Friday, April 15, 2005

God have mercy...
on the monsters responsible for this.

Link courtesy of the Old Oligarch.
The Feast of St. Hunna
is today. There is information on her here.
It is also the feast of Blessed Damien de Veuster,SS.CC., Priest.
The author Robert Louis Stevenson wrote an eloquent defense of him, which is a bit of a "proto-fisk" of a letter written by a Protestant minister.

My favorite part:

"Damien was COARSE."

It is very possible. You make us sorry for the lepers, who had only a coarse old peasant for their friend and father. But you, who were so refined, why were you not there, to cheer them with the lights of culture? Or may I remind you that we have
some reason to doubt if John the Baptist were genteel; and in the case of Peter,on whose career you doubtless dwell approvingly in the pulpit, no doubt at all he was a "coarse, headstrong" fisherman! Yet even in our Protestant Bibles Peter is called Saint.

"Damien was DIRTY."

He was. Think of the poor lepers annoyed with this dirty comrade! But the clean Dr. Hyde was at his food in a fine house.

"Damien was HEADSTRONG."

I believe you are right again; and I thank God for his strong head and heart.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

On April 14, 1872...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

Faith Failing

1. INTROD.—The good Pastor hardly made Himself known to His disciples than He went to heaven. He went away before men believed in Him.

2. This was His will—'Not to all the people.' Enumerate how few—the most five hundred brethren at once—but then, as it seems, 'some doubted.'

3. For it was His will that 'the just should live by faith,' Hab. ii. 4—and then thrice in St. Paul.

4. Accordingly elsewhere He says, 'We live by faith, not by sight'—Abraham's faith. So our Lord's miracles. And He said, Mark xi. 22-23, 'Have faith in God. Amen I say to you, That whosoever shall say to this mountain, Be thou removed, and cast into the sea; and shall not stagger in his heart, but believe that whatsoever he saith shall be done unto him; it shall be done.'

5. Thus the FOUNDATION of the Church is faith, Matt. xvi. 13-18, and when faith goes the Church goes. The angels: 'Ye men of Galilee ... so also will he come again.'

6. The Church cannot go till faith goes; and as the Church will last as long as the world, therefore when faith dies out the world will come to an end.

7. I repeat few had faith when our Lord went, and few will have faith when He comes again. The foundation of the Church.

8. Hence the words, Luke—'Shall He find faith on earth?'

9. All this makes us look to the future, especially when there is a failure of faith.

10. The prophecies distinctly declare a failing of faith.

11. On listening to prophecies in circulation —not to be trusted.

12. Of course I am not denying that holy people, nuns, etc., sometimes prophesy, but Scripture is surer, 2 Peter. Of course it requires an interpreter, but still there is something to guide us in the literal text.

13. The awful future—'of that day and hour knoweth no one'—but it is profitable to read the words of Scripture, though we but partially understand them.
The Feast of St. Peter Gonzales, O.P., Priest
is today. There is information on him here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

From Discourses to Mixed Congregations
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Men do not become Catholics, because they have not faith. Now you may ask me, how this is saying more than that men do not believe the Catholic Church because they do not believe it; which is saying nothing at all. Our Lord, for instance, says, "He who cometh to Me shall not hunger, and he who believeth in Me shall never thirst";—to believe then and to come are the same thing. If they had faith, of course they would join the Church, for the very meaning, the very exercise of faith, is joining the Church. But I mean something more than this: faith is a state of mind, it is a particular mode of thinking and acting, which is exercised, always indeed towards God, but in very various ways. Now I mean to say, that the multitude of men in this country have not this habit or character of mind. We could conceive, for instance, their believing in their own religions, even if they did not believe in the Church; this would be faith, though a faith improperly directed; but they do not believe even their own religions; they do not believe in anything at all. It is a definite defect in their minds: as we might say that a person had not the virtue of meekness, or of liberality, or of prudence, quite independently of this or that exercise of the virtue, so there is such a religious virtue as faith, and there is such a defect as the absence of it. Now I mean to say that the great mass of men in this country have not this particular virtue called faith, have not this virtue at all. As a man might be without eyes or without hands, so they are without faith; it is a distinct want or fault in their soul; and what I say is, that since they have not this faculty of religious belief, no wonder they do not embrace that, which cannot really be embraced without it. They do not believe any teaching at all in any true sense; and therefore they do not believe the Church in particular.
The Christian Carnival...
is up. Many of the posts are by non-Catholic Christians, and thus may not be in conformity to the teachings of the Church.
The Feast of Pope St. Martin I, Martyr
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of St. Hermengild, Martyr, Blessed Margaret of Castello, Virgin, and Blessed John Lockwood, Priest and Martyr.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman

Men, perhaps, suffer in various diseases more than the martyrs did, but they cannot help themselves. Again, it has frequently happened that men have been persecuted for their religion without having expected it, or being able to avert it. These in one sense indeed are martyrs; and we naturally think affectionately of those who have suffered in our cause, whether voluntarily or not. But this was not the case with the primitive martyrs. They knew beforehand clearly enough the consequences of preaching the Gospel; they had frequent warnings brought home to them of the sufferings in store for them, if they persevered in their labours of brotherly love. Their Lord and Master had suffered before them; and, besides suffering Himself, had expressly foretold their sufferings; "If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you." [John xv. 20.] They were repeatedly warned and strictly charged by the chief priests and rulers, not to preach in Christ's name. They had experience of lesser punishments from their adversaries in earnest of the greater; and at length they saw their brethren, one by one, slain for persevering in their faithfulness to Christ. Yet they continued to keep the faith, though they might be victims of their obedience any day.

All this must be considered when we speak of their sufferings. They lived under a continual trial, a daily exercise of faith, which we, living in peaceable times, can scarcely understand. Christ had said to His Apostles, "Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat." [Luke xxii. 31.] Consider what is meant by sifting, which is a continued agitation, a shaking about to separate the mass of corn into two parts. Such was the early discipline inflicted on the Church. No mere sudden stroke came upon it; but it was solicited day by day, in all its members, by every argument of hope and fear, by threats and inducements, to desert Christ. This was the lot of the martyrs. Death, their final suffering, was but the consummation of a life of anticipated death. Consider how distressing anxiety is; how irritating and wearing it is to be in constant excitement, with the duty of maintaining calmness and steadiness in the midst of it; and how especially inviting any prospect of tranquillity would appear in such circumstances; and then we shall have some notion of a Christian's condition, under a persecuting heathen government. I put aside for the present the peculiar reproach and contempt which was the lot of the primitive Church, and their actual privations. Let us merely consider them as harassed, shaken as wheat in a sieve. Under such circumstances, the stoutest hearts are in danger of failing. They could steel themselves against certain definite sufferings, or prepare themselves to meet one expected crisis; but they yield to the incessant annoyance which the apprehension of persecution, and the importunity of friends inflict on them. They sigh for peace; they gradually come to believe that the world is not so wrong as some men say it is, and that it is possible to be over-strict and over-nice. They learn to temporize and to be double-minded. First one falls, then another; and such instances come as an additional argument for concession to those that remain firm as yet, who of course feel dispirited, lonely, and begin to doubt the correctness of their own judgment; while, on the other hand, those who have fallen, in self-defence become their tempters. Thus the Church is sifted, the cowardly falling off, the faithful continuing firm, though in dejection and perplexity. Among these latter are the martyrs; not accidental victims, taken at random, but the picked and choice ones, the elect remnant, a sacrifice well pleasing to God, because a costly gift, the finest wheat flour of the Church: men who have been warned what to expect from their profession, and have had many opportunities of relinquishing it, but have "borne and had patience, and for Christ's name sake have laboured, and have not fainted." [Rev. ii. 3.] Such was St. Stephen, not entrapped into a confession and slain (as it were) in ambuscade, but boldly confronting his persecutors, and, in spite of circumstances that foreboded death, awaiting their fury. And if martyrdom in early times was not the chance and unexpected death of those who happened to profess the Christian faith, much less is it to be compared to the sufferings of disease, be they greater or not. No one is maintaining that the mere undergoing pain is a great thing. A man cannot help himself when in pain; he cannot escape from it, be he as desirous to do so as he may. The devils bear pain against their will. But to be a martyr, is to feel the storm coming, and willingly to endure it at the call of duty, for Christ's sake, and for the good of the brethren; and this is a kind of firmness which we have no means of displaying at the present day, though our deficiency in it may be, and is continually evidenced, as often as we yield (which is not seldom) to inferior and ordinary temptations.
The Catholic Carnival...
is up.
As I have noted before...
April 12, 1822 was an important day in the life of Venerable John Henry Newman.
The Feast of Pope St. Julius I
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of Blessed William Ward, Priest and Martyr.

Monday, April 11, 2005

On April 11, 1858...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

The Church

1. INTROD.—Last week I spoke of one of those great and august works with which our Lord followed up the great Act of Sacrifice, viz. the foundation of His Church. Nor can there be a more suitable time than this season to speak of it, considering it was the chief concern, as far as we know, of the forty days; vide the gospel of this day.

2. Now in this we differ from all other religions about us. They all profess to have the truth as well as we profess it, but there is one thing they do not profess, viz. that their religious society is founded by Almighty God. We do of ours.

3. And since they do not profess it, they will not let us have what they have not themselves.

4. State the doctrine. We profess, not only our religion, but our society to come from Almighty God; we profess it to be divine. We profess it to have a multitude of privileges, etc.

5. Now you may be asked sometimes by a serious objector, sometimes by an inquirer, how it is that we know that the Church comes from God? I answer that it bears the proof of it to all serious men on its very face, if they will but be patient to examine; and I will say how.

6. I said on Good Friday concerning the world that its strength is in the look of things. Men associate together, say the same thing, and seem strong. They keep up appearances. But there is an inside to things as well as an outside. And here is the weakness of the world as a prophet, that it does not touch the inside.

7. Men cannot live for ever on externals. They have heart, affections and aspirations, and the world cannot satisfy these. They have a conscience; they sin, and need direction.

8. Now this is what our Saviour, when on earth, did for His disciples; and thus He attached them to Him. He was a living object of worship—(1) He gave pardon; (2) He gave direction.

9. When He went, He said He would not leave them orphans.

10. This was fulfilled in the Church: (1) pardon, (2) direction, (3) presence—(enlarge).

11. Hence suited to our need—(enlarge).

12. Faith only requisite.
The Feast of St. Stanislaus of Cracow, Bishop and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here.

It is also the feast of St. Gemma Galgani, Virgin. To all the Passionists out there, blessed feast day !

Sunday, April 10, 2005

From Meditations and Devotions
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

My Lord Jesus, how wonderful were those conversations which Thou didst hold from time to time with Thy disciples after Thy resurrection. When Thou wentest with two of them to Emmaus, Thou didst explain all the prophecies which related to Thyself. And Thou didst commit to the Apostles the Sacraments in fulness, and the truths which it was Thy will to reveal, and the principles and maxims by which Thy Church was to be maintained and governed. And thus Thou didst prepare them against the day of Pentecost (as the risen bodies were put into shape for the Spirit in the Prophet's Vision), when life and illumination was to be infused into them. I will think over all Thou didst say to them with a true and simple faith. The "kingdom of God" was Thy sacred subject. Let me never for an instant forget that Thou hast established on earth a kingdom of Thy own, that the Church is Thy work, Thy establishment, Thy instrument; that we are under Thy rule, Thy laws and Thy eye—that when the Church speaks Thou dost speak. Let not familiarity with this wonderful truth lead me to be insensible to it—let not the weakness of Thy human representatives lead me to forget that it is Thou who dost speak and act through them. It was just when Thou wast going away, that then Thou didst leave this kingdom of Thine to take Thy place on to the end of the world, to speak for Thee, as Thy visible form, when Thy Personal Presence, sensible to man, was departing. I will in true loving faith bring Thee before me, teaching all the truths and laws of this kingdom to Thy Apostles, and I will adore Thee, while in my thoughts I gaze upon Thee and listen to Thy words.
If it were not Sunday...
today would be the feast of St. Michael de Sanctis,O.SS.T., Priest.
A blessed feast day to all the Trinitarians out there !
Please pray...
I received some extremely disturbing news today. Please pray that the situation may be resolved in a way which will be to the greater glory of God.
Music at Noon Mass
Processional Hymn: "The Strife is O'er, The Battle Done"
Offertory: "Cantate Domino" - Guiseppe Ottavio Pitoni (1657-1743)
Communion: "I Met the Good Shepherd"- L.M. Smith
Recessional Hymn: "Crown Him with Many Crowns"

The words to the Offertory were written by
Fr. Edward Caswall of the Birmingham Oratory:

I met the Good Shepherd, just now on the plain,
As homeward He carried His lost one again;
I marveled how gently His burden He bore;
And as He passed by me, I knelt to adore.

O Shepherd, Good Shepherd, Thy wounds they are deep;
The wolves have sore hurt Thee in saving Thy sheep.
Thy raiment all over with crimson is dyed;
And what is this rent they have made in Thy side?

O Shepherd, Good Shepherd, and is it for me
This grievous affliction has fallen on Thee?
Ah, then let me strive, for the love Thou hast borne,
To give Thee no longer occassion to mourn!