. There is information on it here.
Mary is the "Rosa Mystica," the Mystical Rose
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"How did Mary become the Rosa Mystica, the choice, delicate, perfect flower of God's spiritual creation? It was by being born, nurtured and sheltered in the mystical garden or Paradise of God. Scripture makes use of the figure of a garden, when it would speak of heaven and its blessed inhabitants. A garden is a spot of ground set apart for trees and plants, all good, all various, for things that are sweet to the taste or fragrant in scent, or beautiful to look upon, or useful for nourishment; and accordingly in its spiritual sense it means the home of blessed spirits and holy souls dwelling there together, souls with both the flowers and the fruits upon them, which by the careful husbandry of God they have come to bear, flowers and fruits of grace, flowers more beautiful and more fragrant than those of any garden, fruits more delicious and exquisite than can be matured by earthly husbandman.

All that God has made speaks of its Maker; the mountains speak of His eternity; the sun of His immensity, and the winds of His Almightiness. In like manner flowers and fruits speak of His sanctity, His love, and His providence; and such as are flowers and fruits, such must be the place where they are found. That is to say, since they are found in a garden, therefore a garden has also excellences which speak of God, because it is their home. For instance, it would be out of place if we found beautiful flowers on the mountain-crag, or rich fruit in the sandy desert. As then by flowers and fruits are meant, in a mystical sense, the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, so by a garden is meant mystically a place of spiritual repose, stillness, peace, refreshment, and delight.

Thus our first parents were placed in 'a garden of pleasure' shaded by trees, 'fair to behold and pleasant to eat of,' with the Tree of Life in the midst, and a river to water the ground. Thus our Lord, speaking from the cross to the penitent robber, calls the blessed place, the heaven to which He was taking him, "paradise," or a garden of pleasure. Therefore St. John, in the Apocalypse, speaks of heaven, the palace of God, as a garden or paradise, in which was the Tree of Life giving forth its fruits every month.

Such was the garden in which the Mystical Rose, the Immaculate Mary, was sheltered and nursed to be the Mother of the All Holy God, from her birth to her espousals to St. Joseph, a term of thirteen years. For three years of it she was in the arms of her holy mother, St. Anne, and then for ten years she lived in the temple of God. In those blessed gardens, as they may be called, she lived by herself, continually visited by the dew of God's grace, and growing up a more and more heavenly flower, till at the end of that period she was meet for the inhabitation in her of the Most Holy. This was the outcome of the Immaculate Conception. Excepting her, the fairest rose in the paradise of God has had upon it blight, and has had the risk of canker-worm and locust. All but Mary; she from the first was perfect in her sweetness and her beautifulness, and at length when the angel Gabriel had to come to her, he found her 'full of grace,' which had, from her good use of it, accumulated in her from the first moment of her being." -
Meditations and Devotions

Sunday, September 07, 2003

From Discourses to Mixed Congregations
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"The truth is, that the world, knowing nothing of the blessings of the Catholic faith, and prophesying nothing but ill concerning it, fancies that a convert, after the first fervour is over, feels nothing but disappointment, weariness, and offence in his new religion, and is secretly desirous of retracing his steps. This is at the root of the alarm and irritation which it manifests at hearing that doubts are incompatible with a Catholic's profession, because it is sure that doubts will come upon him, and then how pitiable will be his state! That there can be peace, and joy, and knowledge, and freedom, and spiritual strength in the Church, is a thought far beyond the world's imagination; for it regards her simply as a frightful conspiracy against the happiness of man, seducing her victims by specious professions, and, when they are once hers, caring nothing for the misery which breaks upon them, so that by any means she may detain them in bondage. Accordingly, it conceives we are in perpetual warfare with our own reason, fierce objections ever rising within us, and we forcibly repressing them. It believes that, after the likeness of a vessel which has met with some accident at sea, we are ever baling out the water which rushes in upon us, and have hard work to keep afloat; we just manage to linger on, either by an unnatural strain on our minds, or by turning them away from the subject of religion. The world disbelieves our doctrines itself, and cannot understand our own believing them. It considers them so strange, that it is quite sure, though we will not confess it, that we are haunted day and night with doubts, and tormented with the apprehension of yielding to them. I really do think it is the world's judgment, that one principal part of a confessor's work is the putting down such misgivings in his penitents. It fancies that the reason is ever rebelling, like the flesh; that doubt, like concupiscence, is elicited by every sight and sound, and that temptation insinuates itself in every page of letter-press, and through the very voice of a Protestant polemic. When it sees a Catholic Priest, it looks hard at him, to make out how much there is of folly in his composition, and how much of hypocrisy. "

Thank you
to the two people who sent translations in response to my plea yesterday for a translation for the following quote:

"O Sancti Montis Cassinensis, unde Anglia nostra olim saluberrimos Cathohicae doctrinae rivos hausit, orate pro nobis jam ex haeresi in pristinum vigorem expergiscentibus"

From Father Philip Bochanski:

"O Saints of Monte Cassino, whence our England once drew the saving streams of Catholic doctrine, pray for us, that we may soon wake up from heresy [and return] to [our] former vigor."

And from Henry Dieterich:

"O saints of Monte Cassino, whence the most salvific streams of Catholic doctrine for our England once arose, pray for us that we may now awaken from heresy in our original strength"

Mr. Dieterich adds:
"Any translation is an approximation, but this cannot be exactly literal because the original uses grammatical constructions that have no parallel in English."

He also gave me links to his webpage and his blog .