Saturday, March 13, 2004

For Saturday
The Virgin to Her Son on Calvary
"Thou goest to sacrifice Thyself as a propitiation for all men.
Peter, who said that he would die with Thee, does not come to Thee.
Thomas, who said, 'Let us all die with Him,' has forsaken Thee.
Not one of these is with Thee, but Thou art led forth alone, Thou who didst preserve me immaculate, my Son and my God.
They who promised to go with Thee into prison and to die with Thee have forsaken Thee and have fled.
Not one of these is with Thee, but Thou art led forth alone, Thou who didst preserve me immaculate, my Son and my God. "

The Ambrosian Liturgy

On March 13th, 1845
Venerable Newman's sister Jemima wrote him the following anguished letter, as he was struggling through the last stages of his conversion.
"You imagine rightly in thinking the communication at the end of your letter would give me a great deal of pain.(ed. The letter to which she was replying has not survived, but it is thought that at the end of it Venerable Newman confided to his sister his intention of resigning his Oriel Fellowship that October in preparation for his reception into the Catholic Church) I can think of nothing else since, and yet seem to be without the power of writing to you. Yet I can hardly say why it is so, for I am far from taken by surprise; indeed, I have been dreading to hear something of this sort for some time past. You have sufficiently warned me of it. Yet I have so much sanguineness in my composition that I always hope the worst misfortunes may be averted till they are irremediable. And what can be worse than this? It is like hearing that some dear friend must die. I cannot shut my eyes to this overpowering event that threatens any longer. What the consequences may be I know not. O dear John, can you have thought long enough before deciding on a step which, with its probable effects, must plunge so many into confusion and dismay? I know what you will answer?that nothing but the risk of personal salvation would lead you to it; and I quite believe it. I know you have all along had the greatest regard for others, and acted upon it for some time past. But think what must be our feelings who cannot entertain your views, but can only deplore it as a grievous mistake! And I feel bitterly how many good sort of people would not do you justice, but judge you very hardly indeed. It is a real pain and grief to think of you as severed from us, as it were, by your own sentence. I am much afraid, dear John, you may be taken by surprise by what I say, and expect I shall receive this event more easily. Indeed I cannot; it is to me the great proof of the badness of this world and the unfortunate times we live in that such a one as you should take the line you have taken ... Pray excuse the incoherence of this letter. I am afraid it is very strange, and does not express one small portion of my feelings. Our poor distracted Church seems to me in pieces, and there is no one to help her, and her children's sympathies seem all drawn off another way. And how sad it is to me that I cannot say these things to you without your thinking me in error and in the wrong way, and not to have found the true way! Is there not enough in the world to make one weary of it, to all who try to see things as they really are? I am so afraid I have said wrong things, as well as not said what I intended; but I am really writing in great trouble and discomfort. Pray forgive me if I have not been as considerate as I ought to be, and wish earnestly to be, for I know your trial must be great indeed.
Believe me, ever yours very affectionately,
The Venerable wrote in reply:
"I have just received your very painful letter, and wish I saw any way of making things easier to you or to myself.

If I went by what I wished, I should complete my seven years of waiting. Surely more than this, or as much, cannot be expected of me? cannot be right in me to give at my age. How life is going! I see men dying who were boys, almost children, when I was born. Pass a very few years, and I am an old man. What means of judging can I have more than I have? What maturity of mind am I to expect? If I am right to move at all, surely it is high time not to delay about it longer. Let me give my strength to the work, not my weakness-years in which I can profit the cause which calls me, not the dregs of life. Is it not like a death-bed repentance to put off what one feels one ought to do?

As to my convictions, I can but say what I have told you already, that I cannot at all make out why I should determine on moving, except as thinking I should offend God by not doing so. I cannot make out what I am at except on this supposition. At my time of life men love ease. I love ease myself. I am giving up a maintenance involving no duties, and adequate to all my wants. What in the world am I doing this for (I ask myself this), except that I think I am called to do so? I am making a large income by my sermons, I am, to say the very least, risking this; the chance is that my sermons will have no further sale at all. I have a good name with many; I am deliberately sacrificing it. I have a bad name with more. I am fulfilling all their worst wishes, and giving them their most coveted triumph. I am distressing all I love, unsettling all I have instructed or aided. I am going to those whom I do not know, and of whom I expect very little. I am making myself an outcast, and that at my age. Oh, what can it be but a stern necessity which causes this?

Pity me, my dear Jemima. What have I done thus to be deserted, thus to be left to take a wrong course, if it is wrong? I began by defending my own Church with all my might when others would not defend her. I went through obloquy in defending her. I in a fair measure succeed. At the very time of this success, before any reverse, in the course of my reading it breaks upon me that I am in a schismatical Church. I oppose myself to the notion; I write against it-year after year I write against it, and I do my utmost to keep others in the Church. From the time my doubts come upon me I begin to live more strictly; and really from that time to this I have done more towards my inward improvement, as far as I can judge, than in any time of my life. Of course I have all through had many imperfections, and might have done every single thing I have done much better than I have done it. Make all deductions on this score, still, after all, may I not humbly trust that I have not so acted as to forfeit God's gracious guidance? And how is it that I have improved in other points if in respect of this momentous matter I am so fearfully blinded ?

Why should I distress your kind heart with all my miseries? Yet you must know them, to avoid the greater misery of looking at me externally, and wondering and grieving over what seems incomprehensible. Shall I add that, distressing as is my state, it has not once come upon me to say, O that I had never begun to read theology! O that I had never meddled in ecclesiastical matters! O that I had never written the Tracts, &c.! I lay no stress on this, but state it ... Of course the human heart is mysterious. I may have some deep evil in me which I cannot fathom; I may have done some irreparable thing which demands punishment; but may not one humbly trust that the earnest prayers of many good people will be heard for me? May not one resign oneself to the event, whatever it turns out to be? May one not hope and believe, though one does not see it, that God's hand is in the deed, if a deed there is to be; that He has a purpose, and will bring it to good, and will show us that it is good, in His own time? Let us not doubt, may we never have cause to doubt, that He is with us. Continually do I pray that He would discover to me if I am under a delusion; what can I do more? What hope have I but in Him? To whom should I go? Who can do me any good? Who can speak a word of comfort but He? Who is there but looks on me with a sorrowful face??but He can lift up the light of His countenance upon me. All is against me?may He not add Himself as an adversary? May He tell me, may I listen to Him if His will is other than I think it to be!

So, my dear Jemima, if you can suggest any warnings to me which I am not considering, well, and thank you; else do take comfort, and think that perhaps you have a right to have faith in me, perhaps you have a right to believe that He who has led me hitherto will not suffer me to go wrong. I am somehow in better spirits this morning, and I say what it occurs to me to say at the time. Have I not a right to ask you not to say, as you have said in your letter, that I shall do wrong? What right have you to judge me? Have the multitude who will judge me any right to judge me? Who of my equals, who of the many who will talk flippantly about me, has a right? Who has a right to judge me but my Judge? Who has taken such, pains to know my duty (poor as they have been) as myself? Who is more likely than I to know what I ought to do? I may be wrong, but He that judgeth me is the Lord, and 'Judge nothing before the time.'

His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts as our thoughts. He may have purposes as merciful as they are beyond us. Let us do our best, and leave the event to Him? He will give us strength to bear. Surely I have to bear most; and if I do not shrink from bearing it others must not shrink. May I do my best; am I not trying to do my best?-may we not trust it will turn to the best? "

I suppose we should expect things like this...
but it's still depressing....even more so for me because it happened locally....
Postal incident sparks customer's outrage
The Feast of St. Roderick, Priest and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of St. Heldrad, O.S.B., Abbot - who is noted for, among other things, greatly expanding the library of his monastery- a man after my own heart !

Friday, March 12, 2004

On March 12, 1622
there was a canonization ceremony, in which five saints were raised to the honors of the altar. They were St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Isidore the Farmer, St. Teresa of Avila,, and, of course, my beloved St. Philip Neri. The rejoicing over this last canonization was particularly great in Rome, where St. Philip had spent about 60 years of his life and where he was greatly loved.

On March 12, 1876...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:
"On future punishment—on hell.

First, we are not fair judges of the malignity of sin.

1. Because like men who have ever lived in a mine, and never seen the light of day.

2. Because skill in any art (and so in holiness) raises the standard.

3. Because culprits make bad judges.

Secondly, God is a consuming fire; sanctity burns what is not holy.

Thirdly, consider Scripture. St. John Bapt., 'burn up the chaff'—Matt. xxv., Mark ix., fire—St. Luke, Dives and Lazarus—St. Paul, St. Peter, St. John, St. Jude. "
For Friday
Short Meditations on the Stations of the Cross
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

The Fifth Station
Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the Cross

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

Jesus could bear His Cross alone, did He so will; but He permits Simon to help Him, in order to remind us that we must take part in His sufferings, and have a fellowship in His work. His merit is infinite, yet He condescends to let His people add their merit to it. The sanctity of the Blessed Virgin, the blood of the Martyrs, the prayers and penances of the Saints, the good deeds of all the faithful, take part in that work which, nevertheless, is perfect without them. He saves us by His blood, but it is through and with ourselves that He saves us. Dear Lord, teach us to suffer with Thee, make it pleasant to us to suffer for Thy sake, and sanctify all our sufferings by the merits of Thy own.

Pater, Ave, &c.

The Sixth Station
The Face of Jesus is wiped by Veronica

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

Jesus let the pious woman carry off an impression of His Sacred Countenance, which was to last to future ages. He did this to remind us all, that His image must ever be impressed on all our hearts. Whoever we are, in whatever part of the earth, in whatever age of the world, Jesus must live in our hearts. We may differ from each other in many things, but in this we must all agree, if we are His true children. We must bear about with us the napkin of St. Veronica; we must ever meditate upon His death and resurrection, we must ever imitate His divine excellence, according to our measure. Lord, let our countenances be ever pleasing in Thy sight, not defiled with sin, but bathed and washed white in Thy precious blood.

Pater, Ave, &c. "

If this is meant to be 'inclusive'.....
please include me out...
Houses of Worship Are Reaching Out To a Flock of Pets:Purr Box Goes to Communion At St. Francis Episcopal;A Group 'Bark Mitzvah'
I am very fond of animals, (and am currently petless only because of financial issues),but this is making the worship of the Almighty intolerably "cutesy".

Link courtesy of David Mills at Mere Comments.(BTW, I was happy to see that the listed menagerie at the Mills household includes two rats. ...)

We prayed for the victims of the bombings....
at Mass yesterday, as well for their families and friends, and for the entire nation of Spain. After Mass, we prayed the Hail Holy Queen for the intention of the perpetrators being caught and coming to repent of their terrible deeds. For this latter intention, Father Bryan also invoked the intercession of our patron St. Philip, and of Our Lady of Pilar. Additional prayer is, of course, both welcome and needed.
More seems to be coming to light on this horror.

Link courtesy of Cacciaguida

OK, I'm used to Jeff Miller cracking me up....
but now Dave Armstrong is doing it too ! (Numbers 5 and 8 on the Unitarian list are my favorites... )

The Feast of St. Paul Aurelian, Bishop
is today. There is information on him here.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

For Thursday
"O most Sacred, most loving Heart of Jesus, Thou art concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still. Now as then Thou savest, Desiderio desideravi-'With desire I have desired.' I worship Thee then with all my best love and awe, with my fervent affection, with my most subdued, most resolved will. O my God, when Thou dost condescend to suffer me to receive Thee, to eat and drink Thee, and Thou for a while takest up Thy abode within me, O make my heart beat with Thy Heart. Purify it of all that is earthly, all that is proud and sensual, all that is hard and cruel, of all perversity, of all disorder, of all deadness. So fill it with Thee, that neither the events of the day nor the circumstances of the time may have power to ruffle it, but that in Thy love and Thy fear it may have peace. "- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., Meditations and Devotions
has a priceless comment on the coming dissolution of Anglicanism.

Great post by Mr. Dave Armstrong..
on why 'intellectuals' often have problems believing.( The fact that much of the post quotes and is based upon the writings of Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., is, of course, a definite plus. )
A bit of a discouraging note...
I received an e-mail from a reader in Toronto that the Cardinal there has not always been as spineful as the post from yesterday would indicate. Ah, well, here's to praying that those days of weakness are over and the Church has another true champion in the making !
The Feast of St. Eulogius of Cordoba, Priest and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Oratory blog news...
There's another Oratorian-influenced blog out there:Fiat Mihi, blogged by a lady who is associated with the Toronto Oratory.
I also got a kind e-mail today from one of the Fathers of the London Oratory, complimenting me on my blog and sending his regards to the Fathers here in Pittsburgh.

On March 10, 1882...
Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, C.O., wrote a letter to a friend which included the following paragraph:

"How the old generation is fading away, out of sight! What a mystery is life, and how it comes home to such as me to think of old Nestor's melancholy lines, 'as the outburst and fall of leaves, such the generations of man.' How inwardly miserable must the life of man be, without the Gospel, and now men are doing their utmost to destroy our sole solace ... "

My respect for Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic of Toronto
grows and grows !

Link courtesy of Relapsed Catholic.
The Feast of St. John Ogilvie, S.J., Priest and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here. Since I spend so much time blogging on the Martyrs of England and Wales, it's probably only fair to mention this Scottish martyr as well.

It is also the feast of St. Dominic Savio, and of St. John of Vallumbrosa. While the former is a great model of youthful purity, I find the latter even more interesting because he was a penitent who had once been ensnared by the occult- a growing temptation in our world today.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

On March 9, 1851
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:
"On the Accepted Time

1. INTROD.—Lent an apostolical observance.

2. And well did it become the Divine Mercy to appoint a time for repentance, who had in the fulness of time died for our redemption. For what is every one's business is no one's; what is for all times is for no time.

3. And even those who will not take God's time, feel a time there must be. They always profess a time; they quiet their conscience by naming a time; but when?

4. 'Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season,' etc., Acts xxiv. 24-25 . When the present temptation is out of the way. When the present business or trouble is got through. When they have enjoyed life a little more.

5. When 'a little more,' for there is no satisfaction in sin, each sin is the last. But the thirst comes again; there is no term at which we can quit it; it is like drinking salt water—horizon recedes.

6. End of life, time of retirement. The seriousness will come as a matter of course; passions will naturally burn out—otium cum dignitate—alas, the change of nature is not the coming of grace. We may change, but we shall not be nearer heaven. To near heaven is not a natural change, but a specific work, as much as building a house. It is not a growth till there is something to grow from.

7. Feeling then there must be a time, and having the conscience of men on this point with her, the Church appoints a time and says, 'Now is the appointed time.' She blows the trumpet; proclaims forgiveness; an indulgence—scattering gifts—inviting all to come and claim. Not sternly, but most lovingly and persuasively she does it.

8. Oh for those who have neglected the summons hitherto, year after year, conscience pleading!

9. Or perhaps we have repented just through Lent and then relapsed and undone, and more than undone, all.

10. And so we get older, older, and farther from heaven every year, till we come to our last Lent, and we do not keep it a bit the better.

11. Then we come near death, yet won't believe that death is near. Set thy house in order—packing up, and how many things left out. We cannot realise it. All hurry and confusion. Between illness, delirium, weakness, relations, worldly affairs, etc., we shall be able to recollect nothing—all in disorder. No real contrition. And so we die.

12. Ah! then in that very moment of death we shall recollect everything; all things will come before us. We shall wish to speak; it will be too late. We shall have passed from this life; the accepted time will have passed by. "

More proof...
that 'pro-choicers' care about women about as much as they care about babies.

Link courtesy of The Mighty Barrister

Interesting article
Priest combines religion and science
BTW, that 'old saying' at the end of the article is actually a comment made by an eminent historian who also led a life of great holiness, Venerable Cesare Baronius, C.O.

Link courtesy of HMS Blog

Over at the Thinklings...
there's a picture of a Rodent of Unusual Size.
The Feast of St. Frances of Rome, Widow
is today. There is information on her here.
It is also the feast of St. Gregory of Nyssa, Bishop.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Just because
"Be sure, my Brethren, that this must be our way too. Never does God give faith, but He tries it, and none without faith can enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore all ye who come to serve God, all ye who wish to save your souls, begin with making up your minds that you cannot do so, without a generous faith, a generous self-surrender; without putting yourselves into God's hands, making no bargain with Him, not stipulating conditions, but saying 'O Lord here I am-I will be whatever Thou wilt ask me-I will go whithersoever Thou sendest me-I will bear whatever Thou puttest upon me. Not in my own might or my own strength. My strength is very weakness-if I trust in myself more or less, I shall fail-but I trust in Thee-I trust and I know that Thou wilt aid me to do, what Thou callest on me to do-I trust and I know that Thou wilt never leave me nor forsake me. Never wilt Thou bring me into any trial, which Thou wilt not bring me through. Never will there be a failing on Thy part, never will there be a lack of grace. I shall have all and abound. I shall be tried: my reason will be tried, for I shall have to believe; my affections will be tried, for I shall have to obey Thee instead of pleasing myself; my flesh will be tried, for I shall have to bring it into subjection. But Thou art more to me than all other things put together. Thou canst make up to me all Thou takest from me and Thou wilt, for Thou wilt give to me Thyself. Thou wilt guide me.' "- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. , Faith and Prejudice and Other Unpublished Sermons
The optimist in me hopes this leads her to a conversion...
while the pessimist fears that the message will be so distorted the film will be a travesty...
Kidman flies into Narnia
to one of the Summa Mamas, on the birth of her little girl. Prayers for mother and child are on the way !
The Feast of St. John of God, Founder
is today. There is information on him here. To any members of the Order of Hospitallers of Saint John of God out there, happy feast day !
It is also the feast of Blessed Luigi Orione, Priest and Founder. While he is still officially a Blessed, his canonization miracle has been approved and I believe his canonization has been scheduled. To any members of the Hermits of Divine Providence, the Ladies of Divine Providence, or the Little Missionaries of Charity out there, happy feast day, and congratulations on the upcoming canonization !

Sunday, March 07, 2004

On March 7, 1848
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., wrote the following two meditations. Part of the first one is particularly famous...

"1. God was all-complete, all-blessed in Himself; but it was His will to create a world for His glory. He is Almighty, and might have done all things Himself, but it has been His will to bring about His purposes by the beings He has created. We are all created to His glory-we are created to do His will. I am created to do something or to be something for which no one else is created; I have a place in God's counsels, in God's world, which no one else has; whether I be rich or poor, despised or esteemed by man, God knows me and calls me by my name.

2. God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission-I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. Somehow I am necessary for His purposes, as necessary in my place as an Archangel in his-if, indeed, I fail, He can raise another, as He could make the stones children of Abraham. Yet I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connexion between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.

3. Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends, He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me-still He knows what He is about.

O Adonai, O Ruler of Israel, Thou that guidest Joseph like a flock, O Emmanuel, O Sapientia, I give myself to Thee. I trust Thee wholly. Thou art wiser than I-more loving to me than I myself. Deign to fulfil Thy high purposes in me whatever they be-work in and through me. I am born to serve Thee, to be Thine, to be Thy instrument. Let me be Thy blind instrument. I ask not to see-I ask not to know-I ask simply to be used.

1. What mind of man can imagine the love which the Eternal Father bears towards the Only Begotten Son? It has been from everlasting,-and it is infinite; so great is it that divines call the Holy Ghost by the name of that love, as if to express its infinitude and perfection. Yet reflect, O my soul, and bow down before the awful mystery, that, as the Father loves the Son, so doth the Son love thee, if thou art one of His elect; for He says expressly, 'As the Father hath loved Me, I also have loved you. Abide in My love.' What mystery in the whole circle of revealed truths is greater than this?

2. The love which the Son bears to thee, a creature, is like that which the Father bears to the uncreated Son. O wonderful mystery! This, then, is the history of what else is so strange: that He should have taken my flesh and died for me. The former mystery anticipates the latter; that latter does but fulfil the former. Did He not love me so inexpressibly, He would not have suffered for me. I understand now why He died for me, because He loved me as a father loves his son-not as a human father merely, but as the Eternal Father the Eternal Son. I see now the meaning of that else inexplicable humiliation: He preferred to regain me rather than to create new worlds.

3. How constant is He in His affection! He has loved us from the time of Adam. He has said from the beginning, 'I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.' He did not forsake us in our sin. He did not forsake me. He found me out and regained me. He made a point of it-He resolved to restore me, in spite of myself, to that blessedness which I was so obstinately set against. And now what does He ask of me, but that, as He has loved me with an everlasting love, so I should love Him in such poor measures as I can show.

O mystery of mysteries, that the ineffable love of Father to Son should be the love of the Son to us! Why was it, O Lord? What good thing didst Thou see in me a sinner? Why wast Thou set on me? 'What is man, that Thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that Thou visitest him?' This poor flesh of mine, this weak sinful soul, which has no life except in Thy grace, Thou didst set Thy love upon it. Complete Thy work, O Lord, and as Thou hast loved me from the beginning, so make me to love Thee unto the end. "

Meditations and Devotions
If it were not Sunday...
today would be the feast of Blessed German Gardiner , Blessed John Larke, and Blessed John Ireland, Priests and Martyrs. The last named was the chaplain of a more famous martyr, St. Thomas More.