Saturday, March 20, 2004

For Saturday
"If we placed our Lord in that centre, we should only be dragging Him from His throne, and making Him an Arian kind of a God; that is, no God at all. He who charges us with making Mary a divinity, is thereby denying the divinity of Jesus. Such a man does not know what divinity is. Our Lord cannot pray for us, as a creature prays, as Mary prays; He cannot inspire those feelings which a creature inspires. To her belongs, as being a creature, a natural claim on our sympathy and familiarity, in that she is nothing else than our fellow. She is our pride,-in the poet's words, 'Our tainted nature's solitary boast'. We look to her without any fear, any remorse, any consciousness that she is able to read us, judge us, punish us. Our heart yearns towards that pure Virgin, that gentle Mother, and our congratulations follow her, as she rises from Nazareth and Ephesus, through the choirs of angels, to her throne on high, so weak, yet so strong; so delicate, yet so glorious; so modest and yet so mighty. She has sketched for us her own portrait in the Magnificat. 'He hath regarded the low estate of His hand-maid; for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. He hath put down the mighty from their seat; and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away.' "- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., A Letter Addressed to the Rev. E. B. Pusey, D.D., on Occasion of His Eirenicon
A thank-you to Michelle
over at And Then?, for posting a link to this site with lots of great rattie pictures. ( The baby rat pictures are especially appealing- I can't understand how anybody could resist little furballs like this or this.....sigh...

The Feast of St. Cuthbert, O.S.B., Abbot
is today. There is information on him here.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Short Meditations on the Stations of the Cross
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
The Seventh Station
Jesus falls a second time

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

Satan had a second fall, when our Lord came upon earth. By that time he had usurped the dominion of the whole world-and he called himself its king. And he dared to take up the Holy Saviour in his arms, and show Him all kingdoms, and blasphemously promise to give them to Him, His Maker, if He would adore him. Jesus answered, 'Begone, Satan!'-and Satan fell down from the high mountain. And Jesus bare witness to it when He said, 'I saw Satan, as lightning, falling from heaven.' The Evil One remembered this second defeat, and so now he smote down the Innocent Lord a second time, now that he had Him in his power. O dear Lord, teach us to suffer with Thee, and not be afraid of Satan's buffetings, when they come on us from resisting him.

Pater, Ave, &c.

The Eighth Station
The Women of Jerusalem mourn for Our Lord

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

Ever since the prophecy of old time, that the Saviour of man was to be born of a woman of the stock of Abraham, the Jewish women had desired to bear Him. Yet, now that He was really come, how different, as the Gospel tells us, was the event from what they had expected. He said to them 'that the days were coming when they should say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the breasts which have not given suck.' Ah, Lord, we know not what is good for us, and what is bad. We cannot foretell the future, nor do we know, when Thou comest to visit us, in what form Thou wilt come. And therefore we leave it all to Thee. Do Thou Thy good pleasure to us and in us. Let us ever look at Thee, and do Thou look upon us, and give us the grace of Thy bitter Cross and Passion, and console us in Thy own way and at Thy own time.

Pater, Ave, &c. "

Over at Mere Comments...
Mr. Mills quotes and discusses a passage from one of my favorite books.

The Feast of St. Joseph
is today. There is information on him here. A blessed feast day to all who have him as a patron, particularly Fr. Joseph of the Pittsburgh Oratory !
"There is but one saint who typifies to us the next world, and that is St. Joseph. He is the type of rest, repose, peace. He is the saint and patron of home, in death as well as in life. Let us put ourselves under his protection." -Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. , Sermon Notes

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Important prayer request
courtesy of The Theoscope
has one of the better titles for a post that I've seen in a while....
New Evangelization? We need a New Eroticism!
Mr. White
has a quote from the Venerable on Our Lady's intercession.
Mr. Popcak
has a post with a great closing line:
"Observant Catholics. We're Here. We're Sincere. Get Used to It. "
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord....
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
Two local firemen who gave their lives in the line of duty were laid to rest today. Prayers for the repose of their souls and the comfort of their loved ones would be most welcome.
The Feast of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of Blessed Fra Angelico, O.P., patron of artists and painter of some of the loveliest images this side of Heaven.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

The blogger over at "Swimming the Tiber"
is officially closing his blog... because he will be become a postulant at a monastery in a few weeks ! Prayers for his vocation will be forthcoming.
Yet another article...
which shows evidence that one of the Church's more unpopular teachings makes sense even by secular standards.
Dave Armstrong
has a wonderful reflection for Lent written by the Venerable on his blog.
The Feast of St. Patrick, Bishop, Apostle of Ireland
is today. There is information on him here.
"I cannot forget how it was from Rome that the glorious St. Patrick was sent to Ireland, and did a work so great that he could not have a successor in it, the sanctity and learning and zeal and charity which followed on his death being but the result of the one impulse which he gave. I cannot forget how, in no long time, under the fostering breath of the Vicar of Christ, a country of heathen superstitions became the very wonder and asylum of all people,—the wonder by reason of its knowledge, sacred and profane, and the asylum of religion, literature and science, when chased away from the continent by the barbarian invaders. I recollect its hospitality, freely accorded to the pilgrim; its volumes munificently presented to the foreign student; and the prayers, the blessings, the holy rites, the solemn chants, which sanctified the while both giver and receiver."- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., The Idea of a University

It is also the feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea, who gave the Lord his own tomb, and St. Jan Sarkander, who was martyred for refusing to break the seal of the confessional.

Finally, it is the feast of St. Getrude of Nivelles, who, I am happy to say, is invoked against the fear of rats.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Interesting article..
by Alice Von Hildebrand...
In Defense of Feelings.
Just because...
The Forbearance of Jesus

Videte manus meas, etc. Habetis aliquid quod manducetur?
See my hands, etc. Have you here anything to eat?

1. I adore Thee, O my Lord, for Thy wonderful patience and Thy compassionate tenderhearted condescension. Thy disciples, in spite of all Thy teaching and miracles, disbelieved Thee when they saw Thee die, and fled. Nor did they take courage afterwards, nor think of Thy promise of rising again on the third day. They did not believe Magdalen, nor the other women, who said they had seen Thee alive again. Yet Thou didst appear to them—Thou didst show them Thy wounds—Thou didst let them touch Thee—Thou didst eat before them, and give them Thy peace. O Jesu, is any obstinacy too great for Thy love? does any number of falls and relapses vanquish the faithfulness and endurance of Thy compassion? Thou dost forgive not only seven times, but to seventy times seven. Many waters cannot quench a love like Thine. And such Thou art all over the earth, even to the end—forgiving, sparing, forbearing, waiting, though sinners are ever provoking Thee; pitying and taking into account their ignorance, visiting all men, all Thine enemies, with the gentle pleadings of Thy grace, day after day, year after year, up to the hour of their death—for He knoweth whereof we are made; He knoweth we are but dust.

2. My God, what hast Thou done for me! Men say of Thee, O my only Good, that Thy judgments are severe, and Thy punishments excessive. All I can say is, that I have not found them so in my own case. Let others speak for themselves, and Thou wilt meet and overcome them to their own confusion in the day of reckoning. With them I have nothing to do—Thou wilt settle with them—but for me the only experience that I have is Thy dealings with myself, and here I bear witness, as I know so entirely and feel so intimately, that to me Thou hast been nothing but forbearance and mercy. O how Thou dost forget that I have ever rebelled against Thee! Again and again dost Thou help me. I fall, yet Thou dost not cast me off. In spite of all my sins, Thou dost still love me, prosper me, comfort me, surround me with blessings, sustain me, and further me. I grieve Thy good grace, yet Thou dost give more. I insult Thee, yet Thou never dost take offence, but art as kind as if I had nothing to explain, to repent of, to amend—as if I were Thy best, most faithful, most steady and loyal friend. Nay, alas! I am even led to presume upon Thy love, it is so like easiness and indulgence, though I ought to fear Thee. I confess it, O my true Saviour, every day is but a fresh memorial of Thy unwearied, unconquerable love!

3. O my God, suffer me still—bear with me in spite of my waywardness, perverseness, and ingratitude! I improve very slowly, but really I am moving on to heaven, or at least I wish to move. I am putting Thee before me, vile sinner as I am, and I am really thinking in earnest of saving my soul. Give me time to collect my thoughts, and make one good effort. I protest I will put off this languor and lukewarmness—I will shake myself from this sullenness and despondency and gloom—I will rouse myself, and be cheerful, and walk in Thy light. I will have no hope or joy but Thee. Only give me Thy grace—meet me with Thy grace, I will through Thy grace do what I can—and Thou shalt perfect it for me. Then I shall have happy days in Thy presence, and in the sight and adoration of Thy five Sacred Wounds. " - Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., Meditations and Devotions
The Feast of St. Leocrita of Cordova, Martyr
is today. There is information on her here. As she was a convert to Christ's Church who was martyred for leaving Islam, asking her intercession for all those Christians who are being oppressed in Islamic countries would be most appropriate.
It is also the feast of Blessed John Amias, Priest and Martyr, Blessed Robert Dalby, Priest and Martyr, and Blessed William Hart, Priest and Martyr.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Prayers requested...
for my mother's friend Jeanne, who is in the hospital .
Also, the Oratory's pilgrims have come back from Rome safe and sound. Thank you to all those who prayed for them !
I'm probably one of the last ones to post this....
but Ever New has established a St. Blog's Parish Hall.

On March 15, 1879...
A letter was sent from the Vatican to the Birmingham Oratory...
Official Offer of the Cardinalate.
Cardinal Nina to Fr. Newman.

The Holy Father deeply appreciating the genius and learning which distinguish you, your piety, the zeal displayed by you in the exercise of the Holy Ministry, your devotion and filial attachment to the Holy Apostolic See, and the signal services you have for long years rendered to religion, has decided on giving you a public and solemn proof of his esteem and good-will. And to this end he will deign to raise you to the honours of the Sacred Purple, in the next Consistory, the precise day of which will be notified to you in due time.

In forwarding you this joyful announcement by its fitting and prescribed channel, I cannot refrain from congratulating your Paternity on seeing your merits rewarded in so splendid a manner by the august Head of the Church, and I rejoice in heart that I shall very soon have you as a colleague in the Sacred Senate, of which you will not fail to be one of the chief ornaments.

Accept, I entreat you, this expression of my regard, and at the same time the assurance of the particular esteem with which I sign myself,
Of your Very Rev. Paternity,
The true servant,

This elicited the following response:
Were I to delay my answer to the very generous communication your Eminence deigned to make to me on the part of his Holiness, until I could write what seems to be befitting and adequate to express all the feeling of my heart, I fear that I should never write at all. For the longer I think of it, the more generous and gracious the condescension of the Holy Father seems to me, and the more deeply I feel that I am altogether unworthy of it.

I am overpowered, first of all, by the weight of the high dignity to which the Holy Father condescends to raise me, and still more by the words he has used to announce to me his intention, words breathing a goodness so fatherly, and implying an approval the more touching and precious that it is the Vicar of Christ who awards it.

I venture to hope that the Holy Father will allow me, as soon as the weather becomes milder, and the journey less toilsome, to present myself before his sacred person, that I may try to tell him how deeply I feel his immense goodness, and may receive his apostolic blessing.

I cannot close this letter, my Lord Cardinal, without begging you to accept the homage of my profound respect and my deep-felt gratitude for the kind courtesy with which you have condescended to discharge the commission of his Holiness.

I have the honour to kiss the Sacred Purple and to be
Your Eminence's most humble and devoted servant,

Blunt quote from the Venerable
over at Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor
In the mood ....
to take a silly quiz....
My #1 result for the selector, What Civil War General are you like?, is Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas (Union): "The Rock of Chickamauga", he saved the Union army with a brilliant last stand at Chickamauga.

Link courtesy of Flos Carmeli

Even some non-Catholics...
are starting to see it....
Save Marriage? It's Too Late. The Pill made same-sex nuptials inevitable.
(Link courtesy of Domenico Bettinelli)

Pope Paul VI, thou wert a prophet.
" Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. ( My emphasis. ) Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. " - Humanae Vitae
Ai !
I can't believe that somebody thinks that this is a good idea. I like musical theater, and my Tolkien-fascination is obvious, but they do not go together !
Link courtesy of Tolkien Online.
The Feast of St. Louise de Marillac, V.S.C, Widow and Foundress
is today. There is information on her here.
It is also the feast of St. Clement Mary Hofbauer, C.S.S.R. and St. Longinus
To any Vincentians or Redemptorists out there, happy feast day !

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Now, this is beautiful....
"The Passion," as Seen by a Woman Religious

Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz on 3 Key Moments

A woman religious offers her view on key parts of the film "The Passion of the Christ."

* * *

Three Moments of "The Passion of the Christ"

By Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP
Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist

"Viewing 'The Passion of the Christ' affects each person in an individual manner. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the film's portrayal of the last 12 hours of Christ's life on earth, the majority of this depiction of these most sacred hours is rooted in the various Evangelists' accounts found in Scripture.

As a woman religious, I viewed 'The Passion' through the eyes of my own feminine nature and the spousal vigilance proper to one whose freely made avowal of the evangelical counsels identifies me as 'sponsa Christi.' Through such eyes, I have chosen three scenes which have become as the heartbeat of my reflections.

From the opening scenes, I realized that I could not identify with Christ as such. That identification would be more fitting for a priest, who, as 'alter Christus,' finds his likeness in the God-Man, Jesus Christ.

For me, Jim Caviezel's portrayal of Christ elicited tears wrung from the heart which, I soon understood, was beating as one with Mother Mary's and with all the women portrayed in the film: Mary Magdalene, Veronica, Claudia, the weeping women.

1st: 'All Things New'

I watched Christ, I walked with him, I desired to wipe the dirt (which as a woman so bothered me) plastered with ever increasing thickness upon his holy face.

My admiration of Christ's Mother grew as, deep within my own being, I reacted to the bloodthirsty crowds which swirled in mad frenzy throughout the film in their physical and mental brutality toward Christ.

I felt my own body lean toward the screen and had to hold myself back to prevent the release my heart sought. I wanted to shout Simon's later words: 'Stop! Haven't you done enough? Stop!'

But she, the Mother, did not; neither did he, the Son and innocent victim. Rather, when the Mother, following the manly logic of John's directions, was able to approach her Son, she tenderly said, "I am here!" And he responded by gifting her (and us) with the secret of obtaining the strength necessary for propitious redemptive suffering: 'See, Mother, I make all things new' (Revelation 21:5).

St. Louis de Montfort must have rejoiced anew in heaven at this poignant scene culled from the spiritual reflection of Mel Gibson. Can we not summarize the Marian entrustment which John Paul II's coat of arms has displayed to the world for a quarter of a century now as the simple suggestion, 'Through the Mother to the Son'?

Perhaps the greatest moment of a mother's love is known when her resolute strength emboldens her children for a suffering the world cannot understand but one rooted, by the redemptive value it offers, in the opened heart of the Christ.

2nd: His Presence

A personal spousal moment for me was epitomized when the Mother was wildly running through the streets in search of her bound and already brutally beaten Son.

Upon crossing over the ground which hid his physical presence from her eyes, as he was held in the dungeon below on that fateful night, she instantly knew his presence; and, bending down, she touched her cheek, her heart, to the ground.

Jesus, too, knew his Mother's closeness and, as the cameras fell below the dust to the hollowed and dirty tabernacle below, the viewer is able to catch Jesus reaching out his hand in an invisible embrace with the woman he loves. The One whom 'the rocks like wax melt before his glance' (Judith 16:15) was separated from his Mother, but they still knew a oneness beyond the things of this world.

Similarly, as 'sponsa Christi,' I am not gifted with the marvelous sensible affects a bride comes to know in her husband. Therefore, the interior communication is heightened, and through this I know Christ's presence with me: each morning in Eucharistic adoration with my community, in each holy Communion, and by reaching out to each person my Spouse sends me.

Through my embrace of all people, regardless of their individual strengths and weaknesses, I know the touch of my Spouse and that touch spiritually fructifies our union as I, with him, behold all humanity as my spiritual children.

3rd: The Pietà, and priests

The third moment which I wish to point out is that immortalized by Michelangelo's famed Pietà. The Son lies in the lap of the Mother once again. Though the Man of Sorrows is now dead, I cannot view this scene as anything but Hope Personified.

As a woman and as a religious sister, this scene calls me to carry, support and love each individual priest whom the Almighty Father places within the radius of my heart's care; ultimately, all priests.

As the wife is made, by holy marriage, the helpmate of her husband, I, a religious sister, become, by virtue of my vocation, the helpmate par excellence of each priest.

When the priest is young, healthy and dynamic, my love is there to prayerfully support him, as Mary supported her Son, oftentimes from what might appear to others as afar.

When the priest must carry his cross for the salvation of the world, I wish to accompany him in my role as co-martyr for the fecundity of the children of God.

And when he appears broken, spent, given, I wish that it be my heart -- through my prayers, sacrifices and support -- upon which he might find peaceful rest. Without him, I have no Eucharistic Spouse; with him, the Church is given Christ until the end of time.

In his role at daily Mass, the priest shows me, again, what it means to be Mary: at the birth in Bethlehem, during her Son's public life of preaching and healing, in the silence of unitive prayer, and, finally, in receiving his Body when Calvary is completed.

With 'alter Christus,' the religious woman as bride awaits the promised resurrection even as she hears a familiar voice within assuring her: Mother, behold I make all things new.'

Would I advise everyone to experience this movie, even those who have no Christian background? My answer is 'yes' without hesitation.

All persons are made in the likeness of God and thus are 'imago Dei.' The Angelic (Dominican) Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, assures us: 'The light of your face, Lord, is signed upon us' ("Summa Theologiae," I-II, q. 91, a.2). The Apostle John gives us a one-word name for God: 'Love."

We were made by Love; for Love; and to receive and give this Love who is God.

I submit this movie has the power to resonate in all hearts because it is the greatest Love story. With faith, one can only fall back in adoration ... knowing here is a Man who loves me. "

Article courtesy of Zenit

I have discovered yet another blogger
who is devoted to St. Philip Neri.
Also, there's a post over at Blogs4God that includes the full text of Venerable Newman's "The Pillar of the Cloud", also known by its first line, "Lead, Kindly Light". (Actually, the fourth verse she gives is not the Venerable's-the poster apparently got it from a site on hymns. It was added by the Rev.Edward Henry Bickersteth, Jr., an Anglican clergyman who wrote a good many hymns himself.)

A comment from Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
in which the subject of today's First Reading is mentioned:
"God spoke to Moses in the burning bush, and called Himself the 'God of Abraham;' and Christ tells us, that in this simple announcement was contained the promise that Abraham should rise again from the dead. In truth, if we may say it with reverence, the All-wise, All-knowing God cannot speak without meaning many things at once. He sees the end from the beginning; He understands the numberless connexions and relations of all things one with another. Every word of His is full of instruction, looking many ways; and though it is not often given to us to know these various senses, and we are not at liberty to attempt lightly to imagine them, yet, as far as they are told us, and as far as we may reasonably infer them, we must thankfully accept them. Look at Christ's words, and this same character of them will strike you; whatever He says is fruitful in meaning, and refers to many things. It is well to keep this in mind when we read Scripture; for it may hinder us from self-conceit, from studying it in an arrogant critical temper, and from giving over reading it, as if we had got from it all that can be learned."- Parochial and Plain Sermons