Saturday, May 22, 2004

Four days ....
until St. Philip's Day !
Philip's Cheerfulness
by Venerable John Henry Newman,C.O.

"Philip welcomed those who consulted him with singular benignity, and received them, though strangers, with as much affection as if he had been a long time expecting them. When he was called upon to be merry, he was merry; when he was called upon to feel sympathy with the distressed, he was equally ready.

Sometimes he left his prayers and went down to sport and banter with young men, and by this sweetness and condescension and playful conversation gained their souls.

He could not bear anyone to be downcast or pensive, because spirituality is always injured by it; but when he saw anyone grave and gloomy, he used to say, 'Be merry.' He had a particular and marked leaning to cheerful persons.

At the same time he was a great enemy to anything like rudeness or foolery; for a buffooning spirit not only does not advance in religion, but roots out even what is already there.

One day he restored cheerfulness to Father Francesco Bernardi, of the Congregation, by simply asking him to run with him, saying, 'Come now, let us have a run together.'

His penitents felt that joy at being in his room that they used to say, Philip's room is not a room, but an earthly Paradise.

To others, to merely stand at the door of his room, without going in, was a release from all their troubles. Others recovered their lost peace of mind by simply looking Philip in the face. To dream of him was enough to comfort many. In a word, Philip was a perpetual refreshment to all those who were in perplexity and sadness.

No one ever saw Philip melancholy; those who went to him always found him with a cheerful and smiling countenance, yet mixed with gravity.

When he was ill he did not so much receive as impart consolation. He was never heard to change his voice, as invalids generally do, but spoke in the same sonorous tone as when he was well. Once, when the physicians had given him over, he said, with the Psalmist, 'Paratus sum et non sum turbatus' ('I am ready, and am not troubled'). He received Extreme Unction four times, but with the same calm and joyous countenance.

Philip, my glorious Advocate, who didst ever follow the precepts and example of the Apostle St. Paul in rejoicing always in all things, gain for me the grace of perfect resignation to God's will, of indifference to matters of this world, and a constant sight of Heaven; so that I may never be disappointed at the Divine providences, never desponding, never sad, never fretful; that my countenance may always be open and cheerful, and my words kind and pleasant, as becomes those who, in whatever state of life they are, have the greatest of all goods, the favour of God and the prospect of eternal bliss."

Bill White....
has a public service announcement.
Ai !
Idiots are ripping off the Professor !

Links courtesy of Mixolydian Mode.

The Feast of St. Rita of Cascia,O.S.A. Widow
is today. There is information on her here. I posted a personal story involving her intercession last year. To any Augustinians out there, happy feast day !

It is also the feast of Blessed John Forest,O.F.M.Conv., Priest and Martyr. The people who killed him apparently had a sick sense of humor.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Five days
until St. Philip's Day !

Philip's Tenderness of Heart
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"Philip could not endure the very sight of suffering; and though he abhorred riches, he always wished to have money to give in alms.

He could not bear to see children scantily clothed, and did all he could to get new clothes for them.

Oppressed and suffering innocence troubled him especially; when a Roman gentleman was falsely accused of having been the death of a man, and was imprisoned, he went so far as to put his cause before the Pope, and obtained his liberation.

A priest was accused by some powerful persons, and was likely to suffer in consequence. Philip took up his cause with such warmth that he established his innocence before the public.

Another time, hearing of some gipsies who had been unjustly condemned to hard labour, he went to the Pope, and procured their freedom. His love of justice was as great as his tenderness and compassion.

Soon after he became a Priest there was a severe famine in Rome, and six loaves were sent to him as a present. Knowing that there was in the same house a poor foreigner suffering from want of food, he gave them all to him, and had for the first day nothing but olives to eat.

Philip had a special tenderness towards artisans, and those who had a difficulty of selling their goods. There were two watchmakers, skilful artists, but old and burdened with large families. He gave them a large order for watches, and contrived to sell them among his friends.

His zeal and liberality specially shone forth towards poor girls. He provided for them when they had no other means of provision. He found marriage dowries for some of them; to others he gave what was sufficient to gain their admittance into convents.

He was particularly good to prisoners, to whom he sent money several times in the week.

He set no limits to his affection for the shrinking and bashful poor, and was more liberal in his alms towards them.

Poor students were another object of his special compassion; he provided them not only with food and clothing, but also with books for their studies. To aid one of them he sold all his own books.

He felt most keenly any kindness done to him, so that one of his friends said: 'You could not make Philip a present without receiving another from him of double value.'

He was very tender towards brute animals. Seeing someone put his foot on a lizard, he cried out, 'Cruel fellow! what has that poor animal done to you?'

Seeing a butcher wound a dog with one of his knives, he could not contain himself, and had great difficulty in keeping himself cool.

He could not bear the slightest cruelty to be shown to brute animals under any pretext whatever. If a bird came into the room, he would have the window opened that it might not be caught.

Philip, my glorious Advocate, teach me to look at all I see around me after thy pattern as the creatures of God. Let me never forget that the same God who made me made the whole world, and all men and all animals that are in it. Gain me the grace to love all God's works for God's sake, and all men for the sake of my Lord and Saviour who has redeemed them by the Cross. And especially let me be tender and compassionate and loving towards all Christians, as my brethren in grace. And do thou, who on earth was so tender to all, be especially tender to us, and feel for us, bear with us in all our troubles, and gain for us from God, with whom thou dwellest in beatific light, all the aids necessary for bringing us safely to Him and to thee."

Oh, joy....

A Blogger bug ate my template. Now I have to set up my links to blogs and to important posts all over again....grrr....
The Feast of St. Christopher Magallanes, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs
is today. There is information on them here.
It is also the feast of St. Eugene de Mazenod,O.M.I., Priest and Founder. To all the Oblates of Mary Immaculate out there, happy feast day !
The feasts of St. Godric of Finchale, Hermit and St. Hospitius, Hermit are today as well.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Six days...
until St. Philip's Day !

Philip's Purity
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"Philip well knowing the pleasure which God takes in cleanness of heart, had no sooner come to years of discretion, and to the power of distinguishing between good and evil, than he set himself to wage war against the evils and suggestions of his enemy, and never rested till he had gained the victory. Thus, notwithstanding he lived in the world when young, and met with all kinds of persons, he preserved his virginity spotless in those dangerous years of his life.

No word was ever heard from his lips which would offend the most severe modesty, and in his dress, his carriage, and countenance, he manifested the same beautiful virtue.

One day, while he was yet a layman, some profligate persons impudently tempted him to commit sin. When he saw that flight was impossible, he began to speak to them of the hideousness of sin and the awful presence of God. This he did with such manifest distress, such earnestness, and such fervour,that his words pierced their abandoned hearts as a sword, and not only persuaded them to give up their horrible thought, but even reclaimed them from their evil ways.

At another time some bad men, who are accustomed to think no one better than themselves, invited him on some pretext into their house, under the belief that he was not what the world took him to be; and then, having got possession of him, thrust him into a great temptation. Philip, in this strait, finding the doors locked, knelt down and began to pray to God with such astonishing fervour and heartfelt heavenly eloquence, that the two poor wretches who were in the room did not dare to speak to him, and at last themselves left him and gave him a way to escape.

His virginal purity shone out of his countenance. His eyes were so clear and bright, even to the last years of his life, that no painter ever succeeded in giving the expression of them, and it was not easy for anyone to keep looking on him for any length of time, for he dazzled them like an Angel of Paradise.

Moreover, his body, even in his old age, emitted a fragrance which, even in his decrepit old age, refreshed those who came near him; and many said that they felt devotion infused into them by the mere smell of his hands.

As to the opposite vice. The ill odour of it was not to the Saint a mere figure of speech, but a reality, so that he could detect those whose souls were blackened by it; and he used to say that it was so horrible that nothing in the world could equal it, nothing, in short, but the Evil Spirit himself. Before his penitents began their confession he sometimes said, 'O my son, I know your sins already.'

Many confessed that they were at once delivered from temptations by his merely laying his hands on their heads. The very mention of his name had a power of shielding from Satan those who were assailed by his fiery darts.

He exhorted men never to trust themselves, whatever experience they might have of themselves, or however long their habits of virtue.

He used to say that humility was the true guard of chastity; and that not to have pity for another in such cases was a forerunner of a speedy fall in ourselves; and that when he found a man censorious, and secure of himself, and without fear, he gave him up for lost.

Philip, my glorious Patron, who didst ever keep unsullied the white lily of thy purity, with such jealous care that the majesty of this fair virtue beamed from thine eyes, shone in thy hands, and was fragrant in thy breath, obtain for me that gift from the Holy Ghost, that neither the words nor the example of sinners may ever make any impression on my soul. And, since it is by avoiding occasions of sin, by prayer, by keeping myself employed, and by the frequent use of the Sacraments that my dread enemy must be subdued, gain for me the grace to persevere in these necessary observances."
New Blogger weirdness...
I've been trying to fix something on my template. When I hit "Save Template Changes", my template comes up empty. Any ideas ?
The May First Things
is online.

Among other excellent articles, there's this relatively short one by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.
"David Horowitz is pressing a proposal that has thrown many academics into a tizzy. He wants universities to adopt an Academic Bill of Rights that will assure, amidst a multitude of other diversities, 'intellectual diversity.' Everybody in the academy is fervently devoted to diversity, until you put 'intellectual' in front of the word. The eminent and self-described sophist Stanley Fish does not like the Horowitz proposal one little bit. It is, he says, a 'Trojan horse of a dark design' to infiltrate conservatives into positions of academic influence. On campuses, says Fish, the culture wars are being won by those who promote women’s studies, Latino studies, African-American studies, postmodern studies, gay-lesbian-transgender studies, and the like. But their critics have won the war of public opinion, convincing Americans that 'our colleges and universities are hotbeds (what is a "hotbed" anyway?) of radicalism and pedagogical irresponsibility where dollars are wasted, nonsense is propagated, students are indoctrinated, religion is disrespected, and patriotism is scorned.' Horowitz’s Academic Bill of Rights, Fish declares, would inaugurate the oppressive rule of ideological 'balance' when the only purpose of a university is 'to seek the truth.' It is hard to know what to make of Fish’s protest. In other writings, he is scornfully dismissive of the idea that there is such a thing as 'the truth.' Maybe it is just that Fish likes the academy’s domination by insouciant nihilisms and doesn’t want to see that challenged. Of course Horowitz is a conservative and would like to see more people in the academy challenging the likes of Fish. His proposal is a very odd Trojan horse, however, since no secret is made of its intent. Stanley Fish, sophist that he is, is never happier than when people say it is hard to know what to make of what he says. As for the meaning of 'hotbed,' I trust that Professor Fish is not above resorting to a dictionary where it is defined as 'a bed of soil heated by fermenting manure.' "
The depth of human stupidity...
can be downright breathtaking.
What is this woman thinking ? We've all heard that 'love is blind' but in this case that would be an insult to those with impaired vision....

Link courtesy of Fr. Sibley.

Please pray...
for this poor innocent.

Link courtesy of Midwest Conservative Journal.

The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
is today.There is information on it here. (And BTW, my diocese still celebrates it on the proper day !)
Ascendit in Caelum
He ascended into Heaven

"1. My Lord is gone up into heaven. I adore Thee, Son of Mary, Jesu Emmanuel, my God and my Saviour. I am allowed to adore Thee, my Saviour and my own Brother, for Thou art God. I follow Thee in my thoughts, O Thou First fruits of our race, as I hope one day by Thy grace to follow Thee in my person. To go to heaven is to go to God. God is there and God alone: for perfect bliss is there and nothing else, and none can be blessed who is not bathed and hidden and absorbed in the glory of the Divine Nature. All holy creatures are but the vestment of the Highest, which He has put on for ever, and which is bright with His uncreated light. There are many things on earth, and each isits own centre, but one Name alone is named above. It is God alone. This is that true supernatural life; and if I would live a supernatural life on earth, and attain to the supernatural eternal life which is in heaven, I have one thing to do, viz. to live on the thought of God here. Teach me this, O God; give me Thy supernatural grace to practise it; to have my reason, affections, intentions, aims, all penetrated and possessed by the love of Thee, plunged and drowned in the one Vision of Thee.

2. There is but one Name and one Thought above: there are many thoughts below. This is the earthly life, which leads to death, viz. to follow the numberless objects and aims and toils and amusements which men pursue on earth. Even the good that is here below does not lead to heaven; it is spoilt in the handselling; it perishes in the using; it has no stay, no integrity, no consistency. It runs off into evil before it has well ceased, before it has well begun to be good. It is at best vanity, when it is nothing worse. It has in it commonly the seeds of real sin. My God, I acknowledge all this. My Lord Jesu, I confess and know that Thou only art the True, the Beautiful, and the Good. Thou alone canst make me bright and glorious, and canst lead me up after Thee. Thou art the way, the truth, and the life, and none but Thou. Earth will never lead me to heaven. Thou alone art the Way; Thou alone.

3. My God, shall I for one moment doubt where my path lies? Shall I not at once take Thee for my portion? To whom should I go? Thou hast the words of Eternal Life. Thou camest down for the very purpose of doing that which no one here below could do for me. None but He who is in heaven can bring me to heaven. What strength have I to scale the high mountain? Though I served the world ever so well, though I did my duty in it (as men speak), what could the world do for me, however hard it tried? Though I filled my station well, did good to my fellows, had a fair name or a wide reputation, though I did great deeds and was celebrated, though I had the praise of history, how would all this bring me to heaven? I choose Thee then for my One Portion, because Thou livest and diest not. I cast away all idols. I give myself to Thee. I pray Thee to teach me, guide me, enable me, and receive me to Thee."- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., Meditations and Devotions

If it were not a Solemnity, today would be the feast of St. Bernadine of Siena, O.F.M., Priest. While this biography doesn't mention it, I'm rather fond of an incident that occurred when this saint was a young layman. A man made the mistake of attempting to seduce him to commit an unnatural act. The saint's response was to deck him. (Of course, now he would undoubtedly end up in jail for that. "Hate crime", you know...)

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The Granola Conservative
posts a letter from one of the Fathers of the London Oratory to a certain notorious profiligate. Since said profiligate chickened out on their next meeting, it seems that Father had hit a little too close to the bone. Many years later, he came into the Church on his deathbed, but how much better it would have been for him if he had listened earlier !
One week...
until St. Philip's Day ! And the Novena continues...
Philip's Exercise of Prayer
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"From very boyhood the servant of God gave himself up to prayer, until he acquired such a habit of it, that, wherever he was, his mind was always lifted up to heavenly things.

Sometimes he forgot to eat; sometimes, when he was dressing, he left off, being carried away in his thought to heaven, with his eyes open, yet abstracted from all things around him.

It was easier for Philip to think upon God, than for men of the world to think of the world.

If anyone entered his room suddenly, he would most probably find him so rapt in prayer, that, when spoken to, he did not give the right answer, and had to take a turn or two up and down the room before he fully came to himself.

If he gave way to his habit of prayer in the most trifling degree, he immediately became lost in contemplation.

It was necessary to distract him lest this continual stretch of mind should be prejudicial to his health.

Before transacting business, however trivial, he always prayed; when asked a question, he never answered till he had recollected himself.

He began praying when he went to bed, and as soon as he awoke, and he did not usually sleep more than four, or at the most five hours.

Sometimes, if anyone showed that he had observed that Philip went to bed late or rose early in order to pray, he would answer, 'Paradise is not made for sluggards.'

He was more than ordinarily intent on prayer at the more solemn feasts, or at a time of urgent spiritual necessities; above all, in Holy Week.

Those who could not make long meditations he advised to lift up their minds repeatedly to God in ejaculatory prayers, as 'Jesus, increase my faith,' 'Jesus, grant that I may never offend Thee.'

Philip introduced family prayer into many of the principal houses of Rome.

When one of his penitents asked him to teach him how to pray, he answered, 'Be humble and obedient, and the Holy Ghost will teach you.'

He had a special devotion for the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, and daily poured out before Him most fervent prayers for gifts and graces.

Once, when he was passing the night in prayer in the Catacombs, that great miracle took place of the Divine presence of the Holy Ghost descending upon him under the appearance of a ball of fire, entering into his mouth and lodging in his breast, from which time he had a supernatural palpitation of the heart.

He used to say that when our prayers are in the way of being granted, we must not leave off, but pray as fervently as before.

He especially recommended beginners to meditate on the four last things, and used to say that he who does not in his thoughts and fears go down to hell in his lifetime, runs a great risk of going there when he dies.

When he wished to show the necessity of prayer, he said that a man without prayer was an animal without reason.

Many of his disciples improved greatly in this exercise—not religious only, but secular persons, artisans, merchants, physicians, lawyers, and courtiers—and became such men of prayer as to receive extraordinary favours from God.

Philip, my holy Patron, teach me by thy example, and gain for me by thy intercessions, to seek my Lord and God at all times and in all places, and to live in His presence and in sacred intercourse with Him. As the children of this world look up to rich men or men in station for the favour which they desire, so may I ever lift up my eyes and hands and heart towards heaven, and betake myself to the Source of all good for those goods which I need. As the children of this world converse with their friends and find their pleasure in them, so may I ever hold communion with Saints and Angels, and with the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of my Lord. Pray with me, O Philip, as thou didst pray with thy penitents here below, and then prayer will become sweet to me, as it did to them."

Another prayer request...
For Mr. and Mrs. John Gibson, after the loss of their little one.
Check out this blog...
with its great St. Philip material in preparation for the feast ! (Thanks, Hilary ! )
Please pray...
for our oppressed brothers and sisters in China.

Link courtesy of Eve Tushnet.

Oh, please !
Hollywood is getting reading to do a version of a classic Catholic novel which bleaches out all of the faith in it and replaces it with God-bashing.

Link courtesy of Irish Elk.

The Feast of Pope St. Celestine V
is today. There is information on him here. It is also the feast of St. Crispin of Viterbo, O.F.M. Cap., , St. Dunstan, Bishop, St. Joaquina Vedruna de Mas, Foundress, and Blessed Peter Wright, S.J., Priest and Martyr.. Finally, it is the feast of St. Ivo of Kermartin, Priest. To all the canon lawyers out there, including Pete Vere, happy feast day !

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

On May 18, 1851
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:
On the World Hating the Catholic Church

"1. INTROD. In the discourse of which the gospel is part, our Lord speaks of the world hating us.

2. This remarkable, viz. that we should be hated. That the Catholic faith is difficult and a stumbling-block is intelligible—but hateful! Difficult to realise, for we are drawn to all, and cannot believe they hate us.

3. Consider its beauty—acknowledged by intellectual men—of its services; of its rites; of its majesty; doctrine of our lady, etc., etc. Its connection with art, etc., etc. Paley on Romans xii., in Evidences.

4. Yet so our Lord has said—quote John xv. 18-19 ,John xvii. 14 , and 1 John iii. 1 . 'Wonder not if the world hate you.'

5. And what is remarkable further, it is a prophecy. It has been fulfilled and is fulfilled to this day; it is literal honest hate. The world is not merely deceived; it has an instinct, and hates.

6. But more than this, or again, it is a note of the Church in every age; in the Middle Ages, when religion was established as much as now.

7. And none but the Church thus hated. So that our Lord's prophecy falls on us, and connects us with the apostles.

8. Others, indeed, by an accident and for a time.

9. For sects have (1) something true and good in them; (2) are extravagant; and these two things make them persecuted.

10. But it is for a time. The truth goes off, and the extravagance—they tame down; thus the Methodists and the Quakers.

11. But Catholics, nothing of this—sober—by token men of the world get on with us.

12. Yet the suspicion, irritability, impatience, etc., etc.-Demoniacs, and it is the devil's work.

13. This must not make us misanthropic, but cast us on the unseen world and purify our motives. This one benefit of the present agitation. "

The "present agitation" was the so-called Papal Aggression" You see, Pope Pius IX had actually dared to re-establish a hierarchy of Catholic Bishops in England, and this brought the 'anti-Papist' bigots out in full force- demonstrations, public burnings-in-effigy of the Pope and the new Bishops, vicious insults in the press and public places (an Anglican clergyman stated from the pulpit that hearing confessions ought to be made a capital crime), attacks on Catholic churches and other buildings (someone tried to set fire to the London Oratory by putting firecrackers on its roof) and abuse hurled at any Catholic recognized as such- but particularly priests and religious. The Venerable responded to the uproar with Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England. Here is a sample:
"What a remarkable illustration have Protestants supplied to this doctrine of a Protestant divine since Michaelmas last! The special champions of toleration, the jealous foes of persecution, how studiously and conscientiously, during nine long months, have they practised what they preached! What a bright example have they set to that religious communion which they hold in such abhorrence on the ground of its persecuting spirit! Oh, the one-sided intellect of Protestantism! I appeal in evidence of it to a great banquet, where, amid great applause, the first judge of the land spoke of trampling Cardinal Wiseman's hat under his feet. I appeal to the last fifth of November, when jeers against the Blessed Sacrament and its rites were chalked up in the Metropolis with impunity, under the very shadow of the Court, and before the eyes of the Home Office and the Police. I appeal to the mock processions to ridicule, and bonfires to burn, what we hold most venerable and sacred, not only Pope, and Cardinal and Priest, but the very Mother of our Lord, and the Crucifix itself. I appeal to those ever-growing files of newspapers, whose daily task, in the tedious succession of months has been to cater for the gross palate of their readers all varieties of disgusting gossip, and of bitter reproach, and of extravagant slander, and of affronting, taunting, sneering, irritating invective against us. I appeal to the buckram nuns of Warwickshire, Nottingham, and Clapham, to the dungeons of Edgbaston, and the sin-table of St. Gudule's. I appeal to the outrageous language perpetrated in a place I must not name, where one speaker went the length of saying, what the reporters suppressed for fear of consequences, that a dear friend and brother of mine, for whose purity and honour I would die, mentioning him by name, went about the country, as the words came to the ears of those present, seducing young women. I appeal to the weekly caricatures, not of persons only and their doings, but of all that is held sacred in our doctrines and observances, of our rites and ceremonies, our saints and our relics, our sacred vestments and our rosaries. I appeal to the popular publication, which witty and amusing in its place, thought it well to leave its 'sweetness' and its 'fatness,' to change make-believe for earnest, to become solemn and sour in its jests, and awkwardly to try its hand at divinity, because Catholics were the game. I appeal to the cowardly issue of a cowardly agitation, to the blows dealt in the streets of this very town upon the persons of the innocent, the tender, and the helpless;—not to any insult or affliction which has come upon ourselves, for it is our portion, and we have no thought of complaining,—but to the ladies and the schoolgirls, who, at various times, up to the day I am recording it, because they are Catholics, have been the victims of these newspaper sarcasms, and these platform blasphemies. I appeal to the stones striking sharply upon the one, and the teeth knocked out of the mouths of the other. Dr. Whately's words have been almost prophetic; mockery and insult have literally terminated in the bodily injury of those non-belligerents, who are sacred by the laws of all civilised warfare. Such are some of the phenomena of a Religion which makes it its special boast to be the Prophet of Toleration."

Eight days
until St. Philip's Day !
Philip's Devotion
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"The inward flame of devotion in Philip was so intense that he sometimes fainted in consequence of it, or was forced to throw himself upon his bed, under the sickness of divine love.

When he was young he sometimes felt this divine fervour so vehemently as to be unable to contain himself, throwing himself as if in agony on the ground and crying out, 'No more, Lord, no more.'

What St. Paul says of himself seemed to be fulfilled in Philip: 'I am filled with consolation-I over-abound with joy.'

Yet, though he enjoyed sweetnesses, he used to say that he wished to serve God, not out of interest—that is, because there was pleasure in it—but out of pure love, even though he felt no gratification in loving Him.

When he was a layman, he communicated every morning. When he was old, he had frequent ecstacies during his Mass.

Hence it is customary in pictures of Philip to paint him in red vestments, to record his ardent desire to shed his blood for the love of Christ.

He was so devoted to his Lord and Saviour that he was always pronouncing the name of Jesus with unspeakable sweetness. He had also an extraordinary pleasure in saying the Creed, and he was so fond of the 'Our Father' that he lingered on each petition in such a way that it seemed as if he never would get through them.

He had such a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament that, when he was ill, he could not sleep till he had communicated.

When he was reading or meditating on the Passion he was seen to turn as pale as ashes, and his eyes filled with tears.

Once when he was ill, they brought him something to drink. He took the glass in his hand, and when he was putting it to his mouth stopped, and began to weep most bitterly. He cried out, 'Thou, my Christ, Thou upon the Cross wast thirsty, and they gave Thee nothing but gall and vinegar to drink; and I am in bed, with so many comforts around me, and so many persons to attend to me.'

Yet Philip did not make much account of this warmth and acuteness of feeling; for he said that Emotion was not Devotion, that tears were no sign that a man was in the grace of God, neither must we suppose a man holy merely because he weeps when he speaks of religion.

Philip was so devoted to the Blessed Virgin that he had her name continually in his mouth. He had two ejaculations in her honour. One, 'Virgin Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me.' The other, simply 'Virgin Mother,' for he said that in those two words all possible praises of Mary are contained.

He had also a singular devotion to St. Mary Magdalen, on whose vigil he was born, and for the Apostles St. James and St. Philip; also for St. Paul the Apostle, and for St. Thomas of Aquinum, Doctor of the Church.

Philip, my glorious Patron, gain for me a portion of that gift which thou hadst so abundantly. Alas! thy heart was burning with love; mine is all frozen towards God, and alive only for creatures. I love the world, which can never make me happy; my highest desire is to be well off here below. O my God, when shall I learn to love nothing else but Thee? Gain for me, O Philip, a pure love, a strong love, and an efficacious love, that, loving God here upon earth, I may enjoy the sight of Him, together with thee and all saints, hereafter in heaven."

It is the ninth day
of the Birthday Novena for the Holy Father.
Happy birthday, Pope John Paul II ! Sto lat !

Did anyone else notice...
the questions about the Professor and his works on Jeopardy last night ? I was happy to see that, though the questions were incredibly easy. (And, of course, LOTR is not a 'trilogy', but one book split artificially into three volumes... )

Link courtesy of

Ok, I've got a tech problem...
When I try to update my template, it comes up as null. Any idea what is going on ?
The Feast of St. Felix of Cantalice, O.F.M. Cap.
is today. There is information on him here. As is noted, he was a friend of St. Philip Neri
It is also the feast of Pope St. John I, Martyr.

Monday, May 17, 2004

OK, two questions...
1. First off, how do I get my comments links to show when a comment is there ?
2. When I try to change my template, the template goes void ! Help !
Nine days....
until St. Philip's Day !
I herewith begin the St. Philip Neri Novena:
Philip's Humility
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"If Philip heard of anyone having committed a crime, he would say, 'Thank God that I have not done worse.'

At confession he would shed abundance of tears, and say, 'I have never done a good action.'

When a penitent showed that she could not bear the rudeness shown towards him by certain persons who were under great obligations to him, he answered her, 'If I were humble, God would not send this to me.'

When one of his spiritual children said to him, 'Father, I wish to have something of yours for devotion, for I know you are a Saint,' he turned to her with a face full of anger, and broke out into these words: 'Begone with you! I am a devil, and not a saint.'

To another who said to him, 'Father, a temptation has come to me to think that you are not what the world takes you for,' he made answer: 'Be sure of this, that I am a man like my neighbours, and nothing more.'

If he heard of any who had a good opinion of him, he used to say, 'O poor me! how many poor girls will be greater in Paradise than I shall be!'

He avoided all marks of honour. He could not bear to receive any signs of respect. When people wished to touch his clothes, and knelt as he passed by, he used to say, 'Get up! get out of my way!' He did not like people to kiss his hand; though he sometimes let them do so, lest he should hurt their feelings.

He was an enemy to all rivalry and contention. He always took in good part everything that was said to him. He had a particular dislike of affectation, whether in speaking, or in dressing, or in anything else.

He could not bear two-faced persons; as for liars, he could not endure them, and was continually reminding his spiritual children to avoid them as they would a pestilence.

He always asked advice, even on affairs of minor importance. His constant counsel to his penitents was, that they should not trust in themselves, but always take the advice of others, and get as many prayers as they could.

He took great pleasure in being lightly esteemed, nay, even despised.

He had a most pleasant manner of transacting business with others, great sweetness in conversation, and was full of compassion and consideration.

He had always a dislike to speak of himself. The phrases 'I said,' 'I did,' were rarely in his mouth. He exhorted others never to make a display of themselves, especially in those things which tended to their credit, whether in earnest or in joke.

As St. John the Evangelist, when old, was continually saying, 'Little children, love one another,' so Philip was ever repeating his favourite lesson, 'Be humble; think little of yourselves.'

He said that if we did a good work, and another took the credit of it to himself, we ought to rejoice and thank God.

He said no one ought to say, 'Oh! I shall not fall, I shall not commit sin,' for it was a clear sign that he would fall. He was greatly displeased with those who made excuses for themselves, and called such persons. 'My Lady Eve,' because Eve defended herself instead of being humble.

Philip, my glorious patron, who didst count as dross the praise, and even the good esteem of men, obtain for me also, from my Lord and Saviour, this fair virtue by thy prayers. How haughty are my thoughts, how contemptuous are my words, how ambitious are my works. Gain for me that low esteem of self with which thou wast gifted; obtain for me a knowledge of my own nothingness, that I may rejoice when I am despised, and ever seek to be great only in the eyes of my God and Judge."

I think that this may help...
India's Congress Party Coalition Backs Sonia Ghandi as PM
Considering that India has been beset with a lot of Christian-bashing, this seems like a step in the right direction.

Link courtesy of Victor Lams.
The Feast of St. Pascal Baylon, Religious
is today. There is information on him here.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Happy birthday
to the blogging mantis !

Ten more days...
until St. Philip's Day !
On May 16, 1875
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., was in the midst of a epistolary debate on history and theology with one of his nephews. However, the letter he sent that day was much shorter than usual....
I am very glad to have so long a letter from you, but you must let me wait, and be patient with me, as to my answering it, for I have received a very heavy blow in the sudden and alarming illness of the greatest friend I have-an illness, the issue of which will take some time to show itself, and which has almost turned my head.

Thank E- for wishing to send me, and you for sending, her love-and tell her that I am very grateful to her, and send her a double measure in return-one in reciprocity, and one from gratitude.

Yours affectionately,
The one who was ill was Fr. Ambrose St. John, C.O. , who had been the Venerable's closest friend for more than 30 years. He died on the eve of St. Philip's Day- a terrible blow to Newman, who had naturally expected that Fr. Ambrose, being considerably younger, would outlive him. As he later wrote to another friend:
"You refer to St. John's age. Yes, I often think, can it be God's will that, as the beloved disciple outlived all his brethren, I too am to have a portion of that special cross of his? Dear Mrs. Poncia, who went so unexpectedly two years ago, used to say on this day to me 'Many, many returns of it': I used to answer, 'You don't wish me to outlive you all'—and she answered, 'Yes, till 90 or 100 years'-Then I said, 'O how cruel!'

Of late I have often thought whether it was God's will that I should have the trial of seeing those I loved die before me—but it was a very ungrateful thought to be suggested to me by God's great mercy in keeping me so well in health. Was it not enough to provoke Him to visit me with sickness and suffering? Well, I am in His Hands—and I can but repeat what I found among dear Father Ambrose's morning prayers, 'Do with me what Thou wilt; I shall ever be in peace if I live and die in Thy love.'

May God be with you also as He has been with me; not only for 25 years, but, as He has been with you for so long a time, so also to the end—and with me too, till we all meet in the bosom of our God."

Deo gratias....
for the six saints canonized today !
It is the seventh day...
of the Birthday Novena for the Holy Father.
If it were not Sunday
today would be the feast of St. Andrew Bobola, S.J., Priest and Martyr, St. John Nepomucene, Priest and Martyr, and St. Simon Stock, O.Carm. . It would also be the feast of St. Brendan the Navigator, Priest, on whom I posted last year.

Music at the 11:30 am Mass
Processional Hymn: "Christ the Lord is Risen Today"
Offertory: "I am the Living Bread"- Michael McCabe
Recessional Hymn: "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling"