Friday, June 17, 2005

Fr. Rob ...
has a fine post on the Terri Schiavo autopsy.
The Feast of St. Albert Chmielowski, Founder
is today. There is information on him here. His life was the basis for a play written by the late Holy Father, which was later made into a movie.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

On June 16, 1848...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., wrote a letter to a friend, who was considering entering the Church:

My dear Mrs. Froude,—
I answer your kind and touching letter just received immediately. How could you suppose I do not feel the warmest attachment and the most affectionate thoughts towards you and yours?

And now first about myself, since you are kindly anxious about me. It is my handwriting that distresses you; but it has been so for years. I seem to have sprained some muscles. I can't put my finger on the place—but I never write without some pain. And it does not seem that there is any help.

'As to health, I never was better or so well. The only indisposition is that I am always tired, but that I think is merely owing to the growth of years. As time goes on too, one's features grow more heavy. At least I feel it an effort to brighten up. Or rather, I believe those long years of anxiety have stamped themselves on my face—and now that they are at an end, yet I cannot change what has become a physical effect.

And now you know all about me, as far as I am able, or can get myself, to talk of myself. I will but add that the Hand of God is most wonderfully on me, that I am full of blessing and privilege, that I never have had even the temptation for an instant to feel a misgiving about the great step I took in 1845, that the hollowness of High Churchism (or whatever it is called) is to me so very clear that it surprises me, (not that persons should not see it at once) but that any should not see it at last, and, also, I must add that I do not think it safe for any one who does see it, not to action his conviction of it at once.

'Oh—that I were near you, and could have a talk with you—but then I should need great grace to know what to say to you. This is one thing that keeps me silent, it is, dear friend, because I don't know what to say to you. If I had more faith, I should doubtless know well enough; I should then say, "Come to the Church, and you will find all you seek." I have myself found all I seek. "I have all and abound"—my every want has been supplied, and as it has in all persons, whom I know at all well, who have become Catholics,—but still the fidget comes on me, "what if they fall? What if they go back? What if they find their faith tried? what if they relax into a lukewarm state? what if they do not fall into prudent and good hands?" It is strange I should say so, when I have instances of the comfort and peace of those very persons for whom I feared on their conversions.

But I will tell you what I think on the whole, though you do not ask me, in two sentences; 1. that it is the duty of those who feel themselves called towards the Church to obey it; 2. that they must expect trial, when in it, and think it only so much gain when they have it not. This last indeed is nothing more than the spirit moving, "when thou come to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation."

I would not bring anyone into the Church on the ground which you put as against the Church of England, viz: that all hopes are failing. Not that I do not value, not that I do not now feel, the stimulus which comes from bright prospects, but that one ought not to come, if it can be helped, on such inferior grounds. Now this world is a world of trouble. You must come to the Church, not to avoid it, but to save your soul. If this is the motive, all is right. You cannot be disappointed, but the other motive is dangerous.

I was thinking of you this morning, when I said Mass. Oh that you were safe in the True Fold. I think you will be one day. You will then have the blessedness of seeing God face to face. You will have the blessedness of finding when you enter a Church, a Treasure Unutterable, the Presence of the Eternal Word Incarnate, the Wisdom of the Father who, even when He had done His work, would not leave us, but rejoices still to humble Himself by abiding in places on earth, for our sakes, while He reigns not the less on the right hand of God. To know too that you are in the Communion of Saints, to know that you have cast your lot among all those Blessed Servants of God who are the choice fruit of His Passion, that you have their intercessions on high, that you may address them, and above all the Glorious Mother of God, what thoughts can be greater than these? And to feel yourself surrounded by all holy arms and defences, with the Sacraments week by week, with the Priests' Benedictions, with crucifixes and rosaries which have been blessed, with holy water, with places or with acts to which Indulgences have been attached, and the "whole Armour of God"—and to know that, when you die, you will not be forgotten, that you will be sent out of the world with the holy unctions upon you, and will be followed with masses and prayers; to know in short that the Atonement of Christ is not a thing at a distance, or like the sun standing ever against us and separated off from us, but that we are surrounded by an atmosphere and are in a medium, through which His warmth and light flow in upon us on every side, what can one ask, what can one desire, more than this?

Yet I do not disguise that Catholicism is a different religion from Anglicanism. You must come to learn that religion which the Apostles introduced and which was in the world long before the Reformation was dreamed of, but a religion not so easy and natural to you, or congenial, because you have been bred up in another from your youth.

Excuse all this, as you will, my dear Mrs. Froude, and excuse the rambling character of this whole letter, and believe me,
Ever yours most affectionately
The Anchoress...
has a good post on the Terri Schiavo autopsy.
The Feast of Benno, Bishop
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of St. Julitta, Widow and Martyr and St. Cyriacus of Iconium, Martyr.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

On June 15th, 1882...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., wrote to a friend. In a previous letter, she had sadly informed him that a mutual friend had left the Church- indeed, he had given up on faith in Christ altogether.

I do really think it an epidemic, and wonderfully catching. It does not spread by the reason, but by the imagination. The imagination presents a possible, plausible view of things which haunts and at length overcomes the mind. We begin by asking "How can we be sure that it is not so?" and this thought hides from the mind the real rational grounds on which our faith is founded. Then our faith goes, and how in the world is it ever to be regained, except by a wonderful grant of God's grace. May God keep us all from this terrible deceit of the latter days. What is coming upon us? I look with keen compassion on the next generation and with, I may say, awe.
The Catholic Carnival
is up.
The Feast of St. Germaine Cousin, Virgin
is today. There is information on her here.
It is also the feast of St. Vitus, Martyr, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

by Venerable John Henry Newman

I bow at Jesu's name, for 'tis the Sign
Of awful mercy towards a guilty line.
Of shameful ancestry, in birth defiled,
And upwards from a child
Full of unlovely thoughts and rebel aims
And scorn of judgment-flames,
How without fear can I behold my Life,
The Just assailing sin, and death-stain'd in the

And so, albeit His woe is our release,
Thought of that woe aye dims our earthly peace;
The Life is hidden in a Fount of Blood!
And this is tidings good
For souls, who, pierced that they have caused
that woe,
Are fain to share it too:
But for the many, clinging to their lot
Of worldly ease and sloth, 'tis written "Touch Me

Off Monte Pelegrino.
June 14, 1833
The Feast of St. Joseph the Hymnographer
is today. There is information on him here.

Monday, June 13, 2005

From Faith and Prejudice and Other Unpublished Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

All of us who live in this mortal life, have our troubles. You have your troubles, but when you are in trouble, and the waves seem to mount high, and to be soon to overwhelm you, make an act of faith, an act of hope, in your God and Saviour. He calls you to Him who has His mouth and His hands full of blessings for you. He says: "Come unto Me, all that labour and are laden, and I will refresh you" (Matt. 11). "All ye that thirst," He cries out by His prophet, "come ye to the waters, and ye that have no money, haste ye, buy, and eat." Never let the thought come into your mind that God is a hard master, a severe master. It is true the day will come when He will come as a just Judge, but now is the time of mercy. Improve it and make the most of the time of grace. "Behold now is the acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation." This is the day of hope, this is the day of work, this is the day of activity. "The night cometh when no man can work," but we are children of the light and of the day, and therefore despondency, coldness of heart, fear, sluggishness are sins in us. Temptations indeed come on you to murmur, but resist them, drive them aside, pray God to help you with His mighty grace. He allows no temptation to befall us which He does not give us grace to surmount. Do not let your hope give way, but "lift up the languid hands and the relaxed knees" (Heb. 12). "Lose not your confidence, which hath a great reward" (Heb. 10). Seek His face who ever dwells in real and bodily presence in His Church. Do at least as much as what the disciples did. They had but little faith, they feared, they had not any great confidence and peace, but at least they did not keep away from Christ. They did not sit still sullenly, but they came to Him. Alas, our very best state is not higher than the Apostles' worst state. Our Lord blamed them as having little faith, because they cried out to Him. I wish we Christians of this day did as much as this. I wish we went as far as to cry out to Him in alarm. I wish we had only as much faith and hope as that which Christ thought so little in His first disciples. At least imitate the apostles in their weakness, if you can't imitate them in their strength. If you can't act as saints, at least act as Christians. Do not keep from Him, but, when you are in trouble, come to Him day by day asking Him earnestly and perseveringly for those favours which He alone can give.
The Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, O.F.M., Priest and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

From the homily...
Fr. David was the celebrant at Noon Mass today. What I remember best from his homily is his remarks stating that the translation of the Gospel reading tones down some of the actual words, making it more palatable- and less powerful. He gave two examples. The first was "Jesus' heart was moved with pity", which is, in a more literal translation, "Jesus's 'bowels'"- the depths of His being, were moved with pity for the crowds. The other was that the crowds were "were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd." One of the words would be more closely rendered as "mangled"- something that would fairly quickly happen to sheep left shepherdless in those days. The scene to be pictured is not some sheep simply wandering in the wrong place, but bloodied sheep, wounded by wolves, whose Shepherd is viscerally anguished over their plight- which corresponds more to the reality of the devastation sin causes in human lives and the depths of Christ's love for us than the image of a few straying lambs.
If it were not Sunday...
today would be the feast of Pope St. Leo III, St. John of Sahagun, O.S.A., Priest, and St. Gaspar Bertoni,C.S.S., Priest and Founder.. To any Augustinians or Stigmatines out there, blessed feast day !