Saturday, January 31, 2004

The Feast of St. John Bosco, Priest and Founder
is today. There is information on him here. To any Salesians out there, happy feast day !

Friday, January 30, 2004

The Feast of Blessed Sebastian Valfre, C.O., Priest
is today. There is information on him here. I find him inspiring inasmuch as he had to struggle with his temper and persistent desolation when at prayer- yet managed to give others a peace he had difficulty finding himself.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

On January 29, 1868
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. wrote the following. It was (relatively) soon after the Apologia Pro Vita Sua had restored much of his reputation and influence- though not with everyone, as the letter itself shows.

"Our Lord has said: "Vae cum benedixerint vobis homines" (Luc. vi. 26), [alos humas eiposi], and I seem to be in this danger as regards the Protestant world. A reaction has set in, nor does one know what will be its limits. Just now, my Verses, which I have collected and published, have both stimulated and manifested it. I feel as if a Nemesis would come, if I am not careful and am reminded of the ring of Polycrates. Friends and well-wishers out of kindness are writing favourable reviews of my small book, and I am obliged to read out of gratitude what they say of me so generously. I have said: 'the Protestant world'—but it extends to the great mass of (English speaking) Catholics also; till the 'Apologia' I was thought 'passé'and forgotten. The controversy which occasioned it, and then the Oxford matter and the 'Dream of Gerontius' have brought me out, and now I should be hard indeed to please, and very ungrateful to them, and to God, if I did not duly appreciate this thought of me.

Then comes the question: what use can I make of these fresh mercies? Not from any supernatural principle, but from mere natural temper, I keep saying, what is the good of all this? what comes of it? 'Vanitas Vanitatum,' if it is but empty praise. What use can I make of it? for what is it given me? And then, too, on the other hand, when I am well thought of, and the world is in good humour with me, I am led to say to myself: "Let well alone; do not hazard by any fresh act the loss of that, which you have been so long without, and found such difficulty in getting. Enjoy the 'otium cum dignitate.'

'Otium cum dignitate' reminds me of 'Otium cum indignitate'; yes, as far as Propaganda goes, and that English party of which Archbishop Manning and Ward are the support, I have been dismissed not simply as 'inglorious,' but to 'dishonoured ease.' And this would certainly serve as the ring of Polycrates, did I feel it—but I don't feel it. And, as I had said on some former page, I should be so out of my element if I were without that cold shade on the side of ecclesiastical authority, in which I have dwelt nearly all my life, my eyes would be so dazed, and my limbs so relaxed, were I brought out to bask in the full sun of ecclesiastical favour, that I should not know how to act and should make a fool of myself.

As my Lord had some purpose in letting me be so long forgotten and calumniated, as He has had some purpose in leaving me, as regards ecclesiastical authorities, under that cloud which He has lately removed from me as regards Catholics and Protestants generally, so now He has some purpose in that late removal—if I could know what it is...."

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Just because ...
In 1850, a certain lady who corresponded with Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., wrote to him that a friend of hers considered him to be a saint. His reply was, IMHO, priceless.

"You must undeceive Miss A. B. about me, though I suppose she uses words in a general sense. I have nothing of a saint about me as every one knows, and it is a severe (and salutary) mortification to be thought next door to one. I may have a high view of many things, but it is the consequence of education and a peculiar cast of intellect-but this is very different from being what I admire. I have no tendency to be a saint-it is a sad thing to say so. Saints are not literary men, they do not love the classics, they do not write Tales. I may be well enough in my way, but it is not the 'high line.' People ought to feel this, most people do. But those who are at a distance have exalted notions about one. It is enough for me to black the saints' shoes-if St. Philip uses blacking in heaven. "

The Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas,O.P., Priest and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here. To all the Dominicans out there, including a certain blogger, happy feast day !

It is also the feast of St. Peter Nolasco, Founder. To any Mercedarians who are reading this, happy feast day !

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

On January 27, 1850
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:
On Labour and Rest

"1. INTROD.-On Septuagesima, beginning a time of penance and penitential work. No more Alleluias. The colour purple.

2. Labour is the lot, the punishment of man. Bad and good labour, nay, evil labours and virtue labours.

3. It is otherwise as God made things. There is motion and activity in Nature, but it is without effort; all creation is as it were hung upon wheels, and moves noiselessly and gracefully?the sun, the stream, the breeze, life.

4. And so in paradise. Adam's tending the flowers was but a specimen of divine labour without effort; such, too, was his service of God; such the angels' service-without effort.

5. But sin has made things otherwise. Henceforth labour changes its character. It is no longer Eden, but that vineyard into which the labourers were sent in today's gospel-to pull out stones, to destroy the weeds, worms, blights'-and a wall round it?for there is a warfare. Labour is a war and aims at conquest.

6. Take bodily labour, labour of the field-preparing the earth, felling trees, making roads, canals-then building houses; it is all penitential, all the punishment of sin-the mind does not come in, but a weariness.

7. And much more with intellectual labour and the labour of the mind-the mere wear and tear of business; the necessity of providing for a family; anxiety, suspense, fear, failure, dreariness and hopelessness. But even when successful, one enterprise leads to another, till the mind is overburdened and overwrought, and is sucked into a vortex. Most engrossing; no time for the thought of religion; religion must take its chance, and that they feel.

8. Much more sin; the bondage and service of the devil most wearisome-the drunkard, the sensualist. (I knew one who was tempted to fatalism.) Wearing, restless feeling, even when they call themselves happy.

9. Nay, virtue here is too a toil, because there is war between good and evil. Read the saints' lives. Such is labour, and it wearies soul and body. The body shows it. whether it is manual, mental, or intellectual.

10. Oh! if we must labour, let us labour in the service of the Great Master of the Vineyard-that only pays, that only has hire. Then we shall labour that we may rest, then only. Sin never rests; there is no rest in hell. This is that penny which they one and all received, because nothing better or higher.

11. When the evening of life comes, then shall we know most fully the meaning of labour by being freed from it.

12. The blessedness of rest, of freedom from sin and toil, even though in purgatory. Purgatory is rest compared with this life.

13. And much more in heaven, where we see the face of God. "
Ai !
Unfortunately, this parish, and its Lord of the Rings retreat are both thousands of miles away ... sigh...

Thank you to John at The Inn at the End of the World for sending this, frustrating though it is....
Let this not be real... let this not be real....
Student is selling her virginity on the internet for £10,000
It's bad enough when certain unthinking men treat women as objects- but she's doing this to herself.

The source seems to be a British equivalent of our trashy tabloids, so I'm hoping that it's a hoax....

Link courtesy of the Curt Jester

The Feast of St. Angela Merici, Virgin and Foundress
is today. There is information on her here. To any Ursulines out there, happy feastday !

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Music from the 11:30 am Mass
Processional Hymn: "The Church's One Foundation"
Offertory: "Ave Maria" - Jacob Arcadelt (1505-1568)
Communion: "I Am the Living Bread"- Michael McCabe
Recessional Hymn: "Come, Holy Ghost"