Saturday, July 02, 2005

This week's Rat of the Week...
is just too cute !
From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman

Esau was profane in selling his birthright, he was presumptuous in claiming the blessing. Afterwards, indeed, he did repent, but when it was too late. And I fear such as Esau was of old time, such are too many Christians now. They despise God's blessings when they are young, and strong, and healthy; then, when they get old, or weak, or sick, they do not think of repenting, but they think they may take and enjoy the privileges of the Gospel as a matter of course, as if the sins of former years went for nothing. And then, perhaps, death comes upon them; and then after death, when it is too late, they would fain repent. Then they utter a great, bitter, and piercing cry to God; and when they see happy souls ascending towards heaven in the fulness of Gospel blessings, they say to their offended God, "Bless me, even me also, O my Father."

Is it not, I say, quite a common case for men and for women to neglect religion in their best days? They have been baptized, they have been taught their duty, they have been taught to pray, they know their Creed, their conscience has been enlightened, they have opportunity to come to Church. This is their birthright, the privileges of their birth of water and of the Spirit; but they sell it, as Esau did. They are tempted by Satan with some bribe of this world, and they give up their birthright in exchange for what is sure to perish, and to make them perish with it. Esau was tempted by the mess of pottage which he saw in Jacob's hands. Satan arrested the eyes of his lust, and he gazed on the pottage, as Eve gazed on the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve sold their birthright for the fruit of a tree—that was their bargain. Esau sold his for a mess of lentils—that was his. And men now-a-days often sell theirs, not indeed for any thing so simple as fruit or herbs, but for some evil gain or other, which at the time they think worth purchasing at any price; perhaps for the enjoyment of some particular sin, or more commonly for the indulgence of general carelessness and spiritual sloth, because they do not like a strict life, and have no heart for God's service. And thus they are profane persons, for they despise the great gift of God.
The library will be closed tommorow...
and Monday, so I probably won't be blogging.
The Feast of St. Bernardine Realino, S.J., Priest
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of St. Otto of Bamberg, Bishop, and St. Swithun, Bishop.

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Feast of Blessed Junipero Serra, O.F.M., Priest
is today. There is information on him here. As he is the patron of the Serra Clubs, prayer for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life would be appropriate.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Catholic Carnival

is up.
The Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles and Martyrs
is today. There is information on them here and here.

Too many persons at this day,—in spite of what they see before them, in spite of what they read in history,—too many persons forget, or deny, or do not know, that Christ has set up a kingdom in the world. In spite of the prophecies, in spite of the Gospels and Epistles, in spite of their eyes and their ears,—whether it be their sin or their misfortune, so it is,—they do not obey Him in that way in which it is His will that He should be obeyed. They do not obey Him in His Kingdom; they think to be His people, without being His subjects. They determine to serve Him in their own way; and though He has formed His chosen into one body, they think to separate from that body, yet to remain in the number of the chosen.

Far different is the doctrine suggested to us by the text. In St. Peter, who is there made the rock on which the Church is founded, we see, as in a type, its unity, stability, and permanence. It is set up in one name, not in many, to show that it is one; and that name is Peter, to show that it will last, or, as the Divine Speaker proceeds, that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." In like manner, St. Paul calls it "the pillar and ground of the truth." [1 Tim. iii. 15.]

Venerable John Henry Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Feast of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Bishop and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here.

Take a large view of the faith of Christians during the centuries before Constantine established their religion. Is there any family likeness in it to Protestantism? Look at it, as existing during that period in different countries, and is it not one and the same, and a reiteration of itself, as well as singularly unlike Reformed Christianity? Hermas with his visions, Ignatius with his dogmatism, Irenæus with his praise of tradition and of the Roman See, Clement with his allegory and mysticism, Cyprian with his "Out of the Church is no salvation," and Methodius with his praise of Virginity, all of them writers between the first and fourth centuries , and witnesses of the faith of Rome, Africa, Gaul, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, certainly do not represent the opinions of Luther and Calvin. They stretch over the whole of Christendom; they are consistent with each other; they coalesce into one religion; but it is not the religion of the Reformation. When we ask, "Where was your Church before Luther?" Protestants answer, "Where were you this morning before you washed your face?" But, if Protestants can clean themselves into the likeness of Cyprian or Irenæus, they must scrub very hard....

Venerable John Henry Newman, Historical Sketches, Volume I

It is also the feast of Pope St. Paul I, and St. John Southworth, Priest and Martyr.

Monday, June 27, 2005

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman

We are no longer then in the region of shadows: we have the true Saviour set before us, the true reward, and the true means of spiritual renewal. We know the true state of the soul by nature and by grace, the evil of sin, the consequences of sinning, the way of pleasing God, and the motives to act upon. God has revealed Himself clearly to us; He has "destroyed the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations." "The darkness is past, and the True Light now shineth." [Isa. xxv. 7. 1 John ii. 8.] And therefore, I say, He calls upon us in turn to "walk in the light as He is in the light." The Pharisees might have this excuse in their hypocrisy, that the plain truth had not been revealed to them; we have not even this poor reason for insincerity. We have no opportunity of mistaking one thing for another: the promise is expressly made to us that "our teachers shall not be removed into a corner any more, but our eyes shall see our teachers;" that "the eyes of them that see shall not be dim;" that every thing shall be called by its right name; that "the vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful;" [Isa. xxx. 20; xxxii. 3, 5.] in a word, as the text speaks, that "our eyes shall see the king in His beauty; we shall behold the land that is very far off." Our professions, our creeds, our prayers, our dealings, our conversation, our arguments, our teaching must henceforth be sincere, or, to use an expressive word, must be real. What St. Paul says of himself and his fellow-laborers, that they were true because Christ is true, applies to all Christians: "Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward, ... The things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, ... was not yea and nay, but in Him was yea. For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." [2 Cor. i. 12-20.]

And yet it need scarcely be said, nothing is so rare as honesty and singleness of mind; so much so, that a person who is really honest, is already perfect. Insincerity was an evil which sprang up within the Church from the first; Ananias and Simon were not open opposers of the Apostles, but false brethren. And, as foreseeing what was to be, our Saviour is remarkable in His ministry for nothing more than the earnestness of the dissuasives which He addressed to those who came to Him, against taking up religion lightly, or making promises which they were likely to break.

Thus He, "the True Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God," [John i. 9. Rev. iii. 14.] said to the young Ruler, who lightly called Him "Good Master," "Why callest thou Me good?" as bidding him weigh his words; and then abruptly told him, "One thing thou lackest." When a certain man professed that he would follow Him whithersoever He went, He did not respond to him, but said, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head." When St. Peter said with all his heart in the name of himself and brethren, "To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life," He answered pointedly, "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" as if He said, "Answer for thyself." When the two Apostles professed their desire to cast their lot with Him, He asked whether they could "drink of His cup, and be baptized with His baptism." And when "there went great multitudes with Him," He turned and said, that unless a man hated relations, friends, and self, he could not be His disciple. And then he proceeded to warn all men to "count the cost" ere they followed Him. Such is the merciful severity with which He repels us that He may gain us more truly. And what He thinks of those who, after coming to Him, relapse into a hollow and hypocritical profession, we learn from His language towards the Laodiceans: "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will cast thee out of My mouth." [Mark x. 17-21. Matt. viii. 20. John vi. 68-70. Matt. xx. 22. Luke xiv. 25-28. Rev. iii. 15, 16.]
Laita Eru !
It seems that Dawn is on her way into the Church.
The Feast of St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

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

In the Old Testament the Levites are praised because they knew not father or mother, when duty to God came in the way. "Who said to his father and to his mother, I know you not, and to his brothers, I am ignorant of you" (Deut. 33). "They knew not their children." If such was the conduct of the sacerdotal tribe under the Law, well did it become the great and one Priest of the New Covenant to give a pattern of that virtue which was found and rewarded in Levi. He too Himself has said, "He who loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me." And He tells us that "every one who hath left home or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for His name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold and shall possess eternal life" (Matt. 19). It became then Him who gave the precept to set the example, and as He told his followers to leave all they had for the Kingdom's sake, in His own Person to do all that He could, to leave all He had, to leave His home and His Mother, when He had to preach the Gospel.
If it were not Sunday...
today would be the feast of St. Josemaria Escriva . To any members of Opus Dei out there, blessed feast day !