Saturday, October 11, 2003

For Saturday

" I consider it impossible then, for those who believe the Church to be one vast body in heaven and on earth, in which every holy creature of God has his place, and of which prayer is the life, when once they recognize the sanctity and dignity of the Blessed Virgin, not to perceive immediately, that her office above is one of perpetual intercession for the faithful militant, and that our very relation to her must be that of clients to a patron, and that, in the eternal enmity which exists between the woman and the serpent, while the serpent's strength lies in being the Tempter, the weapon of the Second Eve and Mother of God is prayer.

As then these ideas of her sanctity and dignity gradually penetrated the mind of Christendom, so did that of her intercessory power follow close upon them and with them. From the earliest times that mediation is symbolized in those representations of her with up-lifted hands, which, whether in plaster or in glass, are still extant in Rome,—that Church, as St. Iren?us says, with which 'every Church, that is, the faithful from every side, must agree, because of its more powerful principality;' 'into which,' as Tertullian adds, 'the Apostles poured out, together with their blood, their whole doctrine.' As far indeed as existing documents are concerned, I know of no instance to my purpose earlier than A.D. 234, but it is a very remarkable one; and, though it has been often quoted in the controversy, an argument is not weaker for frequent use.

'St. Gregory Nyssen , then, a native of Cappadocia in the fourth century, relates that his namesake, Bishop of Neo-Caesarea in Pontus, surnamed Thaumaturgus, in the century preceding, shortly before he was called to the priesthood, received in a vision a Creed, which is still extant, from the Blessed Mary at the hands of St. John. The account runs thus:—He was deeply pondering theological doctrine, which the heretics of the day depraved. 'In such thoughts,' says his namesake of Nyssa, 'he was passing the night, when one appeared, as if in human form, aged in appearance, saintly in the fashion of his garments, and very venerable both in grace of countenance and general mien. Amazed at the sight, he started from his bed, and asked who it was, and why he came; but, on the other calming the perturbation of his mind with his gentle voice, and saying he had appeared to him by divine command on account of his doubts, in order that the truth of the orthodox faith might be revealed to him, he took courage at the word, and regarded him with a mixture of joy and fright. Then, on his stretching his hand straight forward and pointing with his fingers at something on one side, he followed with his eyes the extended hand, and saw another appearance opposite to the former, in shape of a woman, but more than human ... When his eyes could not bear the apparition, he heard them conversing together on the subject of his doubts; and thereby not only gained a true knowledge of the faith, but learned their names, as they addressed each other by their respective appellations. And thus he is said to have heard the person in woman's shape bid "John the Evangelist" disclose to the young man the mystery of godliness; and he answered that he was ready to comply in this matter with the wish of "the Mother of the Lord," and enunciated a formulary, well-turned and complete, and so vanished. He, on the other hand, immediately committed to writing that divine teaching of his mystagogue, and henceforth preached in the Church according to that form, and bequeathed to posterity, as an inheritance, that heavenly teaching, by means of which his people are instructed down to this day, being preserved from all heretical evil." He proceeds to rehearse the Creed thus given, 'There is One God, Father of a Living Word,' &c. Bull (ed. an Anglican authority), after quoting it in his work on the Nicene Faith, alludes to this history of its origin, and adds, 'No one should think it incredible that such a providence should befall a man whose whole life was conspicuous for revelations and miracles, as all ecclesiastical writers who have mentioned him (and who has not?) witness with one voice.'

Here our Lady is represented as rescuing a holy soul from intellectual error. This leads me to a further reflection. You seem, in one place of your Volume, to object to the Antiphon, in which it is said of her, 'All heresies thou hast destroyed alone.' Surely the truth of it is verified in this age, as in former times, and especially by the doctrine concerning her, on which I have been dwelling. She is the great exemplar of prayer in a generation, which emphatically denies the power of prayer in toto, which determines that fatal laws govern the universe, that there cannot be any direct communication between earth and heaven, that God cannot visit His own earth, and that man cannot influence His providence."- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
A Letter Addressed to the Rev. E. B. Pusey, D.D., on Occasion of His Eirenicon
This is scary....
An article by the often egregious Fr. Greeley actually makes a lot of sense. Not that I agree with all of it, mind you.....but he's got some good points.

Link courtesy of Dave Alexander.

Two little links
connected with the Professor.....
Sandra Miesel wrote an article on him and his works for Crisis. It is now online.
I rather like this drawing of a scene from the early life of one of my favorite characters in The Lord of the Rings. (Note: if there are any inaccuracies in the archery depicted, I am clueless on that sort of thing, alas !)
The Feast of St. Alexander Sauli, B. , Bishop
is today. There is information on him here. It is likely that he was yet another Friend of St. Philip, though it is not mentioned in the profile. He was St. Charles Borromeo's spiritual director, and the Archbishop of Milan was definitely an F.O.S.P. Also, I have read that the early Oratorians and the early Barnabites knew each other well.
It is also the feast of Blessed Pope John XXIII . Here is a link to his Address at the Opening of Vatican Council II, which was given on October 11, 1962.

Friday, October 10, 2003

News ....
I've just heard that one of our local auxiliary bishops is to be installed as the Ordinary of Green Bay, Wisconsin, in December. Prayers for him and his future flock would be welcome.
From Discourses to Mixed Congregations
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
" Be convinced in your reason that the Catholic Church is a teacher sent to you from God, and it is enough. I do not wish you to join her, till you are. If you are half convinced, pray for a full conviction, and wait till you have it. It is better indeed to come quickly, but better slowly than carelessly; and sometimes, as the proverb goes, the more haste, the worse speed. Only make yourselves sure that the delay is not from any fault of yours, which you can remedy. God deals with us very differently; conviction comes slowly to some men, quickly to others; in some it is the result of much thought and many reasonings, in others of a sudden illumination. One man is convinced at once, as in the instance described by St. Paul: 'If all prophesy,' he says, speaking of exposition of doctrine, 'and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all. The secrets of his heart are made manifest; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God, and say that God is among you of a truth.' The case is the same now; some men are converted merely by entering a Catholic Church; others are converted by reading one book; others by one doctrine. They feel the weight of their sins, and they see that that religion must come from God which alone has the means of forgiving them. Or they are touched and overcome by the evident sanctity, beauty, and (as I may say) fragrance of the Catholic Religion.Or they long for a guide amid the strife of tongues; and the very doctrine of the Church about faith, which is so hard to many, is conviction to them. Others, again, hear many objections to the Church, and follow out the whole subject far and wide; conviction can scarcely come to them except as at the end of a long inquiry. As in a court of justice, one man's innocence may be proved at once, another's is the result of a careful investigation; one has nothing in his conduct or character to explain, against another there are many unfavourable presumptions at first sight; so Holy Church presents herself very differently to different minds who are contemplating her from without. God deals with them differently; but, if they are faithful to their light, at last, in their own time, though it may be a different time to each, He brings them to that one and the same state of mind, very definite and not to be mistaken, which we call conviction. They will have no doubt, whatever difficulties may still attach to the subject, that the Church is from God; they may not be able to answer this objection or that, but they will be certain in spite of it. "

I got an invitation today...
which reads:
"With gratitude to Almighty God,
The Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Loretto
joyfully announce the
Solemn Profession and Veiling
Sister Claire Benedicta of the Cross, O.C.D.
(Gwendolyn Claire Mann)
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond R. Mann
of Manlius, New York.

You are cordially invited to attend the Concelebrated Mass
Saturday, the Twenty-ninth of November
in the year of Our Lord two thousand and three
at one o' clock in the afternoon

The most Rev. Joseph V. Adamec, D.D., S.T.L.
Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown
will be the Principal Celebrant

The Very Rev. Fr. Jude Peters, O.C.D.
will be the Homilist.

Sister will receive visitors in the Monastery Parlor after the Mass"

Prayers for Sr. Claire as she prepares for this momentous step would be most welcome !

The Feast of St. Francis Borgia, S.J.
is today. There is information on him here. One note: the profile mentions his eight children, and that he was a Jesuit. He was, of course, a widower- a point that is not particularly clear. I'm rather fond of this saint- simply because he was the 'white sheep' of such a notorious family !

Thursday, October 09, 2003

On this date, 158 years ago...
Venerable John Henry Newman was received into the Catholic Church, at the hands of Blessed Dominic Barberi, C.P.. Thanks to Gerard Serafin, Lane Core, and to any other bloggers who have noted this anniversary. ( Congratulations to Lane Core on it being his own anniversary of reception into the Church as well.)
Here is the conclusion of An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, the book in which the Venerable cleared up his own difficulties with the Catholic Faith.

"Such were the thoughts concerning the 'Blessed Vision of Peace,' of one whose long-continued petition had been that the Most Merciful would not despise the work of His own Hands, nor leave him to himself;—while yet his eyes were dim, and his breast laden, and he could but employ Reason in the things of Faith. And now, dear Reader, time is short, eternity is long. Put not from you what you have here found; regard it not as mere matter of present controversy; set not out resolved to refute it, and looking about for the best way of doing so; seduce not yourself with the imagination that it comes of disappointment, or disgust, or restlessness, or wounded feeling, or undue sensibility, or other weakness. Wrap not yourself round in the associations of years past, nor determine that to be truth which you wish to be so, nor make an idol of cherished anticipations. Time is short, eternity is long.

Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine,

Secundum verbum tuum in pace

Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

On October 8, 1845...

Venerable John Henry Newman spent much of the day writing letters which ran like this:
"Littlemore, October 8th, 1845.
I am this night expecting Father Dominic, the Passionist, who, from his youth, has been led to have distinct and direct thoughts, first of the countries of the North, then of England. After thirty years' (almost) waiting, he was without his own act sent here. But he has had little to do with conversions. I saw him here for a few minutes on St. John Baptist's day last year. He is a simple, holy man; and withal gifted with remarkable powers. He does not know of my intention; but I mean to ask of him admission into the one Fold of Christ …I have so many letters to write, that this must do for all who choose to ask about me. With my best love to dear Charles Marriott, who is over your head, &c., &c.

P.S. This will not go till all is over. Of course it requires no answer."

the Feast of St. John Leonardi, Founder
is today. There is information on him here. He is to be noted as the founder of both the Clreks Regular of the Mother of God and the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, and he was also a F.O.S.P. (Friend of St. Philip ! )

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Jeff Miller
continues to crack me up.
Those sighs you are hearing up coming from Up There...
are those of the Venerable, as he watches the religious communion in which he spent the first 44 years of his life self-destructing.

Link courtesy of Mark Shea.

The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary
is today. In honor of this, here is a link to information on the Rosary at the website of the Holy See.

"You know that today we keep the Feast of the Holy Rosary, and I propose to say to you what occurs to me on this great subject. You know how that devotion came about; how, at a time when heresy was very widespread, and had called in the aid of sophistry, that can so powerfully aid infidelity against religion, God inspired St. Dominic to institute and spread this devotion. It seems so simple and easy, but you know God chooses the small things of the world to humble the great. Of course it was first of all for the poor and simple, but not for them only, for everyone who has practised the devotion knows that there is in it a soothing sweetness that there is in nothing else. It is difficult to know God by our own power, because He is incomprehensible. He is invisible to begin with, and therefore incomprehensible. We can in some way know him, for even among the heathens there were some who had learned many truths about Him; but even they found it hard to conform their lives to their knowledge of Him. And so in His mercy He has given us a revelation of Himself by coming amongst us, to be one of ourselves, with all the relations and qualities of humanity, to gain us over. He came down from Heaven and dwelt amongst us, and died for us. All these things are in the Creed, which contains the chief things that He has revealed to us about Himself. Now the great power of the Rosary lies in this, that it makes the Creed into a prayer; of course, the Creed is in some sense a prayer and a great act of homage to God; but the Rosary gives us the great truths of His life and death to meditate upon, and brings them nearer to our hearts. And so we contemplate all the great mysteries of His life and His birth in the manger; and so too the mysteries of His suffering and His glorified life. But even Christians, with all their knowledge of God, have usually more awe than love of Him, and the special virtue of the Rosary lies in the special way in which it looks at these mysteries; for with all our thoughts of Him are mingled thoughts of His Mother, and in the relations between Mother and Son we have set before us the Holy Family, the home in which God lived. Now the family is, even humanly considered, a sacred thing; how much more the family bound together by supernatural ties, and, above all, that in which God dwelt with His Blessed Mother." - Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

From Essays Critical and Historical
"A convert is undeniably in favour with no party; he is looked at with distrust, contempt, and aversion by all. His former friends think him a good riddance, and his new friends are cold and strange; and as to the impartial public, their very first impulse is to impute the change to some eccentricity of character, or fickleness of mind, or tender attachment, or private interest. Their utmost praise is the reluctant confession that 'doubtless he is very sincere.' " - Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
If it were not Sunday
it would be the feast of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, C.S.S.R. I mention him because he spent some years in ministry in Pittsburgh, along with St. John Neumann, C.S.S.R.