Saturday, July 31, 2004

The Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, S.J., Priest and Founder
is today. There is information on him here. I posted information on this great Saint (and friend of St. Philip) last year .
"The princely patriarch, St. Ignatius... the St. George of the modern world, with his chivalrous lance run through his writhing foe...."- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

It is also the feast of St. Justin de Jacobis, C.M., Bishop and of Blessed John Colombini , whose life was a particular inspiration to St. Philip and the early Oratorians.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Just because

All the works of God are founded on unity, for they are founded on Himself, who is the most awfully simple and transcendent of possible unities. He is emphatically One; and whereas He is also multiform in His attributes and His acts, as they present themselves to our minds, it follows that order and harmony must be of His very essence. To be many and distinct in His attributes, yet, after all, to be but one,—to be sanctity, justice, truth, love, power, wisdom, to be at once each of these as fully as if He were nothing but it, as if the rest were not,—this implies in the Divine Nature an infinitely sovereign and utterly incomprehensible order, which is an attribute as wonderful as any, and the result of all the others. He is an infinite law, as well as an infinite power, wisdom, and love. Moreover, the very idea of order implies the idea of the subordinate. If order exists in the Divine Attributes, they must have relations one to another, and though each is perfect in itself, it must act so as not to impair the perfection of the rest, and must seem to yield to the rest on particular occasions. Thus God's power, indeed, is infinite, but it is still subordinate to His wisdom and His justice; His justice, again, is infinite, but it, too, is subordinate to His love; and His love, in turn, is infinite, but it is subordinate to His incommunicable sanctity. There is an understanding between attribute and attribute, so that one does not interfere with the other, for each is supreme in its own sphere; and thus an infinitude of infinities, acting each in its own order, are combined together in the infinitely simple unity of God.

Such is the unity, and consequent harmony and beauty of the Divine Nature, even when viewed in the lights which are supplied to us by the traditions of the human race and the investigations of the human intellect. But, wonderful as is that order and harmony, considered only in the way of nature, much more wonderful is it in the mysteries of Revelation. There we are introduced to the ineffable, the adorable, the most gracious dogma of a Trinity in Unity, which is what I may call the triumph of Unity over difficulties, which, to our limited faculties, seem like impossibilities and contradictions. How strong,how severe, how infinitely indivisible, must be that Unity of God, which is not compromised by the truth of His being Three! How surpassing is that Unity of substance which remains untroubled and secure, though it is occupied and possessed wholly and unreservedly, not only by the Father, but also by the Son; not only by Father and Son, but by the Holy Ghost also! And, moreover, as there is a subordination, as I have said, of attribute to attribute, without any detriment to the infinitude of each of them individually, and this is the glory of the God of Nature; so also does an order, and, as I may say, a subordination exist between Person and Person, and this is the incommunicable glory of the God of Grace.

Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., Sermons Preached on Various Occasions
May God bless and reward those...
who fought to give these little ones proper burial.

Link courtesy of Katolik Shinja .

The Feast of St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of St. Leopold Mandic, O.F.M. Cap., Priest- the only saint I've ever come across who was six inches shorter than me-and of Blessed Thomas Abel, Priest and Martyr, Blessed Richard Featherstone, Priest and Martyr, and Blessed Edward Powell , Priest and Martyr.. The last was a fellow of Oriel College, Oxford- a distinction shared by one of my favorite people.

Finally, it is the anniversary of the day the current Provost of the Pittsburgh Oratory began his novitiate. Happy anniversary, Fr. David ! Gaudete semper and ad multos annos !

Thursday, July 29, 2004

On July 29, 1848
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

Christ Weeping over Jerusalem

1. INTROD. Wonderful union of mercy and severity in God, as in our Saviour weeping over Jerusalem. Who can have hard thoughts of Him? Yet who can presume?

2. Take the case of the Jews. St. Paul says 'these things happened in figure': they are a figure of God's dealings with every soul. Consider the frequent judgments mentioned in the epistle—how often He had to punish before He gave them up. At last wrath came without remedy—He wept while He denounced—it was over and there was no hope. He dried His tears—He rose up—He executed wrath—He rejected them and burned up their city.

3. And so in every age. Consider what a wonderful patience—the same thing acted over and over again—how weary the angels must get of the history of the world—every generation beginning with sinners, and then some turning to repentance—looking at individual souls, seeing them plunge into sin fearlessly—yet they are afterwards to repent—they must feel indignation that God should be trifled with. The very same poor souls who now sin will repent as the generation before them: they even take their fill of sin before they turn to God.

4. Then they see repentance—all so promising, such a good start; yet God sees that those very persons, who are beginning so well, are again to fall from Him—to profane and ungratefully treat all His gifts.

5. But so the world goes on. Numbers never coming back to God [at] all, numbers coming back then falling again, numbers repenting only in the end of life, numbers sinning against light and warning, again and again, till they are cast off without remedy. Observe how stern the words, 'for now they are hidden from thine eyes.'

6. Yet how beautiful the temple looked. Describe—goodly stones—how unlikely that it should be destroyed, yet it was doomed.

7. Blessed they who do not sin; next blessed they who consider God's wrath and mercy—not one of them only, lest they despair or presume.

The Feast of St. Martha
is today. There is information on her here.
It is also the feast of St. Olaf II, and Blessed Pope Urban II, O.S.B..

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Gerard Serafin
reminds us that today is the birthday of Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., who was received into the Church by a certain Oratorian.

We've all heard about the persecution of Christians...
in countries with Muslim majorities, and in China. Many have probably heard about the difficulties for Christians in India. However, it seems that countries with Buddhist majorities do not have a stellar record in this area either.It's particularly sad for me to see that this intolerance is growing in Sri Lanka, which was evangelized by Blessed Joseph Vaz, C.O.

Prayers for all those persecuted for their faith would be most welcome.

Link courtesy of Katolik Shinja .

I liked the Old Oligarch's modesty post...
but I liked this response as well.

On July 28, 1824
a recently ordained Anglican deacon by the name of John Henry Newman wrote to his mother. In his letter, he mentions his attempts to get to know his parishoners :

About ten days ago I began my visitation of the whole parish, going from house to house, asking the names, numbers, trades, where they went to church, &c. I have got through, as yet, about a third (and the most respectable third) of the population. In general they have been very civil; often expressed gratification that a clergyman should visit them; hoped to see me again, &c. &c. If in the habit of attending the dissenting meeting, they generally excused themselves on the plea of the rector being old, and they could not hear him or the church too small, &c.; but expressed no unwillingness to come back. I rather dread the two-thirds of the parish which are to come; but trust (and do not doubt) I shall be carried through it well, and as I could wish. It will be a great thing done; I shall know my parishioners, and be known by them. I have taken care always to speak kindly of Mr. Hinton, the dissenting minister, expressed a wish to know him, &c.; said I thought he had done good—which he had—in the place.

Last Sunday I had it given out in church that there would be an afternoon sermon during the summer. From what I hear, on talking to various people about it, I doubt not, with God's blessing, it will answer very well. I am glad to say the church is so full in the morning that people go away; but that is not saying much. As you recollect, it only holds two hundred; however, there often used not (I am told) to be more than fifty at church. I wish very much to establish a Sunday School. The only Sunday I have been absent from St. Clement's was last Sunday, when I was at Warton. I had three services and sermons there in the day; but did not feel fatigue.

The sermons I send you were not intended for compositions: you will find them full of inaccuracies. I am aware they contain truths which are unpalatable to the generality of mankind; but the doctrine of Christ crucified is the only spring of real virtue and piety, and the only foundation of peace and comfort. I know I must do good. I may and shall meet with disappointments, much to distress me, much (I hope) to humble me; but as God is true, He will go with the doctrine: magna est veritas et prævalebit.

He does not mention it here, but in the course of his visitations, he eagerly knocked on the door of a man whom the neighbors described as never having set foot in the parish church- and it turned out that the man was a Jesuit priest who ministered to the few Catholics in the area of Oxford. Twenty-one years later, that priest returned the favor- only now Newman was a recent convert and the priest got to tell him "Welcome home!"

It turns out that appalling New York Times story...
the one about the woman who had two of her unborn children killed, may have been purposefully timed to set up a campaign to shore up the current legality of baby-killing. If so, the reaction they are getting may not be what they had in mind.

Links courtesy of Jeff Miller.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord...
and let perpetual light shine upon her.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Norma Shea and the consolation of her family in this time of grief.
The Feast of St. Samson, Bishop
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of Blessed John Soreth, O.Carm., Priest and Blessed Pedro Poveda Castroverde, Priest and Martyr.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

On July 27, 1856
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:
On the Healing of the Deaf and Dumb Man

1. INTROD.—We read these words in today's gospel, 'They bring unto Him,' etc.

2. The man is cured, and two things go to his cure—Christ's word and act, and His disciples bring him to Him. Christ does not heal without His disciples, and they cannot heal except as bringing to Him.

3. So it is now—the great ordained system—Christ the Author of Grace, and His friends whom He brings round Him, and makes His family, the step towards obtaining grace by prayer.

4. Christ can do all things. He created, He redeemed without any one else; but He saved [saves?] through the co-operation of others—by the saints above and the Church below.

5. Christ can do all things—He gives grace too, and it is only by His ordained system—merit a promise—a contract, etc., etc.

6. Christ can do all things, and He does not confine Himself to [co-operation of] others, so far as this, that all over the earth, external to His Church, He hears those who call on Him. He has many ways. Every one has a guardian angel. Case of Hagar.

7. But He does this to bring them on into His Church, that they too may become His friends.

8. And it must be recollected that the Holy Church Universal is praying everywhere [for them]. Mass [continually offered].

9. Abraham and Moses. God reveals that His friends may pray, 'I say not that I will ask the Father,' etc.

Therefore it is that we call our Lady our advocate, and the saints intercessors; for our Lord has made over this lower office to them, and stands in the higher, of the Giver of grace.

10. Thus the salvation of the world is in our hands, [e.g. of]

11. England—Birmingham.

12. Therefore let us pray.

has a quote from the Professor.
The Inn at the End of the World
has a post on a community which may, God willing, become a fully established Oratory in the future. (I'm glad to hear that the London Fathers have been particularly helpful to them. )
The Feast of St. George, Deacon and Martyr, and Sts. Aurelius, Natalia, and Lillian, Martyrs
is today. There is information on them here, here, here, and here.
It is also the feast of St. Pantaleon, Martyr, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

Monday, July 26, 2004

links to a very interesting article about two Jesuit priests, each with family ties to important figures involved the Civil War.

Wow !
I just realized that with this post, I have passed the 2,000 posts mark !
Just because

An argument has been often put forward by unbelievers, I think by Paine, to this effect, that "a revelation, which is to be received as true, ought to be written on the sun." This appeals to the common-sense of the many with great force, and implies the assumption of a principle which Butler, indeed, would not grant, and would consider unphilosophical, and yet I think something may be said in its favour. Whether abstractedly defensible or not, Catholic populations would not be averse, mutatis mutandis, to admitting it. Till these last centuries, the Visible Church was, at least to her children, the light of the world, as conspicuous as the sun in the heavens; and the Creed was written on her forehead, and proclaimed through her voice, by a teaching as precise as it was emphatical; in accordance with the text, "Who is she that looketh forth at the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?" It was not, strictly speaking, a miracle, doubtless; but in its effect, nay, in its circumstances, it was little less. Of course I would not allow that the Church fails in this manifestation of the truth now, any more than in former times, though the clouds have come over the sun; for what she has lost in her appeal to the imagination, she has gained in philosophical cogency, by the evidence of her persistent vitality. So far is clear, that if Paine's aphorism has a primâ facie force against Christianity, it owes this advantage to the miserable deeds of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent
The Old Oligarch
reads the riot act on the lack of modesty in female apparel, particularly swimwear. While I sympathize to a certain extent, and do recognize that members of my sex are currently encouraged to be the worst offenders in this area, I couldn't help wondering- where is the male-focused part of ? Alternatively, where is an equivalent site for boys and men ? What men wear to the beach these days is often not particulary edifying. Yes, I am aware that men are visually stimulated more easily than women. However, it comes across as unfair when women are excoriated for wearing bikinis when men are not equally condemned for wearing even less.

The Feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin
is today. There is information on them here and here.
It is also the feast of St. Bartholomea Capitanio, Virgin and Foundress, Blessed John Ingram, Priest and Martyr, Blessed George Swallowell, Martyr, and Blessed Titus Brandsma, O. Carm., Priest and Martyr.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Happy (slightly belated) Blogoversary
to Jeff Miller !
Also to Times Against Humanity and

On July 25, 1968
one of the most prophetic documents of the 20th century was issued.

Consider just this one little section, dealing with what happens when the use of contraceptives becomes widespread:

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. 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.
Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.
Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone.

Lowering of moral standards, lots of adultery, massive amounts of fornication, especially among the young.... check.

Men losing respect for women and treating them as sex toys... check.

Governments in many countries pushing contraceptives and sterilizations on their people... check.

Coincidence? I think not....

On July 25, 1938
the Professor wrote two priceless letters, which I blogged here last year.
If it were not Sunday...
today would be the feast of St. James the Greater, Apostle and Martyr.

James and John
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Two brothers freely cast their lot
With David's royal Son;
The cost of conquest counting not,
They deem the battle won.

Brothers in heart, they hope to gain
An undivided joy;
That man may one with man remain,
As boy was one with boy.

Christ heard; and will'd that James should fall,
First prey of Satan's rage;
John linger out his fellows all,
And die in bloodless age.

Now they join hands once more above,
Before the Conqueror's throne;
Thus God grants prayer, but in His love
Makes times and ways His own.

It would also be the feast of St. Christopher, Martyr,who is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, and of Blessed Rudolph Acquaviva, S.J., Priest and Martyr.