Saturday, March 06, 2004

On March 6, 1848
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., wrote the following meditation:
Hope in God—Creator

"1. God has created all things for good; all things for their greatest good; everything for its own good. What is the good of one is not the good of another; what makes one man happy would make another unhappy. God has determined, unless I interfere with His plan, that I should reach that which will be my greatest happiness. He looks on me individually, He calls me by my name, He knows what I can do, what I can best be, what is my greatest happiness, and He means to give it me.

2. God knows what is my greatest happiness, but I do not. There is no rule about what is happy and good; what suits one would not suit another. And the ways by which perfection is reached vary very much; the medicines necessary for our souls are very different from each other. Thus God leads us by strange ways; we know He wills our happiness, but we neither know what our happiness is, nor the way. We are blind; left to ourselves we should take the wrong way; we must leave it to Him.

3. Let us put ourselves into His hands, and not be startled though He leads us by a strange way, a mirabilis via, as the Church speaks. Let us be sure He will lead us right, that He will bring us to that which is, not indeed what we think best, nor what is best for another, but what is best for us.

Colloquy. O, my God, I will put myself without reserve into Thy hands. Wealth or woe, joy or sorrow, friends or bereavement, honour or humiliation, good report or ill report, comfort or discomfort, Thy presence or the hiding of Thy countenance, all is good if it comes from Thee. Thou art wisdom and Thou art love—what can I desire more? Thou hast led me in Thy counsel, and with glory hast Thou received me. What have I in heaven, and apart from Thee what want I upon earth? My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the God of my heart, and my portion for ever. "

The Feast of St. Agnes of Prague, P.C., Virgin
is today. There is information on her here. It is also the feast of St. Colette, P.C.C., Virgin and Foundress.
I doubt that any Poor Clares or Colettines read this blog, but I wish them a happy feast day nevertheless....

Friday, March 05, 2004

For Friday

Short Meditations on the Stations of the Cross
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

The Third Station
Jesus falls under the weight of the Cross the first time

"V. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
R. Quia per sanctam Crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

Satan fell from heaven in the beginning; by the just sentence of his Creator he fell, against whom he had rebelled. And when he had succeeded in gaining man to join him in his rebellion, and his Maker came to save him, then his brief hour of triumph came, and he made the most of it. When the Holiest had taken flesh, and was in his power, then in his revenge and malice he determined, as he himself had been struck down by the Almighty arm, to strike in turn a heavy blow at Him who struck him. Therefore it was that Jesus fell down so suddenly. O dear Lord, by this Thy first fall raise us all out of sin, who have so miserably fallen under its power.

Pater, Ave, &c.

The Fourth Station
Jesus meets His Mother

V. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
R. Quia per sanctam Crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

There is no part of the history of Jesus but Mary has her part in it. There are those who profess to be His servants, who think that her work was ended when she bore Him, and after that she had nothing to do but disappear and be forgotten. But we, O Lord, Thy children of the Catholic Church, do not so think of Thy Mother. She brought the tender infant into the Temple, she lifted Him up in her arms when the wise men came to adore Him. She fled with Him to Egypt, she took Him up to Jerusalem when He was twelve years old. He lived with her at Nazareth for thirty years. She was with Him at the marriage-feast. Even when He had left her to preach, she hovered about Him. And now she shows herself as He toils along the Sacred Way with His cross on His shoulders. Sweet Mother, let us ever think of thee when we think of Jesus, and when we pray to Him, ever aid us by thy powerful intercession.

Pater, Ave, &c. "

David Morrison
has two links to interesting articles on his blog, Sed Contra:
The End of Marriage in Scandinavia - I don't entirely agree with some of the conclusion (the part where he says that there are 'stopping places' on the continual slide down where further instablility can be halted seems forced)- but the statistics alone would make this a jaw-dropper...
An Atheist Argues Against Abortion - I (obviously!) think this author is wrong on the biggest question of all- but at least he has enough sense to see that a baby is a baby, whether 'wanted' or not.

This second article reminded me of someone I knew back in my college days. The treasurer of our university pro-life group was an atheist. ( He often said all atheists should be fervently pro-life, since they believe this life is the only one we've got !) At a pro-life rally, he was confronted by some pro-death folks, and there ensued one rather odd conversation:

"You anti-choice people are all intolerant bigots, trying to force your religion down our throats."
"I'm an atheist."
(Stunned pause, then...)
"No, you're not !"

Jeff Miller
cracks me up yet again.
The feast of St. Kieran, Bishop
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of St. Mark the Asetic.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

For Thursday
"I need hardly observe to you, my Brothers, that the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is one of the simplest rites of the Church. The priests enter and kneel down; one of them unlocks the Tabernacle, takes out the Blessed Sacrament, inserts it upright in a Monstrance of precious metal, and sets it in a conspicuous place above the altar, in the midst of lights, for all to see. The people then begin to sing; meanwhile the Priest twice offers incense to the King of heaven, before whom he is kneeling. Then he takes the Monstrance in his hands, and turning to the people, blesses them with the Most Holy, in the form of a cross, while the bell is sounded by one of the attendants to call attention to the ceremony. It is our Lord's solemn benediction of His people, as when He lifted up His hands over the children, or when He blessed His chosen ones when He ascended up from Mount Olivet. As sons might come before a parent before going to bed at night, so, once or twice a week the great Catholic family comes before the Eternal Father, after the bustle or toil of the day, and He smiles upon them, and sheds upon them the light of His countenance. It is a full accomplishment of what the Priest invoked upon the Israelites, 'The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord show His face to thee and have mercy on thee; the Lord turn His countenance to thee and give thee peace.' Can there be a more touching rite, even in the judgment of those who do not believe in it? How many a man, not a Catholic, is moved, on seeing it, to say 'Oh, that I did but believe it!' when he sees the Priest take up the Fount of Mercy, and the people bent low in adoration! "- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. , Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England
Two prayer requests....
The first is a grim one. Some time ago, I mentioned that a friend had requested prayers for a woman he knew who was unexpectedly pregnant and tempted to abort her child. Yesterday, he sorrowfully informed me that she had made the wrong decision. Prayers for this woman, that she will come to repentance and acceptance of Christ's healing love, would be a blessing in this tragic situation.
The second is joyful- though I'll admit it is tinged with envy on my part. Tommorow, Fr. David, Fr. Joseph, and a group of students will be heading out on the Spring Break pilgrimage to Rome . Prayers for their safe travel and spiritual benefit would be welcome.
T-shirt seen at daily Mass today...
"People use duct tape to fix everything. God used nails."
The Feast of St. Casimir of Poland
is today. There is information on him here. He is, IMHO, particularly interesting inasmuch as he lived a life of holiness, not in a monastery, but as a single man in the world.
It is also the feast of Pope St. Lucius I

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

On March 3, 1861
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:
State of Original Sin

"1. INTROD.-State of original sin. Deprivation of grace; consequences, the 'wounds.'

2. Stripped of God's supernatural gifts or grace. He might never have given it, and then no punishment. But since we were intended for heaven, it was a great punishment. Take the case of a person born to wealth, etc., of cultivated mind, etc., banished to a desert island.

3. And as a spendthrift involves all his descendants, so here.

4. But worse. I described last week the triple subjection. Well, when man cast off God, his passions and affections rebelled against his reason, and his body against his soul. Case of a strong man or child on horseback. Daniel in the lions' den.

5. This great calamity constitutes the wounds of human nature-parable of the Good Samaritan-first stripped, then wounded.

6. Now here I shall view them as three-the absence of three subjections-sloth, selfishness, sensuality.

7. Describe sloth-that deadness, blindness of soul, dislike of prayer, disgust at religion, liking to ridicule it. Dislike of ruling our mind and heart, etc., etc.

8. Therefore selfishness-making self the centre, etc.

9. And therefore sensuality-idolising the creature.

10. And then these may be considered sins against God, our neighbour and ourselves. Contrasts-love of God, love of our neighbour, and self-command.

11. They branch into the seven deadly sins: (1) sloth; (2) pride, avarice, anger, envy; (3) gluttony and luxury.

12. They tend to utter death. Are you to live after this life? What is your state then, and is God in heaven? Again I say, what is your state then, with the world swept away?

13. What is your duty? As a ruined man might try to repair his fortunes. Children of this world labouring to regain an ancestral estate.

14. Two great graces: illumination and excitation.

15. 'Now is the acceptable time.' "

Pray for this girl - and especially for her child...
Ditched bride gets hitched after finding late stand-in
This baby is going to be born into a situation where you already can't tell the players without a scorecard....

Link courtesy of It's a Mystery.
Apparently Internet access is even more widespread than I thought...
The demon Moloch now has a blog.
Over at the Rat Fan Club site...
the current Rat of the Week is so odd-looking he's cute... and he has a rather familiar name....

The Feast of St. Katherine Drexel, S.B.S., Virgin and Foundress
is today. There is information on her here. To any Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament out there, happy feast day !

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

On March 2, 1873
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

God Our Stay in Eternity

"1. INTROD.-We must draw near to God.

2. This means to contemplate, to recognise, to fear, to love. Now let us see the necessity of this.

3. Here we are tempted to make the world our God, because we see it, and do not see God.

4. But consider what our state is when we are dead; our senses then are all gone.

5. Consider this: we have five senses, and we know what a deprivation the loss of any one-sight or hearing or touch or feeling-any one.

6. But in death they all go together. See what we are reduced to. It is true we cannot have any bodily pain-and that is what people are apt to say, 'All his pain is over.'

7. True, but is there no pain of the mind? Do we know how acute pain of the mind is?-surely we know it even in this life.

8. Let us consider our being suddenly cut off from all intercourse except with ourselves-a truly solitary confinement; worse, for that here is only loss of hearing, i.e. conversation.

9. Supposing in addition it comes on us that we should not be thus, except for our own fault!

10. Now it is clear that we should have no remedy unless God visited us and gave us light.

11. The light of glory, the light of heaven, the only thing.

12. But suppose we have no desire for it, no love of it. Suppose we look back in fond regret to this world.

13. Therefore the love of God is the only way in which we can be happy."

Also, Gerard Serafin posted a quote from the Venerable on Lent.
Aarrgh !
I usually don't mind the ads that appear at the top of my blog, but one keeps showing up that really bugs me. Apparently it is a link to someone selling books by the Professor. Hint to whoever is responsible for this link: misspelling the name of the author whose books one is selling is not a smooth move. It's TOLKIEN, TOLKIEN, TOLKIEN. Advertising "Books by Tolkein" makes you look clueless.
(End of rant)
The culture of death...
marches on....
Wonderful. "Who cares about what the Church teaches ? Darn it it all, you're going to pay for your female employees to chemically neuter themselves !"

Link courtesy of HMS Blog.

On a related topic, Elinor Dashwood over at Mommentary has a fine post on the way widespread contraception has changed our society's view of children.
The Feast of St. John Maron, Priest
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of Blessed Henry Suso, O.P. To all the Dominicans out there, including a a certain blogger, happy feast day!

Monday, March 01, 2004

On March 1st, 1855
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., wrote one of my favorite prayers...

A Short Visit to the Blessed Sacrament before Meditation

"In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

I place myself in the presence of Him, in whose Incarnate Presence I am before I place myself there.

I adore Thee, O my Saviour, present here as God and man, in soul and body, in true flesh and blood.

I acknowledge and confess that I kneel before that Sacred Humanity, which was conceived in Mary's womb, and lay in Mary's bosom; which grew up to man's estate, and by the Sea of Galilee called the Twelve, wrought miracles, and spoke words of wisdom and peace; which in due season hung on the cross, lay in the tomb, rose from the dead, and now reigns in heaven.

I praise, and bless, and give myself wholly to Him, who is the true Bread of my soul, and my everlasting joy. "

My thoughts on The Passion of the Christ
These thoughts are not completely organized- but they'll do for now...


While I could carp about a few things, I was overwhelmingly moved by this film. What kept running through my head, over and over, was "Precious Lord, what did we do to You ? What did I do to You ? "

The moment which was the most intensely gut-wrenching for me was on the Via Dolorosa, when Our Lady sees Christ fall- and there is a flashback to Our Lord as a little Boy, tripping over His own feet as children do, and His mother rushing to comfort Him. She picks Him up in her arms, with the words, "I'm here." Then we come back to Our Lord, beaten and bleeding, nearly dead with exhaustion- and Our Lady rushes to Him again, with the same words, "I'm here." We- all of us- tortured and killed her Son.

While many people have commented on the horrific brutality of the scourging, I couldn't help but think of the traditional connection often made (in books for use in praying the Rosary, for example) between Our Lord's scourging and the world's 'sins of the flesh'. I thought it appropriate for so much focus to be on the vicious toll our indulgence of our bodies took on Our Lord's Body, especially in our society where anything goes 'as long as nobody gets hurt.' Well, Somebody already was hurt- and, innocent and pure, gave His life for us.

I found the treatment of Pilate and his wife interesting. While Claudia is firm in her convictions and stands for truth, her husband is a relativist. As he pretty much states, the consequences for himself are the only "truth" he cares about. This is, again, a type of sin which is frighteningly prevalent today- and needs to be confronted whenever possible.

This movie was difficult to watch- but I need to see it again....
The Feast of St. David of Wales
is today. There is information on him here. Gwyn Dygwyl Dewi Sant !
It is, therefore, also the nameday of Fr. David of the Pittsburgh Oratory. Prayers for him would be most welcome.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman , C.O.
"Let it not then distress Christians, even if they find themselves exposed to thoughts from which they turn with abhorrence and terror. Rather let such a trial bring before their thoughts, with something of vividness and distinctness, the condescension of the Son of God. For if it be a trial to us creatures and sinners to have thoughts alien from our hearts presented to us, what must have been the suffering to the Eternal Word, God of God, and Light of Light, Holy and True, to have been so subjected to Satan, that he could inflict every misery on Him short of sinning? Certainly it is a trial to us to have motives and feelings imputed to us before men, by the accuser of the brethren, which we never entertained; it is a trial to have ideas secretly suggested within, from which we shrink; it is a trial to us for Satan to be allowed so to mix his own thoughts with ours, that we feel guilty even when we are not; nay, to be able to set on fire our irrational nature, till in some sense we really sin against our will: but has not One gone before us more awful in His trial, more glorious in His victory? He was tempted in all points 'like as we are, yet without sin.' Surely here too, Christ's temptation speaks comfort and encouragement to us."

Music at the 11:30 am Mass
Processional Hymn: "Forty Days and Forty Nights"
Offertory: "Ah, Holy Jesus" - Johann Crüger (1598-1662)
Communion: "Adoramus Te, Christe" - Theodre Dubois (1837-1924)
Recessional Hymn: "The Glory of These Forty Days"
The text to the Offertory is particularly moving....

"Ah, holy Jesus, how hast Thou offended,
That man to judge Thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone Thee.
’Twas I, Lord, Jesus, I it was denied Thee.
I crucified Thee!

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
For man’s atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was Thy incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life’s oblation;
Thy death of anguish and Thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity and Thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving. "

BTW, the choir will not be singing at Mass for the next two Sundays, as our director will be in Rome ....