Saturday, September 20, 2003

From "On the Fitness of the Glories of Mary"
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

" If the Mother of Emmanuel ought to be the first of creatures in sanctity and in beet us imitate her purity, who, rather than relinquish her virginity, was willing to lose Him for a Son. O my dear children, young men and young women, what need have you of the intercession of the Virgin-mother, of her help, of her pattern, in this respect! What shall bring you forward in the narrow way, if you live in the world, but the thought and patronage of Mary? What shall seal your senses, what shall tranquillise your heart, when sights and sounds of danger are around you, but Mary? What shall give you patience and endurance, when you are wearied out with the length of the conflict with evil, with the unceasing necessity of precautions, with the irksomeness of observing them, with the tediousness of their repetition, with the strain upon your mind, with your forlorn and cheerless condition, but a loving communion with her! She will comfort you in your discouragements, solace you in your fatigues, raise you after your falls, reward you for your successes. She will show you her Son, your God and your all. When your spirit within you is excited, or relaxed, or depressed, when it loses its balance, when it is restless and wayward, when it is sick of what it has, and hankers after what it has not, when your eye is solicited with evil and your mortal frame trembles under the shadow of the tempter, what will bring you to yourselves, to peace and to health, but the cool breath of the Immaculate and the fragrance of the Rose of Sharon? It is the boast of the Catholic Religion, that it has the gift of making the young heart chaste; and why is this, but that it gives us Jesus Christ for our food, and Mary for our nursing Mother? Fulfil this boast in yourselves; prove to the world that you are following no false teaching, vindicate the glory of your Mother Mary, whom the world blasphemes, in the very face of the world, by the simplicity of your own deportment, and the sanctity of your words and deeds. Go to her for the royal heart of innocence. She is the beautiful gift of God, which outshines the fascinations of a bad world, and which no one ever sought in sincerity and was disappointed. She is the personal type and representative image of that spiritual life and renovation in grace, 'without which no one shall see God'. 'Her spirit is sweeter than honey, and her heritage than the honeycomb. They that eat her shall yet be hungry, and they that drink her shall still thirst. Whoso hearkeneth to her shall not be confounded, and they that work by her shall not sin.' "

Discourses to Mixed Congregations
Please pray for the repose of the soul
of this deceived girl, and for an end to the silent carnage in our midst, caused by not only surgical abortion and specifically abortafacient drugs and devices, but by the abortafacient effects of commonly used contraceptives.
Link courtesy of Mark Shea
The Feast of the Martyrs of Korea
is today. There is information on them here.
There is a post about them on a blog by a Catholic American living in Korea.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Umm... you know the guilty pleasure I'm linked to...
namely The Red Songbook of Westmarch ?
Well, Eru help me, I've sent them in a contribution, and I'm posting it here.


With apologies to the Professor and to Mr. Springfield

Tuor’s Girl
(Sung by Maeglin, in a truly black mood )

Tuor’s never been a friend.
As if I’d let a mortal be a friend of mine!
But now I hate him more- it’s not hard to say why.
He has dared to wed with Idril, for whose love I’d gladly die.

And she’s watching him with those eyes
And she’s loving him with that body- ai, mel Eru !
And he’s holding her in his arms late, late at night…..

You know I wish that I had Tuor’s girl.
I wish that I had Tuor’s girl.
Why can’t I find a maiden like that?

The King approves of him and her-
Which proves that even the mightiest can err-
And I must hide my anger as best as I can
When I see my Elven princess with that lowly mortal Man.

‘Cause she’s watching him with those eyes
And she’s loving him with that body- ai, mel Eru!
And he’s holding her in his arms late, late at night….

You know I wish that I had Tuor’s girl.
I wish that I had Tuor’s girl.
Why can’t I find a maiden?
Why can’t I find a maiden like that?

And I’m looking in the mirror all the time
Wondering what darkness she sees in me.
So I’m her cousin - why isn’t that fine?
Why does she want something I can’t be?

Tell me, why can’t I find a maiden like that?

You know I wish that I had Tuor’s girl.
I wish that I had Tuor’s girl.
Why can’t I find a maiden like that?
Like Tuor’s girl.
I want Tuor’s girl.
(The anger in his eyes is growing even darker…)

I’ll have Tuor’s girl…..
Interesting posts ...
over at Summa Contra Mundum.
They remind me of something I read about C.S. Lewis. It seems someone (a student, probably), told him the old joke about the atheist's tombstone- "All dressed up and no place to go." Whereupon Lewis remarked, "I'll bet he wishes that were true now. "

One of the most absurd, chilling, and insulting things I have ever read was a statement I ran across in a book I was thumbing through at a bookstore. The author (who happened to be female) stated that while for some women an unborn child is a baby they cherish, for others 'it' is merely the uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy and the worries of a 'possible child', and therefore they have the right to get rid of 'it.' She had the further nerve to state that seeing the unborn as, objectively, either human or not, was the sort of 'male thinking' that women have had the sense to transcend, as if abandoning logic was some sort of female badge of honor. What really got to me was the fact that various statements on the cover called the book 'feminist.' Isn't saying that women are more illogical than men the sort of thing only 'sexist Neanderthals' engage in ?
Apparently I'm still enslaved by 'male thinking', inasmuch as I believe that 2+2=4 and that the law of noncontradiction has not been repealed.
(End of rant. )
Gregg the Obscure
engages in orthodox eisegesis of a bizarre bumpersticker.
There's a lovely little post
on my beloved St. Philip and Santa Maria in Vallicella, otherwise known as the Chiesa Nuova, over at The Shrine of the Holy Whapping.
The Feast of St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here. According to this link courteously provided by Fr. Sibley, the miracle had taken place yet again.

"As regards the miracles of the Catholic Church; if, indeed, miracles never can occur, then, indeed, impute the narratives to fraud; but till you prove they are not likely, we shall consider the histories which have come down to us true on the whole, though in particular cases they may be exaggerated or unfounded. Where, indeed, they can certainly be proved to be false, there we shall be bound to do our best to get rid of them; but till that is clear, we shall be liberal enough to allow others to use their private judgment in their favour, as we use ours in their disparagement. For myself, lest I appear in any way to be shrinking from a determinate judgment on the claims of some of those miracles and relics, which Protestants are so startled at, and to be hiding particular questions in what is vague and general, I will avow distinctly, that, putting out of the question the hypothesis of unknown laws of nature (that is, of the professed miracle being not miraculous), I think it impossible to withstand the evidence which is brought for the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius at Naples, and for the motion of the eyes of the pictures of the Madonna in the Roman States. I see no reason to doubt the material of the Lombard crown at Monza; and I do not see why the Holy Coat at Trèves may not have been what it professes to be. I firmly believe that portions of the True Cross are at Rome and elsewhere, that the Crib of Bethlehem is at Rome, and the bodies of St. Peter and St. Paul also. I believe that at Rome too lies St. Stephen, that St. Matthew lies at Salerno, and St. Andrew at Amalfi. I firmly believe that the relics of the saints are doing innumerable miracles and graces daily, and that it needs only for a Catholic to show devotion to any saint in order to receive special benefits from his intercession. I firmly believe that saints in their life-time have before now raised the dead to life, crossed the sea without vessels, multiplied grain and bread, cured incurable diseases, and superseded the operation of the laws of the universe in a multitude of ways. Many men, when they hear an educated man so speak, will at once impute the avowal to insanity, or to an idiosyncrasy, or to imbecility of mind, or to decrepitude of powers, or to fanaticism, or to hypocrisy. They have a right to say so, if they will; and we have a right to ask them why they do not say it of those who bow down before the Mystery of mysteries, the Divine Incarnation. If they do not believe this, they are not yet Protestants; if they do, let them grant that He who has done the greater may do the less. " - Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Whoa !
Now this was a one big rodent ! The Rat Maiden is suitably impressed....

Link courtesy of Mark Shea.

On September 18, 1864....
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. preached a sermon on the Mass. As is true of most of his Catholic sermons, we do not have the complete text, as it was not the Catholic custom in England at the time to write out a complete sermon. However we do have his sermon notes, which are below.

"The Mass is to be viewed in two aspects—(1) as it regards our Lord; (2) as it regards us. As it regards Him, it is the great act of sacrificial atonement. As regards us, the great act of intercession. Texts, {193} Rom. viii. 32 ; Heb. vii. 22-25 , ix. 15 and passim; 1 Tim. ii. 5-6 .

1. He is the great High Priest who is ever offering up His meritorious sacrifice, and the Mass is but the earthly presence of it.

2. While He offers it above, the whole Church intercedes. (1) Mary on high, and the saints with her. Thus a heavenly Mass is now going on above. (2) Below—not a light benefit that we may intercede.

We have indeed a hope within us that God will hear us for ourselves, but will He hear us for others? It is only through His wonderful meritorious sacrifice that we have this power, and therefore fitly in the Mass is the intercessory gift exercised. Therefore the very privilege of Catholics above others is intercessory prayer; it is the imputation and the imparting to their prayers the merit of the sacrifice. Therefore St. Paul says, 'Pray without ceasing.' St. James, etc. All intercessory prayer all over the whole world, e.g. litanies, the priest's office, the breviary, is as it were in presence of the Mass. It is the great act of communion, etc. "

Added a link
to Catholic Information Network, a site with treasures galore, including several books by Msgr. Ronald Arbuthnott Knox. In honor of the fact that it is Thursday, here is a link to a sermon on the Eucharist, given by said Msgr. to some schoolgirls, and later published in his book The Creed in Slow Motion.
In case you were wondering
I did get to Crafton last night. Fr. Neuhaus's lecture was excellent, but he had to leave fairly quickly afterwards. I did get to speak with him for a few seconds, in which I thanked him for the talk and for his citation of, ahem, a certain Venerable...
From The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

A quote from a letter to Hugh Brogan, dated September 18, 1954:
"Frodo is not intended to be another Bilbo. Though his opening style is not wholly unlike. But he is rather a study of a hobbit broken by a burden of fear and horror- broken down, and in the end made into something quite different. None of the hobbits come out of it in pure Shire-fashion. They wouldn't. "
God have mercy on this country !
We are now not only permitting thousands of unborn children to be ripped limb from limb, but allowing a husband to slowly murder his helpless wife. (Link courtesy of Fr. Rob Johansen . )

The Mighty Barrister has composed a prayer to ask that this atrocity be averted.

The Feast of St. Joseph of Cupertino, Priest
is today. There is information on him here. I find the extreme levitational phenomena in his life interesting, perhaps because my own founder seems to have been subject to it to a certain degree.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

The Familiarity of Jesus
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

" 1. The Holy Baptist was separated from the world. He was a Nazarite. He went out from the world, and placed himself over against it, and spoke to it from his vantage ground, and called it to repentance. Then went out all Jerusalem to him into the desert, and he confronted it face to face. But in his teaching he spoke of One who should come to them and speak to them in a far different way. He should not separate Himself from them, He should not display Himself as some higher being, but as their brother, as of their flesh and of their bones, as one among many brethren, as one of the multitude and amidst them; nay, He was among them already. 'Medius vestrum stetit, quem vos nescitis'—'there hath stood in the midst of you, whom you know not.' That greater one called Himself the Son of man—He was content to be taken as ordinary in all respects, though He was the Highest. St. John and the other Evangelists, though so different in the character of their accounts of Him, agree most strikingly here. The Baptist says, 'There is in the midst of you One whom you know not.' Next we read of his pointing Jesus out privately, not to crowds, but to one or two of his awn religious followers; then of their seeking Jesus and being allowed to follow Him home. At length Jesus begins to disclose Himself and to manifest His glory in miracles; but where? At a marriage feast, where there was often excess, as the architriclinus implies. And how? in adding to the wine, the instrument of such excess, when it occurred. He was at that marriage feast not as a teacher, but as a guest, and (so to speak) in a social way, for He was with His Mother. Now compare this with what He says in St. Matthew's Gospel of Himself: 'John came neither eating nor drinking—The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say: Behold a man that is a glutton and wine-drinker.' John might be hated, but he was respected; Jesus was despised. See also Mark i. 22, 27, 37, iii. 21, for the astonishment and rudeness of all about Him. The objection occurs at once, ii. 16. What a marked feature it must have been of our Lord's character and mission, since two Evangelists, so independent in their narrations, record it! The prophet had said the same (Isai. liii. 'He shall,' &c.).

2. This was, O dear Lord, because Thou so lovest this human nature which Thou hast created. Thou didst not love us merely as Thy creatures, the work of Thy hands, but as men. Thou lovest all, for Thou hast created all; but Thou lovest man more than all. How is it, Lord, that this should be? What is there in man, above others? Quid est homo, quod memor es ejus? yet, nusquam Angelos apprehendit— 'What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?' … 'nowhere doth he take hold of the angels.' Who can sound the depth of Thy counsels and decrees? Thou hast loved man more than Thou hast loved the Angels: and therefore, as Thou didst not take on Thee an angelic nature when Thou didst manifest Thyself for our salvation, so too Thou wouldest not come in any shape or capacity or office which was above the course of ordinary human life—not as a Nazarite, not as a Levitical priest, not as a monk, not as a hermit, but in the fulness and exactness of that human nature which so much Thou lovest. Thou camest not only a perfect man, but as proper man; not formed anew out of earth, not with the spiritual body which Thou now hast, but in that very flesh which had fallen in Adam, and with all our infirmities, all our feelings and sympathies, sin excepted.

3. O Jesu, it became Thee, the great God, thus abundantly and largely to do Thy work, for which the Father sent Thee. Thou didst not do it by halves—and, while that magnificence of Sacrifice is Thy glory as God, it is our consolation and aid as sinners. O dearest Lord, Thou art more fully man than the holy Baptist, than St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, than Thy own sweet Mother. As in Divine knowledge of me Thou art beyond them all, so also in experience and personal knowledge of my nature. Thou art my elder brother. How can I fear, how should I not repose my whole heart on one so gentle, so tender, so familiar, so unpretending, so modest, so natural, so humble? Thou art now, though in heaven, just the same as Thou wast on earth: the mighty God, yet the little child—the all-holy, yet the all-sensitive, all-human. "

Meditations and Devotions
A quote ....
"Not everything which is better in itself is better for each man in particular." - St. Philip Neri
Looking forward to this...
The first speaker in the diocesan Adult Lecture Series is Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, of First Things fame. You know I'll be over in Crafton tonight....
I was disappointed...
in the episode of "Historic Catholic Converts" on EWTN last night. It was on Venerable John Henry Newman, but the chronology of his leaving the Anglican ministry and his progress towards Catholicism was somewhat muddled in its dates. Worse, it referred to priests of the Congregation of the Oratory as "diocesan priests who live in community." No, they are secular priests who live in community. Each Congregation of the Oratory is a house of Pontifical Right, and the local bishop cannot interfere with the internal workings of the House. (He has oversight of the outside ministries, of course, but that is another matter. ) Finally, the program failed to mention that Newman is now a Venerable, or to request prayers for his canonization. Now, would it have taken that long to give his cause a bit of a boost ? .... sigh.....
The Feast of St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J., Cardinal and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here. One thing that is not mentioned in the online biographies: St. Robert Bellarmine was short- so short that he sometimes had to stand on a box to see over the pulpit when he preached. As someone who is 4'11", I tend to take note of saints who were, ahem, vertically challenged.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

A little quote...
"I may love by halves, I may obey by halves; I cannot believe by halves: either I have faith, or I have it not." - Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
The official Confederation of the Oratory website
now has links to PDF files of Annales Oratorii. Three caveats: 1. Most of the journal is not in English 2. Finding the English articles is not all that easy. 3. The two articles in English are not on easy topics.

The author of one of the articles written in English, "Conscience and Moral Formation in An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent" is listed as "D. Morgan, C.O." That is Fr. Drew Morgan of the Pittsburgh Oratory, who has been mentioned on this blog.
The Feast of St. Cornelius, Pope and Martyr, and St. Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr
is today. There is information on them here and here.
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., wrote a good deal about St. Cyprian. I find the saint's appearance as a minor character in the Venerable's novel about Christians in second-century Africa, Callista, particularly interesting.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Over on his blog
Mr. Shea posted links to a series of articles on Christian colleges, including one on faithful Catholic colleges. What I'm wondering is if anybody else noticed the name of the 20-year-old Catholic female student that was quoted .....

Please pray for "Renee and Danny"
two children mentioned in this heartbreaking post by Bill White. (WARNING: ONE PROFANITY IN THE LINKED POST)
(UPDATE: Mr. White has replaced the word in question. )

Apparently blogging (not to mention Nihil Obstat) ...
has been around for a bit longer than previously suspected.

The other local newspaper
also covered yesterday's blessing. Its article was even shorter than that in the Post Gazette, but here it is. I was a trifle piqued that the word "Oratory" didn't even appear the article, but such is life. For those in the Pittsburgh area, the print edition has a picture of Bishop Wuerl in the library, with Fr. Drew of the Pittsburgh Oratory standing behind him.
The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
is today. There is information on it here.
Mary is the "Regina Martyrum," the Queen of Martyrs
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"Why is she so called?—she who never had any blow, or wound, or other injury to her consecrated person. How can she be exalted over those whose bodies suffered the most ruthless violences and the keenest torments for our Lord's sake? She is, indeed, Queen of all Saints, of those who 'walk with Christ in white, for they are worthy;' but how of those 'who were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held?'

To answer this question, it must be recollected that the pains of the soul may be as fierce as those of the body. Bad men who are now in hell, and the elect of God who are in purgatory, are suffering only in their souls, for their bodies are still in the dust;yet how severe is that suffering! And perhaps most people who have lived long can bear witness in their own persons to a sharpness of distress which was like a sword cutting them, to a weight and force of sorrow which seemed to throw them down, though bodily pain there was none.

What an overwhelming horror it must have been for the Blessed Mary to witness the Passion and the Crucifixion of her Son! Her anguish was, as Holy Simeon had announced to her, at the time of that Son's Presentation in the Temple, a sword piercing her soul. If our Lord Himself could not bear the prospect of what was before Him, and was covered in the thought of it with a bloody sweat, His soul thus acting upon His body, does not this show how great mental pain can be? and would it have been wonderful though Mary's head and heart had given way as she stood under His Cross?

Thus is she most truly the Queen of Martyrs."

Meditations and Devotions

Sunday, September 14, 2003

A quote on crosses...
"He who runs away from his cross will meet a bigger one on the road." - St. Philip Neri
Well, the Mass with the Bishop went well...
as did the blessing of the National Newman Library afterwards. Here is the music from the Mass (a Mass of the Holy Spirit for the Opening of the School Year) :
Processional: "Come Holy Ghost"
Offertory: "O God Beyond All Praising" - Gustav Holst ( 1874- 1934)
Communion: "Ave Verum" - Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
Recessional: "Lift High the Cross"

One of the local newspapers did a short piece in the Sunday edition on the blessing. It should be taken with a bit of salt as the writer seems to buy into the "Newman-as-liberal-icon" thing , as well as committing some errors of fact, errors of emphasis, and infelicitous expressions. (For example, the Venerable's journey into the Church took six years, not two. St. Thomas Aquinas is hardly a representative of the 'early church'- and St. Thomas's influence on the Venerable was not all that strong. "Eastern Orthodox mystics' seems to be the writer's confused term for the Greek Fathers of the Church. ...and so on. ) Also, for some reason the word "Oratory" is not capitalized as it should be, which is puzzling. I am, however, glad that they mentioned the attempt that will be made to digitize the originals of Venerable Newman's writings and put them on the Internet. (Now does that sound cool or what ? !!!)
Bearing all this in mind, here it is. For anyone in the Pittsburgh area, the print version has two photographs with it, one of which is of Fr. Drew Morgan, C.O., of the Pittsburgh Oratory.
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
is today. There is information on it here.

"It is the death of the Eternal Word of God made flesh, which is our great lesson how to think and how to speak of this world. His Cross has put its due value upon every thing which we see, upon all fortunes, all advantages, all ranks, all dignities, all pleasures; upon the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. It has set a price upon the excitements, the rivalries, the hopes, the fears, the desires, the efforts, the triumphs of mortal man. It has given a meaning to the various, shifting course, the trials, the temptations, the sufferings, of his earthly state. It has brought together and made consistent all that seemed discordant and aimless. It has taught us how to live, how to use this world, what to expect, what to desire, what to hope. It is the tone into which all the strains of this world's music are ultimately to be resolved.

Look around, and see what the world presents of high and low. Go to the court of princes. See the treasure and skill of all nations brought together to honour a child of man. Observe the prostration of the many before the few. Consider the form and ceremonial, the pomp, the state, the circumstance; and the vainglory. Do you wish to know the worth of it all? Look at the Cross of Christ.

Go to the political world: see nation jealous of nation, trade rivalling trade, armies and fleets matched against each other. Survey the various ranks of the community, its parties and their contests, the strivings of the ambitious, the intrigues of the crafty. What is the end of all this turmoil? The grave. What is the measure? The Cross.

Go, again, to the world of intellect and science: consider the wonderful discoveries which the human mind is making, the variety of arts to which its discoveries give rise, the all but miracles by which it shows its power; and next, the pride and confidence of reason, and the absorbing devotion of thought to transitory objects, which is the consequence. Would you form a right judgment of all this? Look at the Cross.

Again: look at misery, look at poverty and destitution, look at oppression and captivity; go where food is scanty, and lodging unhealthy. Consider pain and suffering, diseases long or violent, all that is frightful and revolting. Would you know how to rate all these? Gaze upon the Cross.

Thus in the Cross, and Him who hung upon it, all things meet; all things subserve it, all things need it. It is their centre and their interpretation. For He was lifted up upon it, that He might draw all men and all things unto Him. "

Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. Parochial and Plain Sermons