Thursday, May 31, 2012

May is Mary's Month

"The Virgin Mary," El Greco

For centuries, the Church has devoted the month of May to the Blessed Virgin Mary.   The following reflection upon Our Lady is taken from "The Splendour of the Church" by Henri de Lubac, SJ:

"In the Church's tradition the same biblical symbols are applied, either in turn or simultaneously, with one and the same ever-increasing profusion, to the Church and Our Lady.  Both are the New Eve; Paradise; the tree of Paradise, whose fruit is Christ; the great tree seen in his dream by Nabuchodonosor, planted in the centre of the earth.  Both are the Ark of the Covenant, Jacob's Ladder, the Gate of Heaven, the House built on the mountain top, the fleece of Gideon, the Tabernacle of the Highest, the throne of Solomon, the impregnable fortress.  Both are the City of God, the mysterious City of which the psalmist sang; the valiant woman of the Book of Proverbs, the Bride arrayed for her husband, the woman who is the foe of the serpent and the great sign in heaven described in the Apocalypse - the woman clothed with the sun and victorious over the Dragon.  Both are- after Christ - the dwelling place of wisdom, and even wisdom herself; both are "a new world" and "a prodigious creation"; both rest in the shadow of Christ."

Henri de Lubac was born into an aristocratic family in 1896 AD, and entered the Jesuit order in 1913.  After the outbreak of  war in 1914, de Lubac was drafted into the French Army, and suffered a head wound at Verdun.   During the second World War de Lubac assisted in publishing an underground anti-Nazi journal called Christian Witness, and, as a consequence, de Lubac spent much of the war in hiding from the Germans.  Between the wars, de Lubac, together with fellow Jesuit Jean Danielou, revived Catholic scholarly interest in the study of Patristics and Sacred Tradition, mainly through the publication of critical editions of patristic texts.  However, in 1950 de Lubac and several other Jesuits were removed from their teaching posts at the behest of the Vatican.   Two months later, Pope Pius XII promulgated the encyclical Humani Generis which condemned the "nouvelle theologie" and was presumably aimed at de Lubac.   Although his work was subject to close scrutiny by Rome, de Lubac continued to study and to publish.    In 1958, de Lubac was permitted to resume teaching, and in 1960 he was appointed by Pope John XXIII to the commission making preparations for the upcoming Vatican Council.  De Lubac served at the Council as a peritus and as secretary.   In 1983, de Lubac was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul I.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


 Lamb of God upon the altar

Continuing our review of "The Bible and Liturgy" by Fr. Jean Danielou SJ, we now turn to Fr. Danielou's examination of the anamnesis.    The Anamnesis is the efficacious commemoration on the altar of the mystery of Christ's Passion, Resurrection and Ascension.    Fr. Danielou cites Theodore of Mopsuestia's observation that "Each time that the sacrifice of Christ is offered, the Death of the Lord, His Resurrection, His Ascension and the remission of sins are signified."  Fr. Danielou notes that "[t]o signify does not here mean only to recall.  The word also intends to state that the sacrifice is not a new sacrifice, but the one sacrifice of Christ rendered present."   Unlike pagan sacrifices, the sacrifice of Christ is perfectly efficacious, and therefore does not need to be repeated.  Although the sacrifice of the Mass is offered daily in many places, it is offered as the anamnesis of Christ's sacrifice which is, in the words of St. John Chrysostom, "unique, not multiple."  St. John Chrysostom teaches further that the "anamnesis is the figure of His death.   It is the same sacrifice that we offer, not one today and another tomorrow.  One only Christ everywhere, entire everywhere, one only Body.  As everywhere there is one Body, everywhere there is one sacrifice.  . . .  This is the meaning of the anamnesis: we carry out the anamnesis of the sacrifice."

Another reason to detest Real Madrid

They've modified their logo, shown above, to make it more palatable to the United Arab Emirates, where they are building a Real Madrid resort island.  They removed one tiny, little thing.  Can you guess what it is?  Hint - it's at the very top.
Battle for the Core of the World has more here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

17 deacons ordained for English Ordinariate

Ordination of deacons, Westminster Cathedral

Alas, they still haven't got a church of their own.   The estimable Dr. Oddie has more here.

Sursum Corda and the Trisagion (or does he mean triple Sanctus?)

"Seraphim about the Divine Throne," Petites Heures de Jean de Berry

Continuing our review of "The Bible and Liturgy" by Fr. Jean Danielou SJ, we now turn to Fr. Danielou's examination of the Trisagion, and in particular Fr. Danielou's demonstration of its connection with the Sursum Corda.   According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Trisagion is:

“an invocation, or doxology, or hymn—for it may properly receive any of these titles—which in the Roman Liturgy is sung during the Improperia, or "Reproaches" at the ceremony of the Adoration of the Cross, on Good Friday. The brief hymn is then sung by two choirs alternately in Greek and Latin, as follows: First Choir: Agios o Theos (O Holy God). Second Choir: Sanctus Deus. First Choir: Agios ischyros (Holy, Strong). Second Choir: Sanctus fortis. First Choir: Agios athanatos, eleison imas (Holy, Immortal, have mercy on us). Second Choir: Sanctus immortalis, miserere nobis."

The Catholic Encyclopedia goes on to note that the Trisagion "is sometimes referred to as Tersanctus, and is thus apt to be confused with the triple Sanctus at the end of the preface at Mass."  It appears to me Fr. Danielou has indeed confused the Trisagion with the triple Sanctus, and thus intends to refer to the triple Sanctus rather than the Trisagion in the following remarks. 

According to Fr. Danielou, the Sursum corda and the Trisagion "express the idea that the Eucharist is a participation in the heavenly liturgy.  The Trisagion, in fact, is the hymn of the Seraphim who eternally surround the Trinity: "Man is as it were transported into heaven itself," writes St. John Chrysostom.  "He stands near the throne of glory.  He flies with the Seraphim.  He sings the most holy hymn".  The same idea is found also in Cyril of Jerusalem: "We speak of the Seraphim that Isaias saw in the Holy Spirit surrounding the throne of God and saying: 'Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord, the God of hosts."  This is why we recite this theology that is transmitted to us by Seraphim, so that we may take part in the hymn of praise with the hosts above the cosmos".

Such descriptions of prayer at Mass as a participation in the prayer of Seraphim at the heavenly liturgy before the throne of God are not to be dismissed as mere pious whimsy.  In the Christian angelic hierarchy, Seraphim have the highest rank.  According to Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, "[t]he name seraphim clearly indicates their ceaseless and eternal revolution about Divine Principles, their heat and keenness, the exuberance of their intense, perpetual, tireless activity, and their elevative and energetic assimilation of those below, kindling them and firing them to their own heat, and wholly purifying them by a burning and all-consuming flame; and by the unhidden, unquenchable, changeless, radiant and enlightening power, dispelling and destroying the shadows of darkness."

Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae describes Seraphim as follows:

    "The name 'Seraphim' does not come from charity only, but from the excess of charity, expressed by the word ardor or fire. Hence Dionysius (Coel. Hier. vii) expounds the name 'Seraphim' according to the properties of fire, containing an excess of heat. Now in fire we may consider three things.

    "First, the movement which is upwards and continuous. This signifies that they are borne inflexibly towards God.

    "Secondly, the active force which is 'heat,' which is not found in fire simply, but exists with a certain sharpness, as being of most penetrating action, and reaching even to the smallest things, and as it were, with superabundant fervor; whereby is signified the action of these angels, exercised powerfully upon those who are subject to them, rousing them to a like fervor, and cleansing them wholly by their heat.

    "Thirdly we consider in fire the quality of clarity, or brightness; which signifies that these angels have in themselves an inextinguishable light, and that they also perfectly enlighten others." 

 Fr. Danielou notes that the Sursum corda and the Trisagion are connected by a shared sense of holy awe.  He cites Theodore of Mopsuestia to "[show] the relation of the Trisagion to the spirit of fear and awe: "We use the awe-inspiring words of the invisible powers to show the greatness of the mercy which is freely lavished on us.  Fear fills our conscience throughout the whole course of the liturgy, both before we cry out 'holy!' and afterwards: we look down at the ground, because of the greatness of what is being done, manifesting this same fear." 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Out-Moloching Moloch (Part 3)

"Forces of destruction at work"

Henri Daniel-Rops

At a book sale held recently at a nearby Catholic high school, I was able to pick up a King James Bible, as well as several classic Catholic texts by such authors as Jean Danielou, SJ and Henri Daniel-Rops, all for roughly the price of a venti latte, to use the annoying Starbucks argot.   I also purchased,  purely for amusement and at no additional charge, a book by the proto-heretic (to use Justin Martyr's term) Gregory Baum.  This text will be sifted for absurdity, and you may be sure that its most appalling clods of obtuse fractiousness will be displayed in due time upon this blog.

Meanwhile, from "The Church of Apostles and Martyrs, Vol II," here is Henri Daniel-Rops' description of third century Rome, which bears, it seems to me, more than a passing resemblance to our own times:

"[F]orces of destruction were at work in every sphere of activity, not merely the political one, and these became more and more effective as time went by.  Art, morality, literature and social life no longer presented the characteristics of vitality and equilibrium which they had possessed during Rome's greatest epochs.   For Rome the history of the third century was one of a decadence from which the ancient Latin vigour could still jolt her back to sanity and momentary revival, but which nevertheless dragged irresistibly onward to its inevitable end."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Sursum corda" and holy fear

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

In a series of recent posts we took a rather detailed look at Abbot Vonier's masterful text, "A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist."  We now turn to "The Bible and Liturgy" by Fr. Jean Danielou SJ, which examines the same subject but from a very different standpoint.   Abbot Vonier's treatment of the Eucharist depended heavily upon the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas.   Fr. Danielou's book, on the other hand, was published in 1951, when many in the Church were seeking fresh, non-Thomistic perspectives on familiar topics.  Rather than look to St. Thomas for guidance, Fr. Danielou instead combs through teachings of the Fathers of the Church which touch upon liturgy.  Here is Fr. Danielou on "Sursum Corda":

"[T]he great anaphora spoken over the bread and wine . . . . is introduced by the ancient formulae that our liturgy still retains.  Cyril (of Jerusalem) comments on them as follows; "the priest then cries: Sursum corda.   Yes, truly at this moment, filled with holy fear (phrikodestaton) we must hold our hearts raised on high to God and turned no longer toward the earth and earthly things.

"Cyril rightly emphasizes the symbolism of the Sursum corda.   It is the expression of the holy fear (phrike) with which the hearts of the faithful should be filled at the moment when "the awe-inspiring liturgy" is to be accomplished.  Holy fear is the feeling which takes possession of man's heart when the living God manifests His presence.  It is also the disposition of the angels in the heavenly liturgy:   "They adore, they glorify, with fear they sing continuously mysterious hymns of praise." (St. John Chrystostom, On the Incomprehensible)

St. Cyril of Jerusalem and St. John Chrysostom, pray for us.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The kiss of peace - we've lost the knack

The modern kiss of peace - often followed by a general feeling of relief that it's over

And we'll never get it back.

In my experience, the kiss of peace generally amounts to little more than an awkward smile and a fumbling hand shake.  At weekday Mass the kiss of peace has degenerated into a nod of the head or a tiny wave directed only at those to one's immediate right, left and front.   However, the early Church set great store by this ceremony, as evidenced by these Church fathers quoted by Jean Danielou, SJ in "The Bible and Liturgy":

". . . St. Cyril tell us, 'let us embrace one another and give the kiss of peace.   Do not think that this is the kiss which friends are accustomed to give one another when  they meet in the agora.  This is not such a kiss.  This unites souls to one another and destroys all resentment.  The kiss is a sign of the union of souls This is why the Lord said: If you bring your offering to the altar and you remember that you have anything against your brother, go first and be reconciled with your brother"  (XXXIII,  1112 A).  St. Augustine, in one of his sermons on Easter, commenting on the sacramental rites to the newly baptized, says: "After this is said: Peace be with you: and Christians give one another the holy kiss.   It is the sign of peace. That which the lips show outwardly, exists in our hearts.  (P. L. XXXVIII, 1101 A)."

"Theodore of Mopsuestia deepens the meaning of the rite:  "All give the peace to one another , and by this kiss they make a kind of profession of the unity and charity that they have among themselves."

The practice of the kiss of peace was subsequently confined to the priest and other clergy before the altar.  The passage of so many centuries during which the kiss of peace was conducted in this manner undoubtedly has had a powerful effect upon the faithful.   Though the practice of the early Church respecting the kiss of peace has been restored, restoring the attitude of the early Church towards the kiss of peace has proved a much more difficult matter.  The restoration of the kiss of peace is an instance where those seeking renewal of the liturgy, while perhaps well informed historically and patristically, were very unwise concerning the effect of longstanding custom upon the attitude of the ordinary Catholic.     

Friday, May 18, 2012

Out-Moloching Moloch (Part 2)

Sacrificing an infant to Moloch

Briton arrested after police find 6 roasted babies in his luggage.

May is Mary's Month (part 3)

"The Virgin of the Roses"  W. A. Bouguereau

For centuries, the Church has devoted the month of May to Marian devotions.  The following is taken from "The Glories of Mary" by St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church:

"May the infinite goodness of our God be forever praised, says Saint Bernard, for having given us Mary as our advocate in heaven, that she, at the same time the mother of our Judge and a mother of mercy, may be able, by her intercession, to bring to a safe conclusion the great affair of our eternal salvation. . . . Saint Bonaventure exclaims: "Hear, O nations; all you who desire God's kingdom, serve and honor the Blessed Virgin and you shall certainly have eternal life."

Holy Virgin of Virgins, pray for us.

Petulant Hans Kung to skip Vatican II celebration

 Hans Kung - prefers to mourn

Kung waited until the last second to notify his hosts he wouldn't be coming, which is not the behavior of a gentleman.  Well, as Colonel Harrington observed in The Lady Eve,  "a mug is a mug in everything."

If a man such as Kung considers the fiftieth anniversary of the Council an occasion better suited to mourning than celebration, perhaps the Church has come through the post-Council crisis in better shape than some of us fear.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Christ rises on high. Alleluia, alleluia"

"The Ascension," Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry

From a sermon on the Feast of the Ascension by Pope St. Leo the Great (courtesy of Fisheaters):

Since then Christ's Ascension is our uplifting, and the hope of the Body is raised, whither the glory of the Head has gone before, let us exult, dearly-beloved, with worthy joy and delight in the loyal paying of thanks. For today not only are we confirmed as possessors of paradise, but have also in Christ penetrated the heights of heaven, and have gained still greater things through Christ's unspeakable grace than we had lost through the devil's malice. For us, whom our virulent enemy had driven out from the bliss of our first abode, the Son of God has made members of Himself and placed at the right hand of the Father, with Whom He lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our Lady of Fatima calls us to conversion and penance

The Fatima Visionaries

The apparitions of Our Lady to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta near Fatima in Portugal began on this date in 1917.  It was also on this date, in 1981, that an assassin shot Blessed Pope John Paul II.  John Paul credited Our Lady of Fatima with saving his life, and in one of several acts of gratitude he renewed the consecration of the entire world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which Pope Pius XII had originally made in 1942.  This consecration had been requested by Our Lady in the "Second Secret" of Fatima.

Courtesy of  St. Peter's List, here are some of the more important portions of Our Lady of Fatima's message:

“More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”
“Never speak ill of anyone. Never complain or murmur. Be very patient, for patience leads us to Heaven.”
“Continue to pray the Rosary every day.”

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

No wonder the Jesuits kicked him out

Jean Danielou, SJ

In a 1972 interview, the scholarly Cardinal Jean Danielou, SJ, identified the source of rot which even then was well underway in many religious orders and has since consumed most of the once vital Society of Jesus, leaving a residue comprised mainly of whiny heretics and heresy sympathizers.   Chief among the problems noted by Cardinal Danielou were the abandonment by many congregations of religious obedience and the regular life of prayer.   Cardinal Danielou was rewarded for his insight and honesty by being kicked out of his quarters at the Jesuit publication "Etudes."  His nemesis at Etudes, Bruno Ribes, SJ, eventually left the order, (a common characteristic among Vatican II era firebrands).   Courtesy of Sandro Magister, you may read the full interview here (h/t Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit).

St. Ignatius Loyola, pray for us.

Part of SSPX preparing to do "combat within the walls"

SSPX Ordination procession 2011

While another portion of the SSPX may be determined to remain without the walls, since from that vantage point the Church they reject as subjectivist and modernist appears a more inviting object of critique, and even hatred.

The estimable Dr. Oddie has more here.

"The cranks in authority"

The lights appear to be going back on all over the world.  
This Low Mass was celebrated at the seminary of the NY Archdiocese

From a letter of  Evelyn Waugh to the Editor of The Tablet, August 14, 1965:

"We have had the "liturgical movement" with us in parts of the USA and northern Europe for a generation.  We looked on them as harmless cranks who were attempting to devise a charade of second-century habits.  We had confidence in the abiding Romanita of our Church.  Suddenly we find the cranks in authority.

In the sixteenth century the demand for Communion in both kinds (itself inoffensive) became a characteristic of heresy.  In rather the same way today the appetite for small interpolations and abridgements, for raising the voice instead of the mind and heart, the disordering of services of great beauty and meaning which have developed throughout the centuries (e.g. the ritual of Good Friday) may prove to be symptoms of grave ill."

We have, these last several decades, suffered the grave ill of which Waugh noted the symptoms.  Although our sufferings are far from being at an end, there are signs that perhaps the tide has begun to turn back toward tradition.

Elizabethan martyrs, pray for us.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hail, Matthias, Apostle and Martyr

Abbey Church of St. Matthias, Trier

Today is the feast of St. Matthias, who was chosen by lot from among the 120 disciples to replace Judas Iscariot, the apostle who turned traitor.  Not much else is known for certain of Matthias.  According to one tradition, St. Matthias preached in Aetheopia on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, and was crucified there in about 80 AD.  Another tradition holds that St. Matthias was martyred in Jerusalem by being stoned and then beheaded.    For this reason, St. Matthias is often depicted holding a halberd, the instrument of his martyrdom.  What were believed to be St. Matthias's relics were brought to St. Maria Maggiore in Rome by St. Helena, the mother of Constantine.  A portion of the relics were interred at the monastery of St. Matthias at Trier, in Germany.  However, these relics may actually have belonged to a different Matthias who was bishop of Jerusalem and who also was martyred by stoning.  Until 1969, St. Matthias's feast was celebrated on Feb. 24.  This day was considered a very  favorable one for playing games of chance, since St. Matthias himself had been elected an apostle by lot.   St. Matthias's feast was moved to bring it out of Lent and closer to the Feast of the Ascension, since it was in the days following the Ascension that St. Matthias's election took place.

St. Matthias, pray for us.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Friday Meditation

Jesus meets his Mother

From "The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ" by St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church:

"We must suffer, and all must suffer; be they just, or be they sinners, each one must carry his cross.  He that carries it with patience is saved; he that carries it with impatience is lost.  St. Augustine says, the same miseries send some to Paradise and some to Hell..."

In that case, let's carry our crosses patiently.

St. Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May is Mary's Month (part 2)

"Madonna and Child,"  Taddeo di Bartolo

For centuries, the Church has dedicated the month of May to our Blessed Mother.

The following is taken from "True Devotion to Mary" by St. Louis de Montfort:

"The Ave Maria said well, that is to say, with attention, devotion and modesty is, according to the saints, the enemy of the devil, which puts him to flight, and the hammer that crushes him, the sanctification of the soul, the joy of angels, the melody of the predestined, the Canticle of the New Testament, the pleasure of Mary and the glory of the Most Holy Trinity."

Holy Mother of God, pray for us.

Must be more to this than meets the eye

New copies of this edition of the New American Bible are for sale on Amazon for the eye-popping price of $995.   A used copy will set you back even more: $1,444.

"Brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven" = "heat event"?

Lot and his family fleeing "heat event"

Archaeologists determine Sodom & Gomorrah destroyed by "heat event."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May is Mary's Month

May Crowning, Oakland, Calif, 1949
Mary's statue is still there, but the crownings have been discontinued.

Since the 13th century, the Church has dedicated May to Marian devotion.   Though in recent years this practice has, like so many traditional devotions, lapsed practically everywhere, at the local parish this Sunday , for the first time in years, we had a May Crowning, courtesy of the Rosary Altar Society (I didn't know we still had a Rosary Altar Society!)    Perhaps we have reached an important milestone on the road back from the bleak, disordered landscape into which ill-considered reform led many parishes.

The following is taken from "The Glories of Mary" by St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church:

"How great then should be our confidence in this queen knowing how powerful she is with God and at the same time how rich and full of mercy, so much so that there is no one on earth who does not share in the mercies and favors of Mary.  This the blessed Virgin herself revealed to St Bridget: "I am" she said to her, "the queen of heaven and the mother of mercy; I am the joy of the just; and the gate of entrance for sinners to God; neither is there living on earth a sinner who is so accursed that he is deprived of my compassion"

Holy Mary, pray for us.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Crusades: Ineffectual Response to Islamic Aggression

Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont (1095 AD): "Deus Vult"

Jonah Goldberg reminds the world of a few facts concerning the Crusades: they were defensive, since they were launched in response to Islam's conquest of 2/3 of Christendom, and they largely failed, since the Holy Land was recaptured only briefly.  The word "Crusade" itself, considered so offensive today that many schools and universities have dropped "Crusader" as a mascot name, did not gain currency until the 19th century, 600 years after the last Crusader had been expelled from the Holy Land.   More here.

Courtesy of Wikipedia, here is an excerpt from Pope Urban's address to the Council:

"...[Y]our brethren who live in the east are in urgent need of your help, and you must hasten to give them the aid which has often been promised them. For, as the most of you have heard, the Turks and Arabs have attacked them and have conquered the territory of Romania [the Greek empire] as far west as the shore of the Mediterranean and the Hellespont, which is called the Arm of St. George. They have occupied more and more of the lands of those Christians, and have overcome them in seven battles. They have killed and captured many, and have destroyed the churches and devastated the empire. If you permit them to continue thus for awhile with impunity, the faithful of God will be much more widely attacked by them. On this account I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ's heralds to publish this everywhere and to persuade all people of whatever rank, foot-soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends."

"Healthy irreverence" ?

Unsuitable dress for the "priest-president"

From a letter of Evelyn Waugh to the Editor of the Tablet, August 21, 1965, regarding an article in Commonweal concerning liturgists:

"The author is Fr John J. Ryan of the diocese of Peoria now, we are told, employed in writing "catechetical materials" in Chicago.

He begins by quoting a friendly priest who, with what he describes as "healthy irreverence", remarked: "Now that we have the liturgy in English, the people will really see how absurd it is."

The liturgy, he says, "fixed in all essentials" for the "tribal men" of late Roman society, says "next to nothing" about the "insights" of contemporary man.  The Gloria is a "curious thing".  The Canon an "obscure and puzzling list of Roman worthies."

".... Fr Ryan wishes to change the words "low obedience, duty, virtue" (I presume he is here referring to his catechism) for "encounter, commitment and involvement."

"He nowhere suggest the unique sanctity of the priestly office . . . The priest must not emerge "like a God in an ancient pageant".  Vestments are out and, also, it seems, any distinguishing costume.  Instead he wishes to have a "priest-president" who will conduct a "sort of town meeting" to discuss social projects."

Incidentally, Fr. John J. Ryan died in 2000.  According to his obituary in the Chicago Tribune, "Mr. Ryan was not active as a priest when he died and preferred to be called professor, his sister said."

Elizabethan martyrs, pray for us. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"On the value of time"

"Damned Souls", York Minster, 12th c AD

The following is taken from a sermon for the Third Sunday after Easter by our Eastertide guide, St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church:

"Son", says the Holy Ghost, "observe the time." - Eccl. , iv. 23.  Son, learn to preserve time, which is the most precious, and the greatest gift that God can bestow upon you.  St. Bernardine of Sienna teaches, that time is of as much value as God; because in every moment of time well spent, the possession of God is merited.  He adds, that in every instant of this life a man may obtain the pardon of his sins, the grace of God, and the glory of Paradise. . . .  . Hence St. Bonaventure says, that, "no loss is of greater moment than the loss of time" - ser. xxxvii. in Sept.

"O time despised by men during life, how much shall you be desired at the hour of death, and particularly in the other world! . . . . In Hell, the damned exclaim with tears: "Oh! that an hour were given to us".

"Some of you will say: What evil am I doing?   Is it not, I ask, an evil to spend your time in plays, in conversations, and useless occupations, which are unprofitable to the soul?  Does God give you this time to lose it?"

"You say: I will hereafter give myself to God.  But "why", answers St. Bernard, "do you, a miserable sinner, presume on the future, as if the Father placed time in you power?"

St. Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"None" knows what he doesn't like

According to None, this book is "riddled with errors and lies."

"None" is a book reviewer on Amazon.  He (or she) has reviewed five books on morality and religion, but None gave all of them just one star.   Indeed, zero stars would have been None's preferred grade, but that's impossible on Amazon.  Words like "Ridiculous," "horrible," "garbage," "lies," and "DO NOT read" pop up a lot in None's reviews.   For all I know, the books deserve the rough treatment None gives them.  You may read all of None's reviews here.

Hail, Athanasius, Father of Orthodoxy

Tomb of St. Athanasius, Church of San Zaccaria, Venice

Today is the feast of St. Athanasius (d. 373 AD), one of the Four Great Doctors of the Church, who was hailed as the "Pillar of the Church" by St. Gregory Nazianzus.   For dutifully upholding orthodoxy against the Arian heresy, which was favored not only by Roman emperors but also by many of his fellow bishops,  Athanasius suffered exile five times.  The Arians held that the Second Person of the Trinity was created by, and therefore distinct from and inferior to, God the Father.   Islam is a type of Arianism, and Arianism persists today even among Catholics who do not credit the full divinity of Jesus. Though he suffered greatly for his fidelity to doctrine, Athanasius was in the end rewarded by a peaceful death, in the company of his clergy and the faithful of Alexandria.

The following is taken from St. Athanasius' "On the Incarnation of the Word:"

"[T]he good God has given [mankind] a share in His own Image, that is, in our Lord Jesus Christ, and has made even themselves after the same Image and Likeness. Why? Simply in order that through this gift of Godlikeness in themselves they may be able to perceive the Image Absolute, that is the Word Himself, and through Him to apprehend the Father; which knowledge of their Maker is for men the only really happy and blessed life."

St. Athanasius, Pillar of the Church, pray for us.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"A new kind of anticlericalism"

Martyrdom of St. Edmund Campion

From a letter of Evelyn Waugh to Archbishop Heenan, August 25, 1964:

"I detect a new kind of anticlericalism.  The old anticlericals, by imputing avarice, ambition, immorality etc. to the priesthood at least recognised its peculiar and essential character, which made lapses notable.  The new anticlericals seem to minimise the sacramental character of the priesthood and to suggest that the laity are their equals."

From a letter of Archbishop Heenan to Evelyn Waugh, August 28, 1964:

"Of course you are right.  That is why they are playing up this People of God and Priesthood of the Laity so much.  The Mass is no longer the Holy Sacrifice but the Meal at which the priest is the waiter."

Elizabethan martyrs, pray for us.

Jesuit bishop sets shining example for his brother bishops

Bishop Murry

George Murry SJ,  bishop of Youngstown, Ohio, has asked Mercy College of Ohio to rescind its invitation to a pro-abortion politician to speak at the College's commencement.  Bishop Murry makes it look easy.  Let's hope all bishops follow Bishop Murry's example of forthright defense of doctrine. 

RELATED: Archbishop Mennini, papal nuncio to England and Wales, urges bishops to express the teachings of the Church in "a clear and outspoken way."
St. Ignatius Loyola, pray for us.