Friday, October 15, 2004

I won't be blogging tommorow...
I'll be up in Erie, PA, attending (and singing at) the wedding of my friend Eric.
From Meditations and Devotions
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Jesus our Guide and Guardian

There are men who think that God is so great that He disdains to look down upon us, our doings and our fortunes. But He who did not find it beneath His Majesty to make us, does not think it beneath Him to observe and to visit us. He says Himself in the Gospel: "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? and not one of them is forgotten before God. Yea, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows." He determined from all eternity that He would create us. He settled our whole fortune—and, if He did not absolutely decree to bring us to heaven, it is because we have free will, and by the very constitution of our nature He has put it in part out of His own power, for we must do our part, if to heaven we attain. But He has done every thing short of this. He died for us all upon the Cross, that, if it were possible to save us, we might be saved. And He calls upon us lovingly, begging us to accept the benefit of His meritorious and most Precious Blood. And those who trust Him He takes under His special protection. He marks out their whole life for them; He appoints all that happens to them; He guides them in such way as to secure their salvation; He gives them just so much of health, of wealth, of friends, as is best for them; He afflicts them only when it is for their good; He is never angry with them. He measures out just that number of years which is good for them; and He appoints the hour of their death in such a way as to secure their perseverance up to it.

Let us pray for ourselves and for all our needs.

O my Lord and Saviour, in Thy arms I am safe; keep me and I have nothing to fear; give me up and I have nothing to hope for. I know not what will come upon me before I die. I know nothing about the future, but I rely upon Thee. I pray Thee to give me what is good for me; I pray Thee to take from me whatever may imperil my salvation; I pray Thee not to make me rich, I pray Thee not to make me very poor; but I leave it all to Thee, because Thou knowest and I do not. If Thou bringest pain or sorrow on me, give me grace to bear it well—keep me from fretfulness and selfishness. If Thou givest me health and strength and success in this world, keep me ever on my guard lest these great gifts carry me away from Thee. O Thou who didst die on the Cross for me, even for me, sinner as I am, give me to know Thee, to believe on Thee, to love Thee, to serve Thee; ever to aim at setting forth Thy glory; to live to and for Thee; to set a good example to all around me; give me to die just at that time and in that way which is most for Thy glory, and best for my salvation.

From my current reading....
which is The Church and I, by Frank Sheed.....

The reality of God is growing steadily dimmer in men's minds, the concept of the laws of moraility as Maker's instructions for the running of our own selves seems to have vanished altogether. Even if at odd moments conscience troubles people about what they are doing, words like "taboo" have reduced the authority of conscience so that it cannot stand up to the pressure of strong temptations.

The result-as I am weary of saying and my hearers of hearing- is that masses of people simply have no moral standards. By this I do not mean that they are living in a riot of immorality. Most of them have not the constitution for it, they would be dead in a week if they tried. What I am saying is that they have no moral standards: when they are tempted to some sin they feel they can manage they have no principle to test its rightness or wrongness. In the long run they can only follow their own inclination.

Neither in this nor in any other field is inclination likely to produce right conduct. Does it, by chance, produce happiness ? All the evidence says that it does not. The sin gets a stronger and stronger grip, the compulsion always harder to resist, the pleasure smaller and smaller. The moral muscles get flabby from want of excercise, there being no excercise in following inclination: and in flabby muscles there is neither health nor happiness. To tone them calls for effort. But unless men see the reason to make the effort, they will not make it.

In the known Law of God there is reason to make the effort. Christ told His Apostles to teach all nations to the end of time to observe all things that He had commanded them: and they had from Him a divine commission to "bind and loose", a phrase of the rabbis for declaring what was forbidden and what was permitted. As a Christian one cannot handle oneself as though Christ had not spoken.

The Feast of St. Teresa of Avila, O.C.D., Virgin and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on her here. A blessed feast day to all the Carmelites out there, especially the blogger at Flos Carmeli, and Sr. Claire Benedicta of the Cross, O.C.D. !

She was canonized on March 12, 1622, along with St. Isidore the Farmer, St. Francis Xavier, S.J., Priest, St. Ignatius Loyola, S.J., Priest and Founder, and, ahem... a certain Italian priest.....

Thursday, October 14, 2004

On October 14, 1860
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

Cardinal Virtues—Justice

1. INTROD.—Justice a name for all virtue. The robe of justice—justification. How great then must be the virtue proper so-called.

2. And so the beatitude: 'Who hunger and thirst after justice.'

3. The attribute of God enhances this, for the first attribute we know Him by is justice; viz. in conscience—before experience, before the knowledge of providence, before we look out into the visible framework of the world. Justice and all-knowledge the two; and in Christianity it is the two, love and justice. And where should we be without Christ's justice? Merits of saints founded on the covenant.

4. What is justice? Giving to all their due; text in the Romans, 'Honour to whom honour,' etc. Hence it is synonymous with the habit of 'doing one's duty,' whether to God or our neighbour. To God adoration, devotion, etc., and to the holy angels, etc., but I shall not insist on this part of the subject.

5. To man it is summed up in the maxim, 'Do as you would be done by.' This is placing conduct on the basis of justice. This basis of justice, for not 'as others would like you to do,' but 'ought to wish you to do.' And so 'forgive us our trespasses, as,' etc.; Matt. xviii. 23, parable ; 'If I have washed your feet,' John xiii. 14.

6. Parts of justice: (1) truth, (2) honesty—restitution; the terrible onus of restitution shows how important a virtue justice is.

7. (3) Faithfulness, and (4) gratitude, e.g. to parents.

8. (5) Liberality—detachment from money as being the opposite to rapacity and avarice.

9. (6) Courtesy in manner and act.

10. (7) Equity, consideration, kindness in judging, putting oneself into other person's situation. Not 'swift to wrath,' James i. 19; Ephes. iv., last verses.

11. Application on the contrary—our only notion commonly of justice, is justice to ourselves, hence anger [dia ten phainomenen hubrin], etc., etc.

12. CONCLUSION.—At the judgment this is the attribute God will exercise. Our justice will then have a peculiar claim, while we are invoking God's promises.

Sure, we're a materialistic society...
but things like this still happen. God bless Jay Gould! ( Prayers for his ministry, and for the repose of the soul of his wife, would be appropriate.)

Link courtesy of Christine.

When it comes to abortion...
Ignorance isn't bliss... it's the law .

Link courtesy of Jeff Miller.

The Feast of Pope St. Callistus I, Martyr
is today. There is information on him here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman

But supposing the objector supported what he said by Scripture: supposing he said, for instance, that our Lord blamed persons who washed their hands before eating bread, and that this proves that washing the hands before a meal is wrong. I am taking no fictitious case; such objections really have been made before now: yet the answer surely is easy, namely, that our Saviour objected, not to the mere washing of the hands, but to the making too much of such an observance; to our thinking it religion, thinking that it would stand in the stead of inward religion, and would make up for sins of the heart. This is what He condemned, the show of great attention to outward things, while inward things, which were more important, were neglected. This, He says Himself, in His denunciation of the Pharisees, "These ought ye to have done," He says, "and not to leave the other," the inward, "undone." He says expressly they ought to do the outward, but they ought to do more. They did the one and not the other; they ought to have done both the one and the other.

Now, apply this to the case of beautifying Churches:—as is neatness and decency in an individual, such is decoration in a Church; and as we should be offended at slovenliness in an individual, so ought we to be offended at disorder and neglect in our Churches. It is quite true, men are so perverse (as the Pharisees were) that they sometimes attend only to the outward forms, and neglect the inward spirit; they may offer to Him costly furniture and goodly stones, while they are cruel or bigoted;—just as persons may be neat in their own persons and houses, and yet be ill-tempered and quarrelsome. Or, again, they may carry their attention to the outward forms of religion too far, and become superstitious; just as persons may carry on a love of neatness into love of finery. And, moreover, Scripture speaks against the hypocrisy of those who are religious outwardly, while they live in sin,—just as it speaks against those who wash their hands, while their heart is defiled. But still, in spite of all this, propriety in appearance and dress is a virtue,—is next to godliness; and, in like manner, decency and reverence are to be observed in the worship of God, and are next to devotion, in spite of its being true that not all are holy who are grave and severe, not all devout who are munificent.

What Scripture reproves is the inconsistency, or what it more solemnly called the hypocrisy of being fair without and foul within; of being religious in appearance, not in truth. It was one offence not to be religious, it was a second offence to pretend to be religious. "Ye fools," says our Lord, "did not He that made that which is without, make that which is within also?" Such as a man is outwardly, such should he be inwardly. "How can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man, out of the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things; and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things." [Luke xi. 40. Matt. xii. 34, 35.] The light of Divine truth, when in the heart, ought to beam forth outwardly; and when a man is dark within, well were it that he should show himself outwardly what he is. Such as a man is inside, such should be his outside. Well; but do you not see that such a view of doctrine condemns not only those who affect outward religion without inward, but those also who affect inward without outward? For, if it is an inconsistency to pretend to religion outwardly, while we neglect it inwardly, it is also an inconsistency, surely, to neglect it outwardly while we pretend to it inwardly. It is wrong, surely, to believe and not to profess; wrong to put our light under a bushel. St. Paul says expressly, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God had raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." [Rom. x. 9.] Belief is not enough; we must confess. Nor must we confess with our mouth only; but by word and by deed, by speech and by silence, by doing and by not doing, by walk and conversation, when in company and when alone, in time and in place, when we labour and when we rest, when we lie down and when we rise up, in youth and in age, in life and in death,—and, in like manner, in the world and in Church. Now, to adorn the worship of God our Saviour, to make the beauty of holiness visible, to bring offerings to the Sanctuary, to be curious in architecture, and reverent in ceremonies,—all this external religion is a sort of profession and confession; it is nothing but what is natural, nothing but what is consistent, in those who are cultivating the life of religion within. It is most unbecoming, most offensive, in those who are not religious; but most becoming, most necessary, in those who are so.

Persons who put aside gravity and comeliness in the worship of God, that they may pray more spiritually, forget that God is a Maker of all things, visible as well as invisible; that He is the Lord of our bodies as well as of our souls; that He is to be worshipped in public as well as in secret. The Creator of this world is none other than the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; there are not two Gods, one of matter, one of spirit; one of the Law, and one of the Gospel. There is one God, and He is Lord of all we are, and all we have; and, therefore, all we do must be stamped with His seal and signature. We must begin, indeed, with the heart; for out of the heart proceed all good and evil; but while we begin with the heart, we must not end with the heart. We must not give up this visible world, as if it came of the evil one. It is our duty to change it into the kingdom of heaven. We must manifest the kingdom of heaven upon earth. The light of Divine truth must proceed from our hearts, and shine out upon every thing we are, and every thing we do. It must bring the whole man, soul and body, into captivity to Christ. They who are holy in spirit, are holy in body. They who submit their wills to Christ, bow their bodies; they who offer the heart, bow the knee; they who have faith in His Name, bow the head; they who honour His cross inwardly, are not ashamed of it before men. They who rejoice with their brethren in their common salvation, and desire to worship together, build a place to worship in, and they build it as the expression of their feelings, of their mutual love, of their common reverence. They build a building which will, as it were, speak; which will profess and confess Christ their Saviour; which will herald forth His death and passion at first sight; which will remind all who enter that we are saved by His cross, and must bear our Cross after Him. They will build what may tell out their deepest and most sacred thoughts, which they dare not utter in word: not a misshapen building, not a sordid building, but a noble dwelling, a palace all-glorious within; unfit, indeed, for God's high Majesty, whom even the heaven of heavens cannot contain, but fit to express the feelings of the builders,—a monument which may stand and (as it were) preach to all the world while the world lasts; which may show how they desire to praise, bless, and glorify their eternal Benefactor; how they desire to get others to praise Him also; a Temple which may cry out to all passers by, "Oh, magnify the Lord our God, and fall down before His footstool, for He is Holy! Oh, magnify the Lord our God, and worship Him upon His holy hill, for the Lord our God is Holy!" [Ps. xcix. 5, 9.]

This, then, is the real state of the case; and when our Lord blamed the Pharisees as hypocrites, it was not for attending to the outside of the cup, but for not attending to the inside also.

It's probable some of my college professors were this prejudiced...
but if so, they weren't this blatant.
Amazing !
The ruler of a small Muslim country actually donated land for Christian churches to be built there- the first ones since the 600's. Let's all pray that he doesn't catch too much flak from the more insane members of his own faith.

Link courtesy of Katolik Shinja.
They say love makes you do crazy things....
Here's an example.

Link courtesy of Zorak.

The Feast of St. Edward the Confessor
is today. There is information on him here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Happy ordination anniversary ...
to Fr. Ethan!

On October 12, 1845...
Venerable John Henry Newman attended Sunday Mass for the very first time.

On this date in 1856, Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

The Maternity of Mary

1. INTROD.—There is no feast of our Lady which comprehends so much as this. It is a sort of central feast. It connects all that is taught about her in one.

2. A number of feasts look towards it—the [Immaculate] Conception, Birth, Purification, Visitation, Nativity. Her becoming a mother is the scope in which they end. For this all her graces, etc., because she was to be the Mother of God, and a temple set apart for Him.

3. What is meant by being the Mother of God? Mother of the Person of the Son—God's blood—God's flesh, etc., and so God's Mother.

4. So high an office required a due preparation, as St. John the Baptist or the apostles, but much more.

5. And the reward and power [were in] proportion. Monstra te esse Matrem.

6. And thus we are brought to that other set of doctrines included in the Maternity. For she is our mother as well as God's. And thus this feast becomes not only one of the most wonderful, but of the most soothing.

7. Two natures in Christ—so she was mother of Him who was God as well as man. 'Behold I and my children,' etc., Heb. ii. 13.

8. Hence, 'Behold thy Son—[Behold] thy Mother,' John xx.

9. Here is its connection with the seven dolours. Her first birth without pain; her birth of us with pain.

10. It became her who was to be a mother to us, to be so far like other mothers as to have pain.

11. On the constant, unwearied affection of a mother's love; (on many not having experienced it) but nothing extinguishes it. The father gives up the son, brothers despair of him, but she remains faithful to the end, hopes against hope, does not mind slights, ingratitudes, etc.

12. Here you have the maternity of Mary. You cannot weary her, she never reproaches, etc. Therefore do we pray her to help us in the hour of death, for she will not leave us.

13. Especially as men get old and lose their earthly relations and those who knew them when young.

14. Who are our constant friends but our guardian angel, who has been with us since our youth, and Mary, who will be with us to the end?

Jamie has yet more posts on the Essay.

It drives me crazy when people mess with a classic hymn lyric, particularly one written by an Oratorian.

The Feast of St. Wilfrid of York, O.S.B., Bishop
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of Blessed Thomas Bullaker, O.F.M., Priest and Martyr.

Monday, October 11, 2004

On October 11, 1845
John Keble, one of Venerable John Henry Newman's dearest friends, wrote him this letter upon hearing of his conversion to Catholicism.

I had written thus far about a week ago, and then left off for very weariness, and now that I was thinking of going on with my writing I find that the thunderbolt has actually fallen upon us, and you have actually taken the step which we greatly feared. I will not plague you, then, with what I might otherwise have set down—something which passed, directly relating to yourself, in what fell from my dear wife on this day fortnight, when, in perfect tranquillity and self-possession, having received the Holy Communion, she took leave of us all, expecting hourly to sink away. By God's great mercy she revived, and still continues among us, with, I trust, increasing hopes of recovery; but the words which she spoke were such that I must always think of them as of the last words of a saint. Some of them I had thought of reporting to you, but this, at any rate, is not the time.

Wilson has told me how kindly you have been remembering us in our troubles; it was very kind, when you must have so much upon your own mind. Who knows how much good your prayers and those of other absent friends may have done us, both here and at Bisley?—for there, too, as I daresay you know, has been a favourable change, and a more decided one, I imagine, than here; at least their doctor has told them they may make themselves comfortable, which is far beyond anything that has yet been said to us. But his recovery is very, very slow. There, too, as well as here, everything has fallen out so as to foster the delusion, if delusion it be, that we are not quite aliens, not living among unrealities. Yet you have no doubt the other way. It is very mysterious, very bewildering indeed; but, being so, one's duty seems clearly pointed out: to abide where one is, till some new call come upon one. If this were merely my own reason or feeling, I should mistrust it altogether, knowing, alas! that I am far indeed from the person to whom guidance is promised; but when I see the faith of others, such as I know them to be, and so very near to me as God has set them, I am sure that it would be a kind of impiety but to dream of separating from them.

Besides the deep grief of losing you for a guide and helper, and scarce knowing which way to look, ... you may guess what uncomfortable feelings haunt me, as if I, more than anyone else, was answerable for whatever of distress and scandal may occur. I keep on thinking, 'If I had been different, perhaps Newman would have been guided to see things differently, and we might have been spared so many broken hearts and bewildered spirits.' To be sure, that cold, hard way of going on, which I have mentioned to you before, stands my friend at such times, and hinders me, I suppose, from being really distressed; but this is how I feel that I ought to feel, and I tell you ... And now I wish you to help me. That way of help, at any rate, is not forbidden you in respect of any of us.

My dearest Newman, you have been a kind and helpful friend to me in a way in which scarce anyone else could have been, and you are so mixed up in my mind with old and dear and sacred thoughts that I cannot well bear to part with you, most unworthy as I know myself to be. And yet I cannot go along with you. I must cling to the belief that we are not really parted: you have taught me so, and I scarce think you can unteach me. And having relieved my mind with this little word, I will only say, God bless you, and reward you a thousandfold for all your help in every way to me unworthy, and to many others! May you have peace where you are gone, and help us in some way to get peace; but somehow I scarce think it will be in the way of controversy. And so, with somewhat of a feeling as if the spring had been taken out of my year,
I am, always, your affectionate and grateful,

Also, Jamie has two more posts about An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine.

Somewhere up there...
Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin
is throwing a fit.

Link courtesy of Zadok

Strangely enough...
this reminds me of an experience I had. When the Catechism came out, my diocese sponsored a daylong conference on it. It took up half of the building, while the other half was occupied by ... a tattoo convention. Let's just say that lunchtime, held at the facilities in the middle, was an interesting mix. (And I've never forgotten the lady I spotted in the restroom... the one whose open-backed dress displayed a truly spectacular Chinese dragon running all the way down her spine....)
I haven't done one of those silly quizzes in a while...
And this one's result is almost too accurate....
You are starch. You are rigid, opinionated,
hard-willed and not too friendly about it. You
keep people out of places, or you keep them in,
and without you a lot of things would collapse.
It is to be hoped you'll never have the authority to
burn people at the stake. Sir. Ma'am.

Which Biological Molecule Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Quiz courtesy of Flos Carmeli.

The Feast of St. Alexander Sauli,B., Bishop
is today. There is information on him here. It is also the feast of St. Maria Soledad Torres Acosta, Virgin and Foundress. To any Barnabites or Handmaids of Mary Serving the Sick out there, blessed feast day !
In addition, it is the feast of Pope Blessed John XXIII.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

In Oratory news...
Fr. David made an announcement today, after the final blessing but before the Recessional Hymn. This selection from the Oratory website gives the gist:

The Fathers of the Oratory invite you to join them
at the request of our Holy Father in celebrating
The Year of the Eucharist
October 2004-October 2005

We hope you will offer one hour a week to spend time
with the Blessed Sacrament in the W.R. Connelly Chapel.
To learn more about our plans
for daily Eucharistic Adoration, contact us at:

The Newman Center
4450 Bayard Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412 681-3181

During the weekend of October 16-17, 2004
we will distribute sign-up forms after the weekend masses.
Please consider setting aside one hour a week
to be a part of this special devotion.

"The time you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrement is the best time you will spend on earth." --Mother Teresa

The hours available will be:
Monday though Thursday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and 6:30 pm to 9:30 am (Night Vigil)
Saturday, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
This is in addition to Vespers and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, which is held on Sundays at 6:00 pm.

This schedule is to begin on November 1, 2004. If you happen to live in the Pittsburgh area, please consider stopping by to worship Our Lord !
From Discourses to Mixed Congregations
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

O my dear brethren, though your conscience witnesses against you, He can disburden it; whether you have sinned less or whether you have sinned more, He can make you as clean in His sight and as acceptable to Him as if you had never gone from Him. Gradually will He destroy your sinful habits, and at once will He restore you to His favour. Such is the power of the Sacrament of Penance, that, be your load of guilt heavier or be it lighter, it removes it, whatever it is. It is as easy to Him to wash out the many sins as the few. Do you recollect in the Old Testament the history of the cure of Naaman the Syrian, by the prophet Eliseus? He had that dreadful, incurable disease called the leprosy, which was a white crust upon the skin, making the whole person hideous, and typifying the hideousness of sin. The prophet bade him bathe in the river Jordan, and the disease disappeared; "his flesh," says the inspired writer, was "restored to him as the flesh of a little child". Here, then, we have a representation not only of what sin is, but of what God's grace is. It can undo the past, it can realise the hopeless. No sinner, ever so odious, but may become a Saint; no Saint, ever so exalted, but has been, or might have been, a sinner.

Also, a thank-you to Zadok for his Oratorian-related posts.

If it were not Sunday...
it would be the feast of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, O.S.A., Priest. To any Augustinians out there, blessed feast day !
Music at the Noon Mass
Processional Hymn: "Jesus Shall Reign"
Offertory: "Ave Verum" - Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
Communion: "Sacris Solemnis" - Gregorian Chant ( Baritone solo)
Recessional Hymn: "Faith of Our Fathers"