Saturday, September 18, 2004

Please pray...
for all those who were affected by Hurricane Ivan and its aftermath. (It's nothing compared with what the people in Florida and Alabama were hit with, but there was a huge amount of rain here in Pittsburgh, and a good bit of flooding, particularly in low-lying areas and neighborhoods near creeks or one of the rivers. I was fortunate in that only my basement had water in it. )
The Feast of St. Joseph of Cupertino, O.F.M., Priest
is today. There is information on him here. He is best-known for the extreme levitations that marked his life. My own founder also experienced levitation, although to a lesser degree.
It is also the feast of St. John de Massias, O.P. and of St. Thomas of Villanova, O.S.A.,Archbishop .

Thursday, September 16, 2004

On September 16, 1855
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

Septem Dolorum—Election

1. INTROD.—Nothing is, of course, so awful as the question of election, about which so much is said in Scripture. It is not to be supposed that I am going into any depths here.

2. The doctrine, as I shall take it, is this, and most practical; and I will first illustrate it.

3. Take the case of some large and new institution in a nation, which requires a great many new hands, e.g. a new department of revenue, a new commission, some speculation abroad, the post office, railroads, the war.

4. Such an institution, especially if a speculation or expedition (1) promises great rewards to those who take part in it; (2) it is not for every one to get, but he must make interest; (3) no one will get part in, or receive the rewards of, if he does not join it.

5. Enlarge. As a question of justice. Suppose a man who went on with his own trade, etc., complaining that he had no part of the receipts of a speculation in which he took no part, etc.

6. Apply. Draw out the state of this world—its trades, occupations, aims; its science, literature, politics, etc. People may acquit themselves well, and get the reward of their occupation, which is the reward of this world, e.g. such as wealth, fame, etc., etc.

7. But a new system comes in. Almighty God proclaims a different reward, viz. eternal life to those who take part in His objects, etc. You see it is quite distinct from Nature.

8. Enlarge on the interest made to get a place—no claim because [a] good father, a good subject, etc., etc.

9. Here, then, we have the election. If we want to take part in it, we must join it.

10. The cross of Christ puts a different complexion on the whole of life. If a man takes up any new course, his old ways are flat in comparison.

11. Septem dolorum in connection—we must take part with her.

A commenter...
over at Midwest Conservative Journal posted the following delighful verse by Phyllis McGinley.

The other day I chanced to meet
An angry man upon the street,
A man of wrath, a man of war,
A man who truculently bore
Upon his shoulder, like a lance,
A banner lettered TOLERANCE.

And when I asked him why he strode
Thus scowling down the human road,
Scowling, he answered "I am he
"That champions total liberty.
"Intolerance being, m'am, a state,
"No tolerant man can tolerate!"

"When I meet rogues," he said, "who choose
"To cherish oppositional views,
"Lady, like this, and in this manner,
"I lay about me with my banner
"Till they cry mercy, m'am!" His blows
Rained proudly on prospective foes.

Fearful, I turned and left him there,
Still muttering, as he thrashed the air,
"Let the intolerant beware!"

The Feast of St. Cyprian of Carthage, Bishop and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here. As I noted last year, the Venerable wrote a good deal about this Saint, and made him a character in his historical novel.

It is also the feast of Pope St. Cornelius, Martyr, Pope Blessed Victor III, O.S.B., and St. Ludmila, Widow and Martyr.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

First, observe, the prodigal son said, "I am no more worthy to be called Thy son, make me as one of Thy hired servants." We know that God's service is perfect freedom, not a servitude; but this it is in the case of those who have long served Him; at first it is a kind of servitude, it is a task till our likings and tastes come to be in unison with those which God has sanctioned. It is the happiness of Saints and Angels in heaven to take pleasure in their duty, and nothing but their duty; for their mind goes that one way, and pours itself out in obedience to God, spontaneously and without thought or deliberation, just as man sins naturally. This is the state to which we are tending if we give ourselves up to religion; but in its commencement, religion is necessarily almost a task and a formal service. When a man begins to see his wickedness, and resolves on leading a new life, he asks, What must I do? he has a wide field before him, and he does not know how to enter it. He must be bid to do some particular plain acts of obedience, to fix him. He must be told to go to Church regularly, to say his prayers morning and evening, and statedly to read the Scriptures. This will limit his efforts to a certain end, and relieve him of the perplexity and indecision which the greatness of his work at first causes. But who does not see that this going to Church, praying in private, and reading Scripture, must in his case be, in great measure, what is called a form and a task? Having been used to do as he would, and indulge himself, and having very little understanding or liking for religion, he cannot take pleasure in these religious duties; they will necessarily be a weariness to him; nay, he will not be able even to give his attention to them. Nor will he see the use of them; he will not be able to find they make him better though he repeat them again and again. Thus his obedience at first is altogether that of a hired servant, "The servant knoweth not what his lord doeth." [John xv. 15.] This is Christ's account of him. The servant is not in his lord's confidence, does not understand what he is aiming at, or why he commands this and forbids that. He executes the commands given him, he goes hither and thither, punctually, but by the mere letter of the command. Such is the state of those who begin religious obedience. They do not see anything come of their devotional or penitential services, nor do they take pleasure in them; they are obliged to defer to God's word simply because it is His word; to do which implies faith indeed, but also shows they are in that condition of a servant which the prodigal felt himself to be in at best.

Now, I insist upon this, because the conscience of a repentant sinner is often uneasy at finding religion a task to him. He thinks he ought to rejoice in the Lord at once, and it is true he is often told to do so; he is often taught to begin by cultivating high affections. Perhaps he is even warned against offering to God what is termed a formal service. Now this is reversing the course of a Christian's life. The prodigal son judged better, when he begged to be made one of his father's servants—he knew his place. We must begin religion with what looks like a form. Our fault will be, not in beginning it as a form, but in continuing it as a form. For it is our duty to be ever striving and praying to enter into the real spirit of our services, and in proportion as we understand them and love them, they will cease to be a form and a task, and will be the real expressions of our minds. Thus shall we gradually be changed in heart from servants into sons of Almighty God.

This is probably a good idea...
but it's sad that it doesn't go without saying.

Link courtesy of Jeff Miller.

If it were not Sunday
today would be the Feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We know that to holy people the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport; or the name of Mary, or of both—"Jesu Mariae" and "Alma Redemptoris Mater"—Saints have gone into ecstasy upon the name. The picture, which it brings before the mind of Mother and Son, the Eternal Son and His high-favoured Mother, awful transporting relationship, most human yet most divine, these are the words which can raise the dead and transfigure and beatify the living.

Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Music at the Noon Mass
Processional Hymn: "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise"
Offertory: "Come Down, O Love Divine"- Down Ampney, arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
Recessional Hymn: "The Church's One Foundation"