Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Evangelii Gaudium for Kindle
My apologies: The footnotes have not been nicely formatted, and have the same font as the main text.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
In my parish, St. Mary of the Angels in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood, we hold a Eucharistic procession after Mass. It's simple but beautiful, today no less than ever.
Altar boys in scarlet cassocks, with incense and bells, lead the way down the middle of the street. Little girls in white dresses strew rose petals behind them. Priests and the deacon take turns carrying a 'monstrance' -a transparent vessel for viewing a consecrated Host- containing the Lord Jesus through the streets of the neighborhood. Four men carry a golden canopy on poles to shelter the monstrance from the sun. Following them are hundreds of faithful singing hymns praising our Lord and King. It's quite a spectacle.
We circle the block, stopping once on each side at temporary altars decorated with flowers and an image of Our Lord or His Blessed Mother. There a priest or deacon reads from the Holy Scriptures something about the great gift of the Eucharist which Jesus has given us. He then offers a few of his own thoughts, and we pray together. Then we continue to the next altar.
Along the way I pick up a rose petal to keep pressed in my missal. I've kept a few from previous years. They've lost their scent, but not their meaning.
Down in adoration falling,
Lo, the sacred Host we hail;
Lo, o'er ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;Faith for all defects supplying
Where the feeble senses fail.
Adoro te devote, latens Deitas,
Quæ sub his figuris vere latitas;
Tibi se cor meum totum subjicit,
Quia te contemplans totum deficit.
I devoutly adore you, O hidden Deity,
Truly hidden beneath these appearances.
My whole heart submits to you,
And in contemplating you,
It surrenders itself completely.
Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur,
Sed auditu solo tuto creditur.
Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius;
Nil hoc verbo veritátis verius.
Sight, touch, taste are all deceived
In their judgment of you,
But hearing suffices firmly to believe.
I believe all that the Son of God has spoken;
There is nothing truer than this word of truth.
Jesu, quem velatum nunc aspicio,
Oro, fiat illud quod tam sitio:
Ut te revelata cernens facie,
Visu sim beátus tuæ gloriæ. Amen.
Jesu, whom now veiled, I by faith descry,
What my soul doth thirst for, do not, Lord, deny,
That thy face unveiled, I at last may see,
With the blissful vision blest, my God, of Thee. Amen.
To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Ghost proceeding
Forth from Each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty.
When we've completed our circuit around the block, we leave the blinding June sunlight of Hermitage Avenue and, singing, proceed up the steps into the entrance of the church. At first the church seems almost too dark to make our way ...but our senses do not always detect what is really present! In the church we have only a few more moments of prayer with Jesus present before us.
Holy feast of Corpus Christ, remain in our memory! Lord Jesus, may we never be separated from You! Live in our hearts forever!
May the Heart of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection at every moment in all the tabernacles of the world, now and until the end of time. Amen.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
"It is possible to modernize holy music," he once said at a concert at the Sistine Chapel. "But this cannot happen outside the great traditional path of the past, of Gregorian chants and sacred polyphonic choral music.
"The pope is right when he says it is necessary to bring our great musical heritage back into churches," said Muti, a former director of Milan's La Scala who is now in charge of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
"When I go to church and I hear four strums of a guitar or choruses of senseless, insipid words, I think it's an insult... I can't work out how come once upon a time there were Mozart and Bach and now we have little sing-songs. This is a lack of respect for people's intelligence."
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
As the priestly sex abuse scandal runs its course, we don't appear yet to have reached the point where the bishops openly and honestly deal with homosexuality as an important factor.
Monday, May 23, 2011
-St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch
-Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage (d. 258)
-St. Gregory Nazianzen, Archbishop of Constantinople (c. 329-389)
"He [Peter] was the chosen one of the Apostles, the mouth of the Apostles, the leader of the band...Jesus put into his hands the chief authority among the brethren...For he who then did not dare to question Jesus, but committed the office to another, was even entrusted with the chief authority over the brethren, and not only does not commit to another what relates to himself, but himself now puts a question to his Master concerning another. John is silent, but Peter speaks...for Peter greatly loved John...When therefore Christ had foretold great things to him, and committed the world to him, and spoke beforehand of his martyrdom, and testified that his love was greater than all the others..." (Hom. 88 on St. John).
-St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, c. 349–407.
Sunday, May 01, 2011
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Talmudic Laws for Children
Laws of Forbidden Places:
Of the beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of all foods that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the hoofed animals, broiled or ground into burgers, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cloven-hoofed animal, plain or with cheese, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cereal grains, of the corn and of the wheat and of the oats, and of all the cereals that are of bright color and unknown provenance you may eat, but not in the living room. Of quiescently frozen dessert and of all frozen after-meal treats you may eat, but absolutely not in the living room. Of the juices and other beverages, yes, even of those in sippycups, you may drink, but not in the living room, neither may you carry such therein. Indeed, when you reach the place where the living room carpet begins, of any food or beverage there you may not eat, neither may you drink. But if you are sick, and are lying down and watching something, then may you eat in the living room.
Laws When at Table:
And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as a greater person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as they were. Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an interesting bandage to show, your feet upon the table are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke. Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use on it any utensils, nor fork, nor knife, nor spoon, for that is not what they are for; if you will dip your blocks in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away. When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, and do not bite it upon its edge and by your teeth hold it to your face in order to make noises in it sounding like a duck: for you will be sent away. When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have swallowed, and do not open it to show your brother or your sister what is within; I say to you, do not so, even if your brother or your sister has done the same to you. Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food; neither seize the table between your jaws, nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your lips. I say again to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is. And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is why. And though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not stand them upright to make a forest, because we do not do that, that is why. Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup.
And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.
Laws Pertaining to Dessert:
For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that is clean, saying first, if the plate is clean, then you shall have dessert. But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have eaten most of your meat, and two bites of your peas with each bite consisting of not less than three peas each, or in total six peas, eaten where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of your potatoes to fill two forks, both forkfuls eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert. But if you eat a lesser number of peas, and yet you eat the potatoes, still you shall not have dessert; and if you eat the peas, yet leave the potatoes uneaten, you shall not have dessert, no, not even a small portion thereof. And if you try to deceive by moving the potatoes or peas around with a fork, that it may appear you have eaten what you have not, you will fall into iniquity. And I will know, and you shall have no dessert.
Do not scream; for it is as if you scream all the time. If you are given a plate on which two foods you do not wish to touch each other are touching each other, your voice rises up even to the ceiling, while you point to the offence with the finger of your right hand; but I say to you, scream not, only remonstrate gently with the server, that the server may correct the fault. Likewise if you receive a portion of fish from which every piece of herbal seasoning has not been scraped off, and the herbal seasoning is loathsome to you and steeped in vileness, again I say, refrain from screaming. Though the vileness overwhelm you, and cause you a faint unto death, make not that sound from within your throat, neither cover your face, nor press your fingers to your nose. For I have made the fish as it should be; behold, I eat it myself, yet do not die.
Concerning Face and Hands:
Cast your countenance upward to the light, and lift your eyes to the hills, that I may more easily wash you off. For stains are upon you; even to the very back of your head, there is rice thereon. And in the breast pocket of your garment, and upon the tie of your shoe, rice and other fragments are distributed in a manner wonderful to see. Only hold yourself still; hold still, I say. Give each finger in its turn for my examination thereof, and also each thumb. Lo, how iniquitous they appear. What I do is as it must be; and you shall not go hence until I have done.
Various Other Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances:
Bite not, lest you be cast into quiet time. Neither drink of your own bath water, nor of the bath water of any kind; nor rub your feet on bread, even if it be in the package; nor rub yourself against cars, nor against any building; nor eat sand. Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? And hum not the humming in your nose as I read, nor stand between the light and the book. Indeed, you will drive me to madness. Nor forget what I said about the tape.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
"the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church"
-Tertullian, Apologeticus, Chapter 50
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
"You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."Matthew 5:4-8
The Lord calls people to follow him without distinction of state, race or condition... Be perfect... he says, and grants us the means and the appropriate graces that will make perfection possible. This is not just advice from the master, but an imperative command...
In the doctrine of Christ there is no invitation to mediocrity, but a clear call to heroism, to love and cheerful sacrifice...
Our Lord is not happy with a lukewarm life and a half-hearted dedication.
"Every branch that does not bear fruit he prunes that it may bear more fruit." (John 15:2)
The plot of earth where Our Lord has planted us is the particular family of which we are part, and not any other... The rich mould we are rooted in is our work, which we must love so that it will sanctify not only us, but also our colleagues, our classmates, our neighbors... It is there, in that environment, in the midst of the world where the Lord says we can and must live all the Christian virtues, developing them with all the demands they make on us and not allowing them to be stunted or to whither. God calls people to holiness in every circumstance: in war and in peace, in sickness and in health, when we think we have triumphed and when we face unexpected defeat, when we have plenty of time and when time is a premium... Our Lord wants us to be saints at all times. Those who do not rely on grace, and habitually see things with a completely human outlook, are saying constantly: 'this now is not the right time for sanctity..., later... perhaps...'
Let us not think that in another place, in another situation we would be ready to follow Our Lord more closely and carry out a more fruitful apostolate... The fruits of sanctity Our Lord expects are those produced in and from the environment in which we find ourselves, here and now: tiredness, sickness, family, the job, one's colleagues, one's fellow students.
"Leave behind false idealisms, fantasies, and what I usually call mystical wishful thinking. If only I hadn't married... If only I hadn't this profession... If only I were healthier... If only I were young... If only I were old...! Instead, turn seriously to the most material and immediate reality, which is where Our Lord is..." (Conversations with Monsignor Escrivá, 116)
This is the environment in which our love of God should grow and develop, using precisely those opportunities we find at hand. Let us not allow them to slip away, for it is in them that Jesus is waiting for us.
-Excerpts from today's meditation, In Conversation with God, Vol. 3, p. 598-600, Francis Fernandez
Monday, April 26, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Monday, February 08, 2010
Ann Arbor, Mich., Feb 8, 2010 (CNA).- The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist have made waves across the nation for their rapid growth and their devout orthodoxy. Now, they are once again in the national spotlight, being featured on the popular Oprah Winfrey Show.
"They phoned us and asked if they could do a program on us with Oprah. That's all we know!" Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP, vocations director for the community, told CNA in an email.
The show featuring the sisters will air on Tuesday, February 9, 2010. The same day happens to be the congregation’s 13th anniversary. The coincidence is "amazing, as they did not know this when they chose the date -- but God did!" exclaimed the vocations director.
When asked why they chose to accept the invitation and appear on the show, "Oprah is powerful -- we entrust this endeavor to Mother Mary for the greater glory of her Son! It's truly been a lot of fun as 'the world' does not begin to understand our life," the Dominican said. "Hopefully, this will inspire more people to love God and serve Him in the manner He invites each of us -- and get the Gospel on the airwaves!!"
The Dominican Sisters of Mary were founded in 1997 by four Dominican sisters responding to John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization. In the 13 years of their existence, they have grown to almost 100 members. Their newly constructed motherhouse is already filled to capacity.
Currently, the average age of the sisters is 26 and the average age of their postulants is 21.
"Young people, inspired by John Paul the Great and Pope Benedict XVI, are generous and desirous of living sacrificial, authentic lives as God asks of them," Sr. Joseph Andrew said.
"We agreed (to be on the show) because it will further understanding of Religious Life," she added. "The Catholic Church is alive, well, and thriving as is authentic religious life," she added.
Cardinal Schönborn at Catholic University of America: Christianity Offers Dual Citizenship
By Kirsten Evans
WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 4, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Ice and snow did not keep them away. Amidst the flurry of a winter snowstorm, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, addressed an auditorium over-flowing with students, faculty, clergy and lay faithful at the Catholic University of America (CUA).
The lecture, a joint venture of CUA's School of Theology and Religious Studies, School of Philosophy, and School of Canon Law, was open to the public. And the public came. Attendance was so strong that some students complained of having to turn back, because there was no standing room left in the hall.
Cardinal Schönborn, a Dominican religious, was ordained a priest in 1970. Before being named archbishop of Vienna in 1995, he was a professor of dogmatic theology at Fribourg, Switzerland. He was later elevated to cardinal in 1998. The cardinal addressed Wednesday's audience on the question "Christianity: Alien Presence or Foundation of the West?"
Cardinal Schönborn began his address by delineating three legacies that he believes fundamental to the inheritance of Christian culture to the West: a sense of moral integrity, by which Christians are often recognized not only by what they do, but also by what they do not do; the concept of humanity as a united, universal family; and the idea that freedom makes man most like God, and is man's greatest possession.
The cardinal went on to ask, "Is it true that modern man wins his freedom through a bitter struggle against the Church? Is it true that the Enlightenment brought human freedom and dignity to humanity, not Christianity?" This, he claims, is the great hypothesis of modern history. But he is not convinced.
Cardinal Schönborn suggested that much of the early Church was born and emerged from a pluralistic Greco-Roman world 2,000 years ago, Christianity today offers a fascinating alternative to the modern secular world.
"Christianity's position in modern Europe is paradoxical," the cardinal proposed. "It is both a foreign body and a root for Europe. Although it is seen as a foreign entity, it still evokes a feeling of home and nostalgia for many in Europe.
"Europe has an increasingly number of people who, after having lived a fully secular lifestyle, find there way to a conscious Christian faith. And they have a way of describing their discovery of Christianity as a 'way home,' or a 'finding home.'"
Of heaven and earth
Alluding to St. Augustine, Cardinal Schönborn went on to explain, "Here in lays the distinctive and unmistakable strength of Christianity: her dual citizenship. At once earthly and heavenly, it invites one to a loyal participation in society, taking on responsibility for the city of man without wanting to overthrow it in order to create some utopian society. This engagement with the temporal is founded on the fact of a peril-less citizenship in the city of God."
Cardinal Schönborn made clear that the Christian's claim to belong not only to an earthly citizenship, but to a heavenly one, is what makes Christianity hated by totalitarian systems, most especially notable in the 20th century. "The Christian is free," he says. "Free with respect to the state, because he is never only a citizen of the state. Never before has this Christian freedom been more clearly expressed than during the time of fascism, communism, and Nazism during the last century, when authentic Christian witness resulted in millions and millions of martyrs."
The cardinal believes that this foundation of freedom is precisely what Christianity has to offer modern Europe. "It is freedom from the demands of the mainstream, from political correctness, or simply from the pressure of the latest fashions. Christian freedom," Cardinal Schönborn described.
As testimony to the power of Christian freedom, Cardinal Schönborn recalled the great spiritual movements that became cultural movements in Western history. "This year marks exactly 1,100 years since the monastic reform of Cluny," he remembered. "This monastic reform brought Europe over 4,000 monasteries in a period of 200 years. A fantastic network all over Europe, with an enormous economic, social, artistic and spiritual energy."
The cardinal explained that when Cluny began to decline another great spiritual renewal was sparked with Bernard of Clairvaux, then again with the Cistercians, and history repeated itself again with the mendicant orders of Francis and Dominic. Each of these spiritual renewals made enormous contributions to the cultural and civil societies of their time.
"Has enough consideration been given to the freedom made possible by these renewal movements and how much Europe has been influenced by these movements?" he questioned. "From its inception, Christianity allowed people to step outside of their temporal and political order. The idea that man must obey God before he need obey man brought an enormous element of freedom into society," he continued.
The cardinal argued that throughout the centuries the freedom to radically follow Christ set free enormous creative energy throughout the Western world, and is "one of the permanent sources of European vitality."
Cardinal Schönborn also expressed his joy over the resurgence of spiritual movements in today's Church. "Why should history not repeat itself today?" he asked. "Why should we not have the kind of surprise, undreamt-of surprise, ahead of us that Francis of Assisi brought to Europe 800 years ago?" He described the lay movements in the Church as "a very vital sign" and claimed they point to the same creative Spirit that once brought to life the Christian spiritual and cultural renewals of previous centuries. The cardinal mentioned in particular Opus Dei, the Neo-Catechumenal Way, and Communion and Liberation.
Call to purification
But the cardinal did not fail to point out that the modern relationship between secularism and Christianity serves a needed purpose for the purification and maturation of Christianity: "Christianity also needs the critical voice of secular Europe, asking hard questions, sometimes nasty questions, questions we should not try to escape or avoid.
"It does Christianity good to listen to the questions of secular society and be challenged to answer them. It wakes the Christians up and challenges them. It questions Christianity's credibility. And Christianity needs to be questioned.
"It is good for us to be held accountable."
He explained that the critical questioning of the secular world presses Christianity to become what it is called to be, and helps to purify what is incoherent between its words and deeds. "And why?" he asked. "Because deep down, the secular West longs for an authentic Christianity, and hopes for a Christianity that is credible through its life."
Cardinal Schönborn ended the evening with a call to faith. "Christian freedom has an inexhaustible source. 'Remember, I am with you until the end of time.' This saying of Jesus Christ is Christianity's most powerful resource!" he exclaimed. "This alone explains the inexhaustible power of regeneration in Christianity, which again and again experiences its resurrection, in the power of the One who rose again."
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
"We have similar positions on many problems facing Christians in the modern world," the Patriarch told a February 2 meeting of the Russian hierarchy. "They include aggressive secularization, globalization, and the erosion of the traditional moral principles."
In contrast, Patriarch Kirill noted, many Protestant groups have moved steadily away from Christian traditions.
The Spirit blows where it wills.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
"...What I learned from St. Josemaría’s love of freedom is that it didn’t matter that I didn’t fit. I wasn’t supposed to fit. God made me the way he did for a reason, and it is my role as a Christian to be open to his promptings so I can fulfill what he wants of me. I actually can’t wait to find out how a Jamaican/English hula-dancing engineer with six kids fits into his plans. I know it won’t be dull..."Read more
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
With Benedict XVI, for the first time in history, the Orthodox have agreed to discuss the primacy of the bishop of Rome, according to the model of the first millennium, when the Church was undivided...
There are some who say that ecumenism has entered a phase of retreat and chill. But as soon as one that looks to the East, the facts say the opposite. Relations with the Orthodox Churches have never been so promising as they have since Joseph Ratzinger has been pope.
And what rose to the top of the discussion was precisely the question that most divides East and West: the primacy of the successor of Peter in the universal Church.
Since then, the discussion on controversial points has advanced at an accelerated pace. And it has started to examine, above all, how the Churches of East and West interpreted the role of the bishop of Rome during the first millennium, when they were still united.
The full article reveals some encouraging signs that the discussions are serious, positive, and in good faith. They seem to be "getting traction".
It would be pretty nice if the churches of the East and West would find their way to reunite before Jesus returns. I'm pretty sure He'd be happy to see that sort of progress.
It could almost be like a surprise party for Him. -except He's always known that it was going to happen.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Pope Benedict on January 18 named Bishop André-Mutien Léonard of Namur, a member of the International Theological Commission, as Archbishop of Malines-Brussels. Succeeding the influential Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Archbishop Léonard is known for his forthright defense of Catholic moral teaching and his support for Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict’s motu proprio on the extraordinary form of the Mass.
Deputy Prime Minister Laurette Onkelinx condemned the choice. "Church and State are separate in Belgium, but when there are problems in our society, all the social partners sit down around a table, including representatives of secularism and of religion,” she said. “Cardinal Danneels was a man of openness, of tolerance and was able to fit in there. Archbishop Léonard has already regularly challenged decisions made by our parliament."
"Concerning AIDS, he’s against the use of condoms even while people are dying from it every day," she continued. "He is against abortion and euthanasia … The Pope’s choice could undermine the compromise that allows us to live together with respect for everyone."
"The Pope’s choice could undermine the compromise that allows us to live together with respect for everyone."
Behold the thinly veiled threat. The dark lords of secularism warn that "respect for everyone" demands a "compromise" in which no one dares to challenge the government or blaspheme the sacraments of the Culture of Death: Holy Contraception, Holy Abortion, and Holy Euthanasia.
Friday, January 15, 2010
My friend, You wrote,
“Half measures do not work, when those who find Orthodoxy in union with Rome scratch the surface they find a thin veneer of orthodoxy. And wanting to steep themselves more deeply they find they cannot get this within the Eastern rites so they have to go to the Orthodox. Even the Vatican has told the Eastern rite Catholics that where we are lacking in our spirituality we must go back to the Orthodox. Even the Vatican realizes that on some level that due to miscalculated meddling that the Eastern rite Catholics have been robbed of many of their authentic traditions. In the end, the ultimate goal, should be the total reincorporation of the Eastern Catholic Churches with those Orthodox Churches that they once were part of. The separation from our roots, and our brothers, is killing us.”I do believe that there is much of great value that Eastern rite and Orthodox Christians have preserved in their liturgy and tradition, as have Latin rite Christians. These things should be rich soil for nurturing the “faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Yet are these things really the “roots” of the faith, or are they rather its food, its clothing, its shelter, its cultural heritage, and its proofs?
One could become so concerned with the cultural and historical divisions of the Church that one might lose sight of its essential unity. The divisions are terrible, yet they are temporary. The unity will last, because Christ will triumph -has already triumphed. And he has given His Church an apostolic foundation and a vicar to serve as a visible principle of unity.
“Particular Churches are fully catholic through their communion with one of them, the Church of Rome ‘which presides in charity.’” (CCC 834)None of us have been called to communion with a Church already completely healed of its divisions and fully purified of its past, any more than are its members yet perfected. But we have received a faith that Jesus delivered through His apostles in union with Peter and his successor, the bishop of Rome. In union with him we have access and anchor to a truly “orthodox” faith.
It’s one thing to acknowledge the depth and beauty of Christian diversity, and to draw benefits from the treasures preserved by various Christian traditions. But it would seem to me a tragedy for a friend to abandon unity with Peter in search of some other, elusive, unity which apart from Peter can not truly exist. Dividing from Peter can not further unity with Christ, nor bring closer that coming day of unity among believers that Jesus so much prayed for.
Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
its spoils surrendered
to the fading pulse of the sun.
A brief harvest of gold coins,
bleeding, corroding, falling spent to earth,
their once brilliant argument lost,
their nothingness exposed by chill, relentless rain.
Days of rain, October’s parting word.
A year of trial and loss, storm and wreckage, and survival,
a year of awakening, of standing up in the rain,
deciding what matters, what to save, what to abandon.
A year to remember why the sun rises
and hurries to begin again with undiscouraged purpose.
A year like a chisel in the hand of God,
like a finger probing a wound that no longer bleeds.
Purpose from chaos,
passage through darkness,
a return home,
the door swung open wide,
and unaccountable joy.
Dear Ms. Woodcock,
What You described as "the biggest bid to drag [Anglicans] back into the fold in the almost 500 years since we broke away" is colorful but rather unfair. The Pope's offer is hardly a mustache-twirling scheme to "drag", "poach", or otherwise coerce. It's simply a serious, constructive invitation supported by canon law, an option that freely can be accepted or declined.
The invitation came only after inquiries by Anglicans distressed at controversial changes within the Anglican communion, and who have expressed interest in closer union with the Bishop of Rome. The Pope has acted in good faith to respond to these inquiries in a meaningful way that respects the desires and worthy traditions of those Anglicans seeking such an accommodation, while promoting genuine unity.
Naturally not all Anglicans will be interested in swimming the Tiber. As your article suggests, those who are most put off by the Catholic Church's doctrines, disciplines, or defects, perhaps will not be dialing up Rome anytime soon. But the sincere invitation stands for any who may be interested. They are most welcome to join us Roman Catholics. We value their fellowship, their best traditions, and want to join efforts with them in trying to live the Gospel.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
An apostle — that is what a Christian is, when he knows that he has been grafted onto Christ, made one with Christ, in baptism. He has been given the capacity to carry on the battle in Christ's name, through confirmation. He has been called to serve God by his activity in the world, because of the common priesthood of the faithful, which makes him share in some way in the priesthood of Christ. This priesthood — though essentially distinct from the ministerial priesthood — gives him the capacity to take part in the worship of the Church and to help other men in their journey to God, with the witness of his word and his example, through his prayer and work of atonement.-Saint Josemaría Escrivá, Christ is Passing By, no. 120
Friday, October 23, 2009
A very warm welcome to those Anglican brothers and sisters who will enter full communion with the Successor of Peter through this new provision! May You be greatly blessed in Your new home. And may the worthy liturgical traditions You bring with You result in blessings for the entire Church.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out my spirit.Joel 2:28-29 RSV
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.Romans 8:26-27 RSV
-Saint Josemaría Escrivá, 22 October 1972.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
On the first day of the week, at dawn, the women came to the tomb. They found the stone rolled back and a messenger who said:
"Why do you search for the Living One among the dead? He is not here; he has been raised up. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee- that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again" (Lk 24:5-7).
The new Life that has burst forth in the Resurrection is the world’s only hope.
In the name of Christ, in the name of the Church, in the name of needy humanity: I encourage you to have that new Life in you! Be witnesses of that new Life to the world around you.-Pope John Paul II, Address to World Youth Day, Denver, August 13, 1993
...Wherever young men and women allow the grace of Christ to work in them and produce new Life, the extraordinary power of divine Love is released into their lives and into the life of the community. It transforms their attitude and behavior, and inevitably attracts others to follow the same adventurous path. This power comes from God and not from us.-Pope John Paul II, Address to World Youth Day, Denver, August 14, 1993
-Saint Josemaría Escrivá, 9 November 1972.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
"Don't let your life be barren. Be useful. Make yourself felt. Shine forth with the torch of your faith and your love. With your apostolic life, wipe out the trail of filth and slime left by the corrupt sowers of hatred. And set aflame all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you bear in your heart."-The Way, n. 1, St. Josemaría Escrivá.
Make a little time –perhaps five or ten minutes before bed- to consider these things in God’s presence. And ask Him to help You prepare Your heart for the Holy Spirit... He’ll do it.
Monday, October 05, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
"As he did with Augustine, so the Lord comes to meet each one of you. He knocks at the door of your freedom and asks to be welcomed as a friend. He wants to make you happy, to fill you with humanity and dignity. The Christian faith is this: encounter with Christ, the living Person Who gives life a new horizon and thereby a definitive direction."
"The Lord calls each of us by name, and entrusts to us a specific mission in the Church and in society'. He constantly renews His invitation to you to be His disciples and His witnesses. Many of you He calls to marriage, and the preparation for this Sacrament constitutes a real vocational journey. Consider seriously the divine call to raise a Christian family, and let your youth be the time in which to build your future with a sense of responsibility. Society needs Christian families, saintly families!"
"...And if the Lord is calling you to follow Him in the ministerial priesthood or in the consecrated life, do not hesitate to respond to His invitation. In particular, in this Year for Priests, I appeal to you, young men. ...The Church in every country, including this one, needs many holy priests and also persons fully consecrated to the service of Christ, Hope of the world."
"Hope! This word, to which I often return, sits well with youth. You, my dear young people, are the hope of the Church! She expects you to become messengers of hope."
-Pope Benedict XVI, message to young people at Melnik, Czech Republic, 28 September 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
"...there is little or no need for extraneous eucharistic devotions. The Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally and spiritually. Eucharistic adoration, perpetual or not, is a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward, not forward."-Fr. Richard McBrien, Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame
I feel badly for Fr. McBrien, but at least now much of his past dissent from the Gospel message makes more sense. He admits that Jesus is "sacramentally" present in the Eucharist, but he speaks as one who does not believe Jesus is "really" there, perhaps not really anywhere.
And if, as he says, "The Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally and spiritually", then why did Jesus bother to give us the other sacraments at all? And why ever bother praying, outside of Mass?
Fr. McBrien, what misery must You feel if You -a priest beloved of Jesus- not only despise Jesus' teachings, but no longer can even recognize His Presence? How black must be that night.
I pray You will find Him, know Him, and love Him, before You finally have to give an account to Him. Perhaps meditating on this prayer may help You:
May the sacred Heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the altar be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, now, and until the end of time.
Friday, August 28, 2009
"...postulates that the young male singer is seeking Heaven, and ultimate connection to God."
OK, maybe that’s what he REALLY wants, although I’m not sure he knows it. What it SOUNDS to me like the singer really is seeking is a romp in the sack at an out of the way place. That’s not necessarily evident from the words alone, but the music seems to steer the meaning in that direction.
Now, if You’re looking for transcendent longing for God in recent music, who could fail to point out the poignant, lilting rap lines from the up-and-coming WhackDog:
I gotta gun gotta run
and put lead in yo whacked head for fun.
U dissin’ me is hissin’ me.
My blood’s boilin’
my .45’s recoilin’.
Gotta drive to the house
gonna eat a mouse.
Thinkin’ ’bout puttin’ on a blouse.
Yo man i make two words rhyme -gimme a dime
Feed me till my next crime.
Got about fifty words total in my mind.
Cant read cant spell but dont need no commas in hell.
Thats where we are.
Was gonna live in hevn but i fell.
got twenty wimn got no bride.
used ‘m up till they all cried.
Gave em crack but one died.
They stand in line to see me but I got my pride.
Got 23 inch rims on my ride.
Got dirt in my head
Carry it to my grave for when I’m dead.
Maybe stay all day in bed long as i get fed.
It’s dark outside my bros lied then they died.
It’s dark inside I’m inside out.
U owe me cuz U got what shiny I want.
Obama take it from yo mama
give it to me.
Turn this country into Botswana.
This world whack’ gonna take it back
put it in my sack.
Forgot what i was sayin
just need another gold chain.
Don’t need the truth
i got three gold tooth.
Friday, August 07, 2009
"Do not receive Christ in the Blessed Sacrament so that you may use him as you judge best, but give yourself to him and let him receive you in this Sacrament, so that he himself, God your saviour, may do to you and through you whatever he wills."St. Cajetan (1480-1547)
Monday, June 22, 2009
If the pre-Vatican II decades were all holiness and refinement, how is that large numbers of the children of those raised in that culture abandoned the Church, or turned to attack and ridicule it from within? And how is it that the stage was set for the decades of liturgical inanity and experimentation which followed?
If, as You say, Vatican II was needed, it wasn’t just because the liturgy needed a new coat of paint. If liturgy ultimately is a meeting point between God and man, then one of its main purposes is to foster the sort of interior life that man needs in order to commune with God. Perhaps the Pope, perhaps the Holy Spirit, knew that the interior life of the Church was vitally in need of a restoration, or better yet a re-ignition. If the liturgy is a shambles today, perhaps that’s a reflection of the weak, disordered interior life of many of us in the pews.
We do need the liturgy badly, and we need to adorn it with all the sublimity and reverence we can muster from language, music, and the arts. Getting to that point will be both the cause and, paradoxically, the result, of a deepening of our own interior lives. For some this may involve baby steps. For example, I have to do better with keeping my appointment for daily morning prayer, and struggle not to give up even when it seems like my prayer is superficial and weak.
Hmmm. I guess that’s the same lesson I have to learn about the liturgy: not to give up even when it seems pedestrian and dry.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
"Catholic schools and care homes could be forced to remove crucifixes and holy pictures from their walls in case they offend atheist cleaners, bishops have warned MPs.
They said that under the terms of Equality Minister Harriet Harman's new Equality Bill they could be guilty of harassment if they depicted images 'offensive' to non-Catholics."
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumblingblock, and unto the Gentiles foolishness: But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:23-24, Douay Rheims)
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Ave verum corpus,
Hail, true Body, born
Make me believe Thee ever more and more,
In Thee my hope, in Thee my love to store.
-Saint Thomas Aquinas
And here is the Great Secret, the greatest reason of all to be Catholic, to be Christian, to be human, to be alive: Jesus present to us in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. And not only present to us, but united to us personally.
This is the promise of eternal life. This is Life in abundance, a life not content to wait until heaven, but bursting open within our hearts today.
Since the thirteenth century Catholics around the world have observed a solemn feast day in honor of "Corups Christi" -the Body (and Blood) of Christ, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist.
After Mass today at Saint Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago, we observed this solemnity with our annual Corups Christi procession honoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Hundreds of people accompanied Jesus as He was carried in turn by His priests and a deacon down the street, and around the block. A gold canopy, incense, and a squad of altar boys marked His way. Young girls who had just recently received Jesus in their first Holy Communion carpeted His path with thousands of scarlet and yellow rose petals. Boys in black suits marched alongside. And the faithful followed close behind, singing Tantum Ergo Sacramentum and other hymns, praising the One Who turned bread and wine into Himself, so that He could remain with us in invisible glory until He visibly returns in glory. At the happy spectacle neighbors opened their doors, stood on their porches, or watched from their windows as the King of the Universe passed by cloaked in the humble appearance of bread.
On each side of the block the priests paused at a temporary altar, prayed aloud with the faithful, and elevated the Lord to receive the love and adoration of the crowd.
Finally returning to the church building, we ascended the steps, and the Lord stopped briefly to bless us at the altar before returning to His repose in the tabernacle.
Lord, how good it is to be here! How lovely is Thy dwelling place, O Lord!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Does President Obama's appearance last week at Notre Dame University offer Catholics any cause for hope?
Perhaps the university's namesake, Our Lady, may be able to accomplish something that the protests of faithful Catholics could not.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Musings of an Expagan » Lazy Catholicism
Feast of the Ascension
If I recall correctly it’s certain dioceses of the U.S. (and maybe a few other odd places) -not the entire Latin Rite- which have transferred observance of the Ascension to the nearest Sunday. What were these bishops thinking? Not sure, but it seems they were overcome by an irresistible urge to facilitate, to accommodate. As it is written,
"Make straight in the desert a highway for our parishioners."
"…and He shall wipe away every inconvenience from their calendars."
"Keep holy the Sabbath Day (but keep the other six for Yourself)." And,
"You’re lucky if they show up once a week."
Unlike the king who ordered that His servants compel guests to come into his wedding feast -this sort of approach not being popular among the voters- many of our ecclesiastical leaders instead have boldly determined that nobody need bother coming at all, unless they can manage to show up on Sunday after the kids’ soccer game.
After all, it’s only the Lord’s Ascension into glory. We can celebrate that any time we feel like it.
Oh, one more oft-forgotten passage: "Little can be expected of him whom little is asked."
One wonders whether these same bishops would like to take their chances showing up three days late for the General Resurrection.
Monday, May 11, 2009
"He waits for us everyday, in the laboratory, in the operating theatre, in the army barracks, in the university chair, in the factory, in the workshop, in the fields, in the home and in all the immense panorama of work. Understand this well: there is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it...”
“I assure you, my children, that when a Christian carries out with love the most insignificant everyday action, that action overflows with the transcendence of God. That is why I have told you so often, and hammered away at it, that the Christian vocation consists in making heroic verse out of the prose of each day. Heaven and earth seem to merge, my children, on the horizon. But where they really meet is in your hearts, when you sanctify your everyday lives.”
-Passionately Loving the World, St. Josemaria Escriva
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
"Show your wife you appreciate her company a lot and that you prefer to be at home rather than outside, because she is there. Show her a preference among all your friends and even above the children she has given you; love them because of her ... Pray all together ... Learn the fear of God; everything else will flow from this like water from a fountain and your house will be filled with bounty."
-Saint John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, 347-407 A.D.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
"He [Father Michael Dugan, Director of the Office of Liturgy for the Diocese of Dallas] said congregants should not be offended if someone chooses not to shake hands during the sign of peace.
“If you are ill, the appropriate response to someone extending a sign of peace might be to bow to them and say, ‘Peace be with You,’ to avoid bodily contact or one might wave slightly at the other person.”"
Did shaking hands at the Sign of Peace during Mass ever really make sense? At that moment, the congregation is preparing to receive our Lord in Holy Communion. What does shaking hands signify, that we're closing a business deal?
OK, "Peace be with You" and an embrace for family members perhaps makes sense. But shaking hands with those around us?
Now in particular, during a very serious outbreak of swine flu, can we pick some other way to indicate our fraternal charity to our brothers and sisters in Christ? How about a simple "Peace be with you", and perhaps even a slight bow of the head?
In any case, I think I'll drop the deal-making hand-shaking at the Sign of Peace. For me it never really did make much sense, and now it makes even less sense. I hope You don't take offense.
Peace be with You!
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
So perhaps Bishop Dingxian was tortured occasionally during his 35 years of imprisonment, like many of his brother bishops and priests. Perhaps the Chinese government still carries our systematic oppression of Christians in general and Catholics in particular. We mustn't do or say anything that might jeopardize our trade relations or massive trade deficit with China.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
I want to assume You've got great intentions in producing the absolution-online site, but I want to invite You to consider pulling its plug.
It's great to encourage Christians to confess their sins, and it's really great to encourage Catholics to seek sacramental absolution. But Your site does not make clear that valid sacramental confession and absolution cannot be had through a website:
"Individual, integral confession and absolution remain the only ordinary way for the faithful to reconcile themselves with God and the Church, unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from this kind of confession."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1484)
Since You fail to make this clear, Your site risks deceiving some Catholics who don't know better into abandoning sacramental absolution for an invalid and empty substitute. Your posted disclaimer really doesn't adequately clarify this serious matter.
If You're Catholic, or even a non-Catholic of good will, I ask You as a Christian brother to respect the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding how it administers the sacraments entrusted to it by Christ. You can do this by shutting down the absolution-online site, or at least by providing a much clearer disclaimer.
Or better yet, why not redesign the content to more accurately promote the authentic truth about Catholic teaching on this topic? The sacrament of confession is so very beautiful, and deserves our best efforts to promote the real thing. Thanks for Your consideration!
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
You are invited to pray this family novena at any time, but especially during the nine days from February 7-15, 2007.
Glorious Saint Michael, guardian and defender of the Church of Jesus Christ, come to the assistance of His followers, against whom the powers of hell are unchained. Guard with special care our Holy Father, the Pope, and our bishops, priests, all our religious and lay people, and especially the children.
Saint Michael, watch over us during life, defend us against the assaults of the demon, and assist us especially at the hour of death. Help us achieve the happiness of beholding God face to face for all eternity. Amen.
Saint Michael, intercede for me with God in all my necessities, especially (mention special petition).
…that all of us within our entire family will:
Obtain for me a favorable outcome in the matter I recommend to you. Mighty prince of the heavenly host, and victor over rebellious spirits, remember me for I am weak and sinful and so prone to pride and ambition. Be for me, I pray, my powerful aid in temptation and difficulty, and above all do not forsake me in my last struggle with the powers of evil. Amen.
Novena prayer (not including suggested petition) obtained from: http://www.catholic-forum.com/Saints/pray0434.htm
If You're interested in further prayers to St. Michael, take a look here:
Thursday, September 28, 2006
At first I wondered whether the Holy Father perhaps had blundered. How foolish I was. Certainly he chose his words with great prayer and care. But to what purpose? I think he was trying to initiate a dialog which Muslim leaders can hardly ignore, and upon which they have to take a public position. Those 'moderates' who are capable of rational dialog will find themselves having to promote interreligious dialog more openly. This Pope, like our previous, is brilliant.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Sincere Muslims of good will, who love the truth, will consider what the Pope actually said in his speech at the Unviersity of Regensburg on 12 September 2006. Taken in context, his remarks contained nothing to cause offense. Rather, he extended a respectful invitation to all people of good will, asking them to be willing to enter a "dialogue of cultures" where reason and mutual respect prevail.