Friday, February 10, 2006

Now this....
is one tough mama !
On February 10th, 1869...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., wrote to his old friend, Sr. Maria Pia Giberne, about his decision not to be a peritus at the First Vatican Council.

Don't be annoyed. I am more happy as I am, than in any other way. I can't bear the kind of trouble which I should have, if I were brought forward in any public way. Recollect, I could not be in the Council, unless I were a Bishop—and really and truly I am not a theologian. A theologian is one who has mastered theology—who can say how many opinions there are on every point, what authors have taken which, and which is the best—who can discriminate exactly between proposition and proposition, argument and argument, who can pronounce which are safe, which allowable, which dangerous—who can trace the history of doctrines in successive centuries, and apply the principles of former times to the conditions of the present. This it is to be a theologian—this and a hundred things besides—which I am not, and never shall be. Like St. Gregory Nazianzen, I like going on my own way, and having my time my own, living without pomp or state, or pressing engagements. Put me into official garb, and I am worth nothing; leave me to myself, and every now and then I shall do something. Dress me up, and you will soon have to make my shroud—leave me alone, and I shall live the appointed time.
The Feast of St. Scholastica, O.S.B., Virgin
is today. There is information on her here. A blessed feast day to all the Benedictines out there, especially those of St. Vincent Archabbey and St. Emma Monastery !

Thursday, February 09, 2006

On February 9th, 1851...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:
On the Descent into Egypt

1. INTROD.—There is one subject not much thought of, the descent into Egypt, though belonging to this season, and it may be accounted one of the Epiphanies of Christ. (1) Magi; (2) purification; (3) idol-breaking in Egypt, for as the Ark levelling the walls of Jericho, and [overthrowing] Dagon, so much more Christ.

2. Circumstances. How one journey to Bethlehem—then they got home to Nazareth—not enough, must set out again. It is remarkable that these first years were spent in a heathen country. There till seven years old.

3. Now why? I will give you a reason. He would undergo every suffering; He would be in a heathen country to share the trials of His apostles and missioners. In Jerusalem was the Temple of God, in the Holy Land His religion; but even there He chose not the Temple, but Nazareth—and the first years of His life Heliopolis, in heathen Egypt.

4. Now it must not be supposed that our Lord was too young to have a trial. (Explain.) Ignorance came from the fall. He was as sensitive [in childhood] as [we] when we are grown. Thus He saw all the evil of the place; and as His body made Him feel in the crucifixion, so His soul was exposed to moral sufferings from the first.

5. And the suffering was greater than we conceive. To live among heathens is a misery, the greater, the purer the mind—Lot in Sodom, St. Paul at Athens—the world is everywhere, and we can understand from a country which is not heathen, such as this, how evil it is, though it would be a great deal worse [among heathens].

6. Even in this country, I say, which is not heathen, the misery of being in the world is great to any holy mind. Take e.g. a city like this, and fancy the thoughts of an apostle in it. Could he go about it freely? A continual service of the devil here. How? By sins of the tongue; not like the seven Catholic Hours coming at intervals, but incessantly; a continual light talk in a thousand places, from morning to night, with scarce breaks. Who is honoured like the devil? Blasphemy and immodesty, so that most men's mouths and all men's ears are polluted from year to year's end. And are not their hearts too? Then imagination. Alas! this is why the devil loves the bad talk; it is the pabulum, the silva of corruption; it sets the heart on fire, as shavings round the wood and coal for a fire. I don't know anything more awful. Other sins men commit from time to time, but this one now. The evil concupiscence boils over and burns without exhaustion, and involves every one, so that religious people are like the Three Children [in the fiery furnace].—and how many, many fall!

7. Well this, bad as it is, is not so bad as Egypt, as heathen Heliopolis, for this country has been Catholic—remains of good, which have soaked in. Grant that a modern city is a furnace of sin—yet it [sin] was deified in Egypt. Vices canonised in animals—heathen idolatry—all vices made gods—the world lieth in wickedness, etc. the god of this world, etc. —the prince of the power of this air, of the spirit that now worketh on the children of unbelief . O misery of the infant Jesus walking in the streets! St. Aloysius fainting at the mention of a mortal sin—smell—saints detecting mortal sin [by its smell]. As sick men cannot bear strong scent or sound, so purity here. What a living martyrdom, etc.

8. I have said He did this for our sakes, to taste every trial, to sanctify every state, to sanctify the state of those who live in the world.

9. You who live in the world, resist evil. On confraternities—third order of St. Francis, and so allude to the Oratorium Parvum. Your confessors may, or may not, from not liking to put burdens on you, speak of these.
The Feast of St. Miguel Febres Cordero Muñoz, F.S.C.
is today. They is information on him here. To any Christian Brothers out there, blessed feast day !

It is also the feast of St. Apollonia, Virgin and Martyr, and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, Virgin.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

From Fifteen Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford
by Venerable John Henry Newman

What is called Philosophy, Wisdom, or Enlargement of mind, has some intimate dependence upon the acquisition of Knowledge; and Scripture seems to say the same thing. "God gave Solomon," says the inspired writer, "wisdom and understanding, exceeding much, and largeness of heart even as the sand that is on the sea shore ... And he spake three thousand proverbs, and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar-tree that is in Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall. He spake also of beasts and of fowl, and of creeping things and of fishes." And again, when the Queen of Sheba came, "Solomon told her all her questions; there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not." And in like manner St. Paul, after speaking of the Wisdom of the perfect, calls it a revelation, a knowledge, of the things of God, such as the natural man "discerneth" not. And in another Epistle, evidently speaking of the same Wisdom, he prays that his brethren may be given to "comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that they might be filled with all the fulness of God."

However, a very little consideration will make it plain also, that knowledge itself, though a condition of the mind's enlargement, yet, whatever be its range, is not that very thing which enlarges it. Rather the foregoing instances show that this enlargement consists in the comparison of the subjects of knowledge one with another. We feel ourselves to be ranging freely, when we not only learn something, but when we also refer it to what we knew before. It is not the mere addition to our knowledge which is the enlargement, but the change of place, the movement onwards, of that moral centre, to which what we know and what we have been acquiring, the whole mass of our knowledge, as it were, gravitates. And therefore a philosophical cast of thought, or a comprehensive mind, or wisdom in conduct or policy, implies a connected view of the old with the new; an insight into the bearing and influence of each part upon every other; without which there is no whole, and could be no centre. It is the knowledge, not only of things, but of their mutual relations. It is organized, and therefore living knowledge.
The Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita,F.D.C.C., Virgin
is today. There is information on her here.
It is also the feast of St. John of Matha, O.SS. T., Priest and Founder, and St. Jerome Emiliani, C.R.C.S., Priest and Founder.
To any Canossian Daughters of Charity, Trinitarians, or Somascan Fathers out there, blessed feast day !

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Catholic Carnival...
is up.
The Feast of the Martyrs of Nagasaki
is today. There is information on them here. Prayers for the growth and spread of the Church in Japan would be most welcome.
The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason that I die. I believe that I am telling the truth before I die. I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again: Ask Christ to help you become happy. I obey Christ. After Christ's example, I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all, and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain.

- St. Paul Miki, S.J.