Friday, June 24, 2005

The Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
is today. There is information on him here.

Our Saviour says, that though "among those that were born of women, there was not a greater than John the Baptist, yet he that was least in the kingdom of heaven," that is, the Christian Church, "was greater than he." This is explained by our being told by the Evangelist, that the Spirit was not given till Christ was glorified. St. John "was filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb;" [Luke i. 15.] yet even this extraordinary gift was as nothing compared with that Presence of the Spirit which Christ's followers received, and by which they are regenerated. It is indeed a double, or rather a sevenfold portion of the Spirit, and gives us powers, in proportion to our faith, above all that we can anticipate or comprehend. This then is a first point of resemblance. Christ's followers, like Elisha, begin their divine career from the waters of Jordan, with the power of the Holy Ghost upon them.

Venerable John Henry Newman, Sermons Bearing on Subjects of the Day

It is also the feast of St. Joseph Yuen, Priest and Martyr.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

From Historical Sketches, Volume III
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

There never was, perhaps, in the history of this tumultuous world, prosperity so great, so far-spreading, so lasting, as that which began throughout the vast Empire of Rome, at the time when the Prince of Peace was born into it. Preternatural as was the tyranny of certain of the Cæsars, it did not reach the mass of the population; and the reigns of the Five good Emperors, who succeeded them, are proverbs of wise and gentle government. The sole great exception to this universal happiness was the cruel persecution of the Christians; the sufferings of a whole world fell and were concentrated on them, and the children of heaven were tormented, that the sons of men might enjoy their revel. Their Lord, while His shadow brought peace upon earth, foretold that in the event He came to send "not peace but a sword;" and that sword was first let loose upon His own people. "Judgment commenced with the House of God;" and though, as time went on, it left Jerusalem behind, and began to career round the world and sweep the nations as it travelled on, nevertheless, as if by some paradox of Providence, it seemed at first, that truth and wretchedness had "met together," and sin and prosperity had "kissed one another." The more the heathens enjoyed themselves, the more they scorned, hated, and persecuted their true Light and true Peace. They persecuted Him, for the very reason that they had little else to do; happy and haughty, they saw in Him the sole drawback, the sole exception, the sole hindrance, to a universal, a continual sunshine; they called Him "the enemy of the human race:" and they felt themselves bound, by their loyalty to the glorious and immortal memory of their forefathers, by their traditions of state, and their duties towards their children, to trample upon, and, if they could, to stifle that teaching, which was destined to be the life and mould of a new world.
The Feast of St. John Fisher, Bishop, Cardinal, and Martyr, and St. Thomas More, Martyr
is today. There is information on them here and here. See my previous posts for quotes from them.
Also, today is the anniversary of the ordination of Fr. Bryan Summers of the Pittsburgh Oratory to the priesthood. Ad multos annos, Fr. Bryan !
(BTW, he has said that he deliberately chose the date to fall on this feast- as a former Anglican, he thought it only appropriate !)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

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

Such are those who feel a disdain and hatred of the truth. It is an awful thing to say, but we see it before our eyes how many people there are who hate the doctrine which Christ revealed and the Church teaches. Of course many do so in mere ignorance, and would feel and act otherwise, if they had the opportunity. But there are those, and not a few, who scorn and are irritated at the preaching of the word of life, and spurn it from them. It has been so from the beginning. Cain slew Abel; Joseph was stripped and sold by his brethren; David was hated by Saul; and above all our Lord was spat upon and put to death by the Jews. "He came unto His own and His own received Him not." And as He was abominated and cast out by a sinful generation, so, since He has departed, His word is abominated by the world still. Sometimes it is for want of love. You hear people revile the Church, ridicule the most sacred things, get angry directly they are mentioned, frown and change countenance, nay shake all over when they see a priest, suspect everything that is shocking and detestable as the characteristic of monk or nun, and spread from a deep prejudice the most untrue stories. Sometimes from want of faith; they think it quite wonderful, beyond expression strange and marvellous, that men can be found to believe this or that doctrine; they won't believe they can; they think they pretend to believe what they don't; they look upon all educated Catholics as hypocrites—and sometimes it arises from a bad conscience and impatience at being told their duty. Our Lord bids us not cast our pearls before swine, but they trample them under their feet. This is what carnal, sensual people do. They wish to live their own way; they do not like to be warned of hell and judgement, and when the warning voice comes to them, they rise up against it, and think it a personal offence to themselves that it declares the truth of God. They put their foot upon it, and tread out the heavenly flame.
The Catholic Carnival
is up.
The Feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, S.J.
is today. There is information on him here.

It is also the feast of St. John Rigby, Martyr.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Zeal and Meekness
by Venerable John Henry Newman

Christ bade His followers take the sword;
And yet He chid the deed,
When Peter seized upon His word,
And made a foe to bleed.

The gospel Creed, a sword of strife,
Meek hands alone may rear;
And ever Zeal begins its life
In silent thought and fear.

Ye, who would weed the Vineyard's soil,
Treasure the lesson given;
Lest in the judgment-books ye toil
For Satan, not for heaven.

Off Sardinia.
June 20, 1833.
The Feast of St. Adalbert of Magdeburg, O.S.B., Archbishop
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of Pope St. Silverio, Martyr, St. Alban, Martyr, Blessed John Fenwick, S.J., Priest and Martyr,Blessed John Gavan, S.J., Priest and Martyr, and Blessed Anthony Turner, S.J., Priest and Martyr.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

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

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.
It's Fathers' Day ...
God bless all the dads out there. I offer this prayer for my own father, Alexander James Lewis....

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.