Saturday, June 12, 2004

For Saturday
"The title Theotocos, or Mother of God, was familiar to Christians from primitive times, and had been used, among other writers, by Origen, Eusebius, St. Alexander, St. Athanasius, St. Ambrose, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Gregory Nyssen, and St. Nilus. She had been called Ever-Virgin by others, as by St. Epiphanius, St. Jerome, and Didymus. By others, 'the Mother of all living,' as being the antitype of Eve; for, as St. Epiphanius observes, 'in truth,' not in shadow, 'from Mary was Life itself brought into the world, that Mary might bear things living, and might become Mother of living things.'St. Augustine says that all have sinned 'except the Holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom, for the honour of the Lord, I wish no question to be raised at all, when we are treating of sins.' 'She was alone and wrought the world's salvation,' says St. Ambrose, alluding to her conception of the Redeemer. She is signified by the Pillar of the cloud which guided the Israelites, according to the same Father; and she had 'so great grace, as not only to have virginity herself, but to impart it to those to whom she came;'—'the Rod out of the stem of Jesse,' says St. Jerome, and 'the Eastern gate through which the High Priest alone goes in and out, yet is ever shut;'—the wise woman, says St. Nilus, who 'hath clad all believers, from the fleece of the Lamb born of her, with the clothing of incorruption, and delivered them from their spiritual nakedness;'—'the Mother of Life, of beauty, of majesty, the Morning Star,' according to Antiochus;—'the mystical new heavens,' 'the heavens carrying the Divinity,' 'the fruitful vine by whom we are translated from death unto life,' according to St. Ephraim;—'the manna which is delicate, bright, sweet, and virgin, which, as though coming from heaven, has poured down on all the people of the Churches a food pleasanter than honey,' according to St. Maximus.

St. Proclus calls her 'the unsullied shell which contains the pearl of price,' 'the sacred shrine of sinlessness,' 'the golden altar of holocaust,' 'the holy oil of anointing,' 'the costly alabaster box of spikenard,' 'the ark gilt within and without,' 'the heifer whose ashes, that is, the Lord's Body taken from her, cleanses those who are defiled by the pollution of sin,' 'the fair bride of the Canticles,' 'the stay ([sterigma]) of believers,' 'the Church's diadem,' 'the expression of orthodoxy.' These are oratorical expressions; but we use oratory on great subjects, not on small. Elsewhere he calls her 'God's only bridge to man;' and elsewhere he breaks forth, 'Run through all creation in your thoughts, and see if there be equal to, or greater than, the Holy Virgin Mother of God.' "
- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine
Some good news...
from Cambodia
Link courtesy of Zorak.

The Feast of Pope St. Leo III
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of St. John of Sahagun,O.S.A., Priest and St. Gaspar Bertoni,C.P.S., Priest and Founder . To any Benedictines or Stigmatines out there, happy feast day !

Friday, June 11, 2004

From Faith and Prejudice and Other Unpublished Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
(ed. He is discussing the Parable of the Unjust Steward.)
"Charges were brought against the Steward, and his employer called on him to answer them, or rather examined them, and found them well-founded. And so it is sometimes with us, that our conscience, which is the voice of God in the soul, upbraids us, brings before us our neglect of duty, the careless, the irreligious, the evil life which we are leading, our disregard of God's commands, glory, and worship; and anticipates that judgement which is to come. Now sometimes this self-accusation leads us to true repentance and change of life—certainly, praise be to God, this is sometimes the case; but more frequently, instead of turning us into the right path, it has the effect of making us go more wrong than we were before. When the Steward found he could not make good what his Lord had a right to demand of him, he had three courses before him besides that which he adopted; he might have made his debts good by extra work; again he might have got friends to have supplied the deficiency; or, he might have thrown himself on his Lord's mercy. He might have digged, or he might have begged; but he rejected both means. 'I cannot dig,' he said, 'to beg I am ashamed.' So he went off into a further act of dishonesty to the disadvantage of his master. And in like manner, we, when we have been unfaithful to our good God and feel compunction for that unfaithfulness, have two modes of recovery: we might dig, that is, we might do works of penance; we might vigorously change our life; we might fight with our bad habits; we might redeem the time; that is, we might dig. But we cannot make up our minds to this laborious course; it is too great a sacrifice; it is above us; we cannot dig. And secondly we might beg; that is, we might pray God to forgive us and to change us; we might go to confess our sin and beg for absolution; we might beg the prayers of others, the prayers of the Saints; but to many men, especially to those who are not Catholics, this is more difficult even than labour: 'to beg we are ashamed.' Begging seems something inconsistent with what they call the dignity of human nature; they think it unmanly, cowardly, slavish; it wounds their pride to confess themselves miserable sinners, to come to a priest, to say the Rosary, to give themselves to certain devotions, day after day; they think such a course as much beneath them as a valiant effort to overcome themselves is above them. They cannot dig, to beg they are ashamed; and therefore they attempt to destroy the sense of their sins, which has fallen upon them by some means worse than those sins themselves—I mean, such as denying perhaps that there is any such thing as sin, saying that it is a bugbear invented by priests, nay perhaps going so far as to say that there is no judgement to come, no God above who will see and will judge what they say or do.

Such is the repentance of men of the world, when conscience reproaches them. It is not a true turning from sin, but a turning to worse sin—they go on to deny the Holy Commandment because they have transgressed it; they explain away the sinfulness of sin because they have sinned. St. Paul speaks of this evil repentance, if it may be called by that name, in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, when he says to them the words of 2 Cor. vii. 10. Such is the state of mankind as we see it realized on a large scale on the face of human society in the world at large. When they do evil, act against their conscience and clear duty, there is this opposition between what they know and what they do; light becomes darkness, and instead of the light within them destroying their tendencies to sin, their sins dim or stifle that light, and they become worse than they were, because they were bad already."

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord..
and let perpertual light shine upon her.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Alicia's sister-in-law, and for the consolation of her family.
Wonderful lengthy quote from the Venerable
at Deo Omnis Gloria.
Tragic news...
over at HMS Blog.
The Feast of St. Barnabas, Apostle and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here.
It also the feast of Blessed Ignazio Maloyan, Archbishop and Martyr, who was killed for refusing to become Moslem. Prayers for all Christians being persecuted in Islamic countries would be appropriate.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

For Thursday
"In the Blessed Sacrament is my great consolation..."- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., written in his private journal in 1860, during a time when he was in great distress.
The Feast of Blessed John Dominic, O.P., Archbishop
is today. There is information on him here. A blessed feast day to all the Dominicans out there, including certain bloggers.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

On June 9, 1872
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:
The Fall of Man

"1. INTROD.—The ninety-nine are the angels, the one is man.

2. Man is one because perhaps there are indefinitely more angels than men; and next, because Adam was one head, the head of our race. We all sinned in Adam, but each angel who fell sinned in himself.

3. The account of Adam's fall.

4. Now, to understand how great it was, we must consider Adam's high gifts. It was a miracle almost, a violation of his nature and state, that he fell, for he had so many gifts.

5. Had he been like us we could understand it; but he was not like us. But on his falling he lost those gifts, and became what men are now, and that we can understand.

6. He came under God's anger—he was prone to sin; he was under captivity of the devil. The whole face of the world external was changed, as winter instead of summer—that world, I may say, deprived of angels, of God's countenance, and full of the devil; even innocent things became infected and means of temptation.

7. He lost those gifts, and therefore, when he had offspring, he transmitted to them that nature which he had; but he could not transmit those gifts which he had forfeited.

8. Such, then, is our state as children of Adam. We are what he was after sinning—in precisely the same state—and that state is called 'original sin.' We have not the advantage which Adam had.

9. Now, if a man says this is mysterious, hardly consistent with justice, I answer: (1) The whole of revelation must be mysterious, we do not know enough to defend it, because it is part of a whole system.

10. (2) God is not bound to give us high gifts such as He gave Adam. It is sufficient that He gives us such grace that it is our fault if we do not go right.

11. (3) But, again, Christ came to set all right."

I'm becoming contagious...
Now Fr. Michael has started a blog. He told me to warn everyone that he is just beginning and is still getting the hang of blogging, so please be patient.

From the homily...
Fr. Michael was the celebrant at the 12:10 Mass today. What I remember best was his remark that there is a bit of wordplay in the original Hebrew of the first reading, in which the 'man of God' (ish Elohim) calls down the 'fire of God'(esh Elohim) Now, we are filled with the Fire of God at our baptism, and thus are called to be men of God throughout out lives. (I am using the term 'men' in its inclusive sense, of course....)
The Feast of St. Ephrem of Syria, Deacon and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here.

It is also the feast of Blessed Anne Marie Taigi.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Thought-provoking article...
on Our Lady, Protestant iconoclasm, and country music.

Link courtesy of Thunderstruck.

June 8, 1851
was Pentecost, and Venerable John Henry Newman,C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:
The Life-Giving Spirit

"1. INTROD.—We have what we have waited for. Paschal time is not only a time of rejoicing, but of waiting for a gift. The whole creation groaning, etc. Hence, now being the end, we go no further, but date our time from Pentecost.

2. The gift of today set up the Church, hence it is said to be a vehement wind filling the house. Solomon's temple filled with the glory, as the sweet nard filled the house.

3. For up to this date the Church was not formed. The multitude who followed Christ was but matter. They were not a body filled with Christ. Christ was with them, but external; they were not confirmed. They were all scattered abroad as sheep. Hence as an individual may have first actual, then habitual grace—so the multitudo fidelium all Paschal time is begging to be the bride of Christ.

4. Now then the Spirit came down, to gather together the children of God, etc., all those who had fled away, etc.; returned—3000-5000 .

5. Like the resurrection of dry bones, Ezech. xxxvii.

6. Such is the power, the manifestation, of the Spirit; thus sudden, thus gentle, thus silent. It is life from death—what health is after sickness. It makes young. Oh what a gift is this! Who would not wonder if a physician could make an old man young? See him, unable to do more than grope about, his limbs stiff, his face withered, etc., etc. But the physician comes, and health and comeliness and vigour return, etc. This is what is fulfilled by the power of the Spirit, in a measure in individuals, certainly in the body.

7. And is it possible such is in store for England?—(explain). Nothing unexpected, nothing too difficult. It is grace, yet spreading not at once.

8. Prayer for it. Never so much prayer as now."

I agree wholeheartedly...
with Benjamin Blosser on Brennan Manning. (and on Rich Mullins, too...)

It is the fourth day...
of the Novena of the Litany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Priest and Victim.
Lane Core also has a link to an article describing a disturbing phenomenon firsthand, and he mentions that today is the anniversary of the death of Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., priest and poet. Hopkins was brought into the Church by a certain Oratorian priest.

Please pray and send e-mails
to help our suffering brother.
A young hospital orderly witnesses an abortion...
and it helps stiffen his spine later.

Link courtesy of Domenico Bettinelli.

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

Monday, June 07, 2004

Prayers requested...
for what must be a difficult situation.

When I read things like this...
I realize just how blessed I am.

From The Idea of a University
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
"Knowledge is one thing, virtue is another; good sense is not conscience, refinement is not humility, nor is largeness and justness of view faith. Philosophy, however enlightened, however profound, gives no command over the passions, no influential motives, no vivifying principles. Liberal Education makes not the Christian, not the Catholic, but the gentleman. It is well to be a gentleman, it is well to have a cultivated intellect, a delicate taste, a candid, equitable, dispassionate mind, a noble and courteous bearing in the conduct of life;—these are the connatural qualities of a large knowledge; they are the objects of a University; I am advocating, I shall illustrate and insist upon them; but still, I repeat, they are no guarantee for sanctity or even for conscientiousness, they may attach to the man of the world, to the profligate, to the heartless,—pleasant, alas, and attractive as he shows when decked out in them. Taken by themselves, they do but seem to be what they are not; they look like virtue at a distance, but they are detected by close observers, and on the long run; and hence it is that they are popularly accused of pretence and hypocrisy, not, I repeat, from their own fault, but because their professors and their admirers persist in taking them for what they are not, and are officious in arrogating for them a praise to which they have no claim. Quarry the granite rock with razors, or moor the vessel with a thread of silk; then may you hope with such keen and delicate instruments as human knowledge and human reason to contend against those giants, the passion and the pride of man."
Jeff Miller...
takes on someone using the word 'conscience' who clearly does not understand the concept.

The Venerable addressed this type of blindness more than 100 years ago.

For all my fellow Tolkien nuts...
today is the feast of St. Meriadoc, Bishop. Before he was made a bishop, he lived as a hermit in a part of Brittany known as...Rohan.
It is also the feast of St. Anthony Mary Gianelli, Archbishop and Founder, St. Gotteschalk, Martyr and St. Robert of Newminster, O.S.B. Cist., Abbot.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Some Philippian posts...
John at the Inn at the End of the World has a post about a new Oratorian-inspired institute. Congratulations and gaudete semper to them !

Zadok posts about the connection between the London Oratory and international espionage. He also blogs one of my favorite hymns.

From An Essay in aid of a Grammar of Assent
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
"Break a ray of light into its constituent colours, each is beautiful, each may be enjoyed; attempt to unite them, and perhaps you produce only a dirty white. The pure and indivisible Light is seen only by the blessed inhabitants of heaven; here we have but such faint reflections of it as its diffraction supplies; but they are sufficient for faith and devotion. Attempt to combine them into one, and you gain nothing but a mystery, which you can describe as a notion, but cannot depict as an imagination. And this, which holds of the Divine Attributes, holds also of the Holy Trinity in Unity. And hence, perhaps, it is that the latter doctrine is never spoken of as a Mystery in the sacred book, which is addressed far more to the imagination and affections than to the intellect. Hence, too, what is more remarkable, in the Creeds the dogma is not called a mystery; not in the Apostles' nor the Nicene, nor even in the Athanasian. The reason seems to be, that the Creeds have a place in the Ritual; they are devotional acts, and of the nature of prayers, addressed to God; and, in such addresses, to speak of intellectual difficulties would be out of place. It must be recollected especially that the Athanasian Creed has sometimes been called the 'Psalmus Quicunque.' It is not a mere collection of notions, however momentous. It is a psalm or hymn of praise, of confession, and of profound, self-prostrating homage, parallel to the canticles of the elect in the Apocalypse. It appeals to the imagination quite as much as to the intellect. It is the war-song of faith, with which we warn, first ourselves, then each other, and then all those who are within its hearing, and the hearing of the Truth, who our God is, and how we must worship Him, and how vast our responsibility will be, if we know what to believe, and yet believe not."
Music at the 11:30 am Mass
Processional Hymn: "Holy, Holy Holy"
Offertory: "O God Beyond All Praising"- Gustav Holst ( 1874-1934)
Communion: "Here, O My Lord"- Warren Swenson (1934- )
Postcommunion Hymn: "Firmly I Believe and Truly"
Recessional Hymn: "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name"

After today, our choir is going on break until the fall. Our director found a beautiful prayer which we have been praying together before each Mass, and it might be useful for any other choir folks out there.

"Open my mouth, O Lord, in praise of Thy Holy Name. Cleanse my heart of all worldly thoughts. Prepare my intellect and inflame my will that I may worthily sing this Divine Service. As we gather to sing Thy praise, may we but touch one soul and lead it to Thee. May our music foreshadow Thy beauty, which we shall see forever in Thy Kingdom. Through Christ our Lord. Amen"