Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Turth in Charity

I received the following from Abe Alsop, who attended our Dominican Chapter meetings until the pressing duties of family and young children overwhelmed his calendar. It's a beautiful articulation of living the faith in one's state of life, and a reminder that it is how we love, not what we know, that is the basis of the last judgement. Thank you, Abe!

I've registered TruthInCharity.org, which I think would be a good name for some sort of theological colloquium website, but I'm not sure what it would look like (let me know if you have any ideas). The name comes from something Pope Benedict said just before he was elected: "This faith, the only faith, creates unity and takes place in charity. St. Paul offers us a beautiful phrase, in opposition to the continual ups and downs of those who are like children tossed by the waves, to bring about truth in charity, as fundamental formula of Christian existence. Truth and charity coincide in Christ. In the measure that we come close to Christ, also in our life, truth and charity are fused. Charity without truth would be blind; truth without charity would be like 'a clanging cymbal' " And St. Dominic is attributed as saying he learned more from Charity than from any text, for "it teaches everything". I guess that's a good thing for me to remember at this stage in life, where my actions are hopefully speaking louder than the few words I
manage to ponder. I was raised (by a Lutheran pastor) to be very theological, and that continued in full force as I converted to the Church, and my year or two with the Dominicans was actually one of my last expressions of that mindset before I surrendered to this new phase of life where it's all I can do to just keep my family running smoothly. Maybe one day I will be able to ponder theologically for hours at a time again, but God knew I needed a decade or two of basic training in charity to ensure that my ideals take on flesh and dwell among us.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The birth of the first Apostle

On Dec 25 we will celebrate the birth of Jesus for the salvation of mankind. Christ, Savior, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, Son of Man, these are all common titles by which we know him. Perhaps one of the more common terms he used for himself is the most overlooked. We do well to remember that Jesus is the first Apostle. Perhaps this title does not readily come to mind because we regularly read the translation instead. His own constant witness is that he was “sent” (1)

As it is evident that Jesus was sent, so it also is evident that Jesus gathered others around him and “sent” them as He was sent, by and with His authority (2).

And that they chose and sent successors, as He authorized them to do (3).

Because Jesus promised to be with us forever, this will always be (4).

(1) Jn 4:34 5:24, 5:30, 5:37, 5:36, 6:38, 6:39, 6:40, 6:58, 7:16, 7:28, 7:33, 8:16, 8:18, 8:26, 8:29, 8:42, 9:4, 11:42, 12:44, 12:45, 12:49, 13:20, 14:24, 15:21, 16:5, 17:18, 17:21, 20:21, Lk 9:48, 10:16, Mk 9:36, Mt 10:40
(2) Jn 13:20-21, 17:18-21, 20:21, Lk 10:3, 10:16, Mk 9:36, Mt 10:16, 10:40, 28:18-20
(3) Acts 1:25-26, Titus 2:15
(4) Mt. 28:20

Monday, December 19, 2005

Pressing for Truth

A thought: If you take all of non-Catholic Christian belief, and could put it all together, and strain out the differences between A & B & C &... etc, You would end up with nothing, because all of them reject some things that others accept. You'd end up with the global world religion the UN and M. Gorbachev want to submit us to. However, if you instead put all the same beliefs together, and could strain out all the ERRORS of A & B & C & ... etc, then you'd have something. You'd have the Catholic faith, from which they all sprang as deformities based on adherance to error, because the only thing that separates non-catholics from each other and from the Catholic church are the errors.

Friday, December 09, 2005

3rd Sunday of Advent

We'll be hearing from the Gospel of John on Sunday. I found a couple of neat things in the commentary of ST. Thomas' Catena Aurea. John signifies "God's Grace," and Bethany signifies "house of obedience"

This is rather wonderful when we consider John baptizing in the Jordan beyond Bethany, for Grace transcends and perfects obedience, and it is obtained initially through baptism.

Now Martha, Mary, and Lazarus (the active life, the contemplative life, and the sinner) were particular best friends of Jesus whom he was fond of spending time with. yes, they lived in Bethany!

by this will I know that you love me, He said, if you keep my commandments.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Anselm's ontological proof of God

Last Saturday’s Office of Readings contains:
From a conference by St. Thomas Aquinas (Credo in Deum)

Again, eternal life consists of the joyous community of all the blessed, a
community of supreme delight, since everyone will share all that is good with all the blessed. Everyone will love everyone else as himself, and therefore will rejoice in another’s good as in his own. So it follows that the happiness and joy of each grows in proportion to the joy of all.

When I read this I was immediately recalled to the ontological proof of St.
Anselm. Consider for a moment a rocket or a plane shooting skyward. It races upward, and at the height of travel, for a brief moment, the passengers are suspended weightless, then gravity takes over and it plunges earthward. I believe that this is how St. Anselm wishes to have us know the proof of God’s existence, not by irefutable logic, but by a direct encounter. For if we meditate on “God is that which a greater than cannot be conceived” our reason races higher and higher, until, for a brief moment, freed from material constraint, it touches “that which a greater than cannot be conceived.” But the necessity of a creature is to be pulled back to earth by the weight of the flesh. As St. Paul said, “when will I be delivered from this body of death?”

To this goal we join him in looking forward to eternal life, when the body, made like that of Jesus Christ, is no longer a body of death, and will not impede our vision of God. What eternal life is like “no eye has seen, nor has it entered into the heart of man.” Yet perhaps St. Thomas gave us a tool not unlike St. Anselm. For imagine if my joy was the sum of mine and yours, and yours the sum of yours and mine. Ours are both now increased, and for a each person added, that sum grows at an unimaginable rate, reaching heights that are inconceivable. No, it cannot be imagined, but perhaps it's magnitude can just be glimpsed for a moment...

God bless,

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Farewell to Idealism

Chapter member Mike Turner OPL submitted this meditation:
I can remember a few years ago how my interest was captured in a way that I could not explain by Father Corapi's remark: "The truth is not something; it's somebody."

Today, I was paging through a book of my son's -- "Where the Right went Wrong," by Patrick Buchanan. I ran into a quote from the 19th century anarchist Sergei Nechaev. "The revolutionary...has no interests, affairs, feelings, attachments, property, not even a name that he can call his own. Everything in him is absorbed by one exclusive interest, one thought, one passion -- the revolution..."

There was a time when I would have thought that the difference between the Christian and the revolutionary (as described by Nechaev) is that the Christian is wholly dedicated to an ideal that is valid, while the revolutionary is dedicated to an invalid ideal.

But today I understood that the difference is much more basic. The Christian is not fundamentally an idealist. The object of our faith is not a set of principles. The object of our faith is the Triune God. And the work of the Christian is to save souls. Put another way, our work is to make friends for God.

This is both reassuring and sobering. Reassuring because you don't have to have special training or a spiffy IQ to make friends, just a good heart. Sobering because some of us aren't terribly good at making friends, even though it has been our proper work since early childhood. (Sobering also because of our helplessness in communicating God even to ourselves, let alone to unbelievers. I am a blind man describing what God looks like; a deaf man describing the sound of his voice.)

St. Paul doesn't preach that "X is true." Rather, he says, "I preach Jesus Christ." Not an idea, but a person.

Monday, November 14, 2005

New equipment for Chapter House

Gayle and I traveled to Twin Falls to attend a farm auction, where we acquired a nice 6' Ford Terrace Plow. Now we should be able to keep the road in better shape!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Nothing new under the sun: skill in proposing error

The following is a wonderful description of the limitation of human reason as opposed to the assistance of revelation as a guide to illuminate reason.

AETERNI PATRIS (On the Restoration of Christian Philosophy)
Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on 4 August 1879.

9. We know that there are some who, in their overestimate of the human faculties, maintain that as soon as man's intellect becomes subject to divine authority it falls from its native dignity, and hampered by the yoke of this species of slavery, is much retarded and hindered in its progress toward the supreme truth and excellence. Such an idea is most false and deceptive, and its sole tendency is to induce foolish and ungrateful men willfully to repudiate the most sublime truths, and reject the divine gift of faith, from which the fountains of all good things flow out upon civil society. For the human mind, being confined within certain limits, and those narrow enough, is exposed to many errors and is ignorant of many things; whereas the Christian faith, reposing on the authority of God, is the unfailing mistress of truth, whom whoso followeth he will be neither enmeshed in the snares of error nor tossed hither and thither on the waves of fluctuating opinion. Those, therefore, who to the study of philosophy unite obedience to the Christian faith, are philosophizing in the best possible way; for the splendor of the divine truths, received into the mind, helps the understanding, and not only detracts in nowise from its dignity, but adds greatly to its nobility, keenness, and stability. For surely that is a worthy and most useful exercise of reason when men give their minds to disproving those things which are repugnant to faith and proving the things which conform to faith. In the first case they cut the ground from under the feet of error and expose the viciousness of the arguments on which error rests; while in the second case they make themselves masters of weighty reasons for the sound demonstration of truth and the satisfactory instruction of any reasonable person. Whoever denies that such study and practice tend to add to the resources and expand the faculties of the mind must necessarily and absurdly hold that the mind gains nothing from discriminating between the true and the false. Justly, therefore, does the Vatican Council commemorate in these words the great benefits which faith has conferred upon reason: Faith frees and saves reason from error, and endows it with manifold knowledge.[26] A wise man, therefore, would not accuse faith and look upon it as opposed to reason and natural truths, but would rather offer heartfelt thanks to God, and sincerely rejoice that, in the density of ignorance and in the flood-tide of error, holy faith, like a friendly star, shines down upon his path and points out to him the fair gate of truth beyond all danger of wandering.

10. If, venerable brethren, you open the history of philosophy, you will find all We have just said proved by experience. The philosophers of old who lacked the gift of faith, yet were esteemed so wise, fell into many appalling errors. You know how often among some truths they taught false and incongruous things; what vague and doubtful opinions they held concerning the nature of the Divinity, the first origin of things, the government of the world, the divine knowledge of the future, the cause and principle of evil, the ultimate end of man, the eternal beatitude, concerning virtue and vice, and other matters, a true and certain knowledge of which is most necessary to the human race; while, on the other hand, the early Fathers and Doctors of the Church, who well understood that, according to the divine plan, the restorer of human science is Christ, who is the power and the wisdom of God,[27] and in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,[28] took up and investigated the books of the ancient philosophers, and compared their teachings with the doctrines of revelation, and, carefully sifting them, they cherished what was true and wise in them and amended or rejected all else. For, as the all-seeing God against the cruelty of tyrants raised up mighty martyrs to the defense of the Church, men prodigal of their great lives, in like manner to false philosophers and heretics He opposed men of great wisdom, to defend, even by the aid of human reason, the treasure of revealed truths. Thus, from the very first ages of the Church, the Catholic doctrine has encountered a multitude of most bitter adversaries, who, deriding the Christian dogmas and institutions, maintained that there were many gods, that the material world never had a beginning or cause, and that the course of events was one of blind and fatal necessity, not regulated by the will of Divine Providence.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Preparing for the hour of visitation

Next Sunday’s gospel:

"Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise ones replied, 'No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.' While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, 'Lord, Lord, open the door for us!' But he said in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.' Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

An understanding of the scriptures is influenced by our culture, the obvious example being the nature of a wedding, quite different here than what we see today! There is one other cultural perspective which we should be aware of. Jesus was speaking to the Jews of his time, people who were waiting for a messiah to deliver them. The use of ten and five in the parable would have been very significant to Jesus’ listeners; they would have immediately connected this to the ten commandments and the five books of the law, and the awaited bridegroom is none other than the awaited messiah. As a reading of the old testament will show, many under the old covenant did not prepare for his coming, while there were those who did.

From a Christian perspective this scripture can appear harsh and unforgiving. This is the mystery of free will refusing the offer of God himself. Judas certainly is the supreme example, for God wishes the conversion of sinners and wills no one to be lost. The destruction of Jerusalem shows that to fail to accept Jesus in the Hour of his visitation is not a good thing…

Lk 19:41ff As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If this day you only knew what makes for peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

We do not know what is right to pray for

Ten years ago today I received the following email. It came at a time when I had hit rock bottom; it moved me immensely, and as a result, I sought out a Catholic priest for the first time in my life.

On this day I share it again to give thanks to God who gave us his son, who gave us so many through the ages who have worked so tirelessly that those in darkness would see a great light.

May God's blessings be upon you.

Subject: We do not know what is right to pray for

Today while praying the Office of Readings, the second taught me a thing or two about the nature of prayer and answered some questions that, I think, all of us have from time to time: Why does it seem that many times our prayers go unanswered? Doesn't God hear us? I thought that the answer supplied by Saint Augustine was inspired and I wanted to share it with all of you.

>From the Office of the Reading for Thursday in the 29th week in
Ordinary Time:

From a letter to Proba by Saint Augustine, bishop

(We do not know what is right to pray for)

You may still want to ask why the Apostle said: We do not know what is right to pray for, because, surely, we can not believe that he or those to whom he wrote did not know the Lords Prayer.

He showed that he himself shared this uncertainty. Did he know what it was right to pray for when he was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to bruise him, so that he might not be puffed up by the greatness of what was revealed to him? Three times he asked the Lord to take it away from him, which showed that he did not know what he should ask for in prayer. At last, he heard the Lord's answer, explaining why the prayer of so great a man was not granted, and why it was not expedient for it to be granted: My grace is sufficient for you, for power shines forth more perfectly in weakness.

In the kind of affliction, then, which can bring either good or ill, we do not know what it is right to pray for; yet, because it is difficult, troublesome and against the grain for us, weak as we are, we do what every human would do, we pray that it might be taken away from us. We owe, however, at least this much in our duty to God: if he does not take it away, we must not imagine that we are being forgotten by him but, because of our loving endurance of evil, must await greater blessings in its place. In this way, power shines forth more perfectly in weakness. These words are written to prevent us from having too great an opinion of ourselves if our prayer is granted, when we are impatient in asking for something that it would be better not to receive; and to prevent us from being dejected, and distrustfull of God's mercy towards us, if our prayer is not granted, when we ask for somthing that would bring us greater affliction, or completely ruin us through the corrupting influence of prosperity. In these cases we do not know what it is right to ask for in prayer.

Therefore, if somthing happens that we did not pray for, we must have no doubt that all that what God wants is more expedient than what we wanted ourselves. Our great Mediator gave us an example of this. After he said: Father, if it is possible, let this cup be taken away from me, he immediately added, Yet not what I will, but what you will, Father, so transforming the human will that was his through his taking of human nature. As a consequence, and rightly so, through the obedience of one man the many are made righteous.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Church of Transfiguration

This link is for a web page of pictures of the first stop on our recent trip to the Holy Land (Terra Sancta). Our first stop was Mt Tabor, the Church of the transfiguration.

On the darker side

This sign was on the Church of All Nations, which contains the rock over which Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Sort of sums up the post-Vatican II church, don't you think?

On the lighter side...

Preacher John!

Here's John trying it on for size. Don't you think it looks good?
(Chapel of Moses, Church of the Transfiguration, Mt. Tabor)

And yours truly sitting on the steps outside the home of Caiphas. These are the steps which Jesus would have had to walk after the arrest in the garden.

and with Father Bart de la Torre at the tomb of St. Jerome.

Charity, Social Justice, and Apostolic Consideration

Found these while reviewing a book I took to Israel. It sort of sums a consideration we all need to keep in mind!

God bless,

M. Eugene Boylan, in "This Tremendous Lover", wrote:

Let it be noted that charity does not compel us to like people, but to love them. And love is an act of the will wishing one well. Further what passes for fraternal charity is often not really Christian. Modern civilization is full of a humanitarianism which is not Christian charity, for its motive is not the love of God. It may be a love of man, though it is more often a love of management. Whatever be its motive, unless it be derived from the love of God, it profiteth nothing. It is on this point that many Catholics - even many Catholic religious - make a fatal mistake that renders much of their works for their neighbor sterile and unprofitable; for their motives are human. To them can be applied the warning of our Lord: Amen, I say unto you, they have received their reward. [p. 71]

But the result of popular misconception is that one often forgets that our principal duty to our neighbor is a supernatural one, and that the principal way of satisfying that duty is also a supernatural one. The most destitute man in the world is the man in the state of mortal sin. He cannot rise out of his sin without the help of a grace, which he cannot merit strictly for himself. The greatest work then of fraternal charity is that by which grace is obtained from God for those in moralt sin. And grace is only obtained by a spritual life. The greatest service we can render our neighbor is to santify ourselves. [...] There is no limit to the supernatural service we can render our neighbor by a life of faith, hope, charity, humility and abandonment to the will of God. [p. 227]

Prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem

In Jerusalem is what is known as the Western Wall or the Wailing Wall. It is the foundation of the temple mount, and as such is the closest remaining material thing of the third temple. To the Jews this is the holiest of holy places, as it bears direct connection to the ancient temple worship, which was overthrown by the Romans in 72AD.

We are also aware of the Jewish custom of writing prayers and inserting them in the cracks of the stones. For the Temple was the very dwelling place of God.

Yet we are Christians. As St. Paul said, Do you not know that you are the temple of God? In Ezechiel, God says that I will take away your stony hearts and give you hearts of flesh. The old temple walls are cold stone, like the heart without grace. The temple of the new covenant is a heart renewed by grace, no longer stony, but a heart of flesh. Because it is a heart of flesh, it can also be pierced by the sword of suffering, as Simeon prophesied to our blessed Mother. The Jews carry their intentions to the cracks of the cold stone, we Christians place our intentions into the cracks of our wounded hearts and there in love unite our suffering with our beloved neighbor, as Jesus taught us to do, in a sweet offering to the Father through the Holy Spirit.

Let us lift up our hearts to the Lord, and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Ascension meditation revisited

The Chapel of the Ascension, Jerusalem
contains the rock of the ascension

At this site I briefly shared a meditation on the ascension based on the works of St. Augustine, in particular the Expositions on the Psalms (PSALM LXXXIX, 7-9 ).

Read the rest here

Dominus Flavit - The Order of Preachers

This is a picture of the mosaic on the altar at the church of Dominus Flavit, the place where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. It is obviously inspired by the text of Mt 23:37.

This is just one of many traditional depictions of the maternal protection of the Order of Preachers provided by our Lady. A similar motif, is it not? In St. Louis-Marie de Montfort's book, True Devotion to Mary, he makes the observation that due to the fact that Mary is now united to her Son, devotion to Mary is devotion to the Son. This helps unite these two themes.

God bless,

Dominus Flavit - The Lord wept

How many times am I to forgive my neighbor? Seven times seventy was the response. We must always be prepared to forgive our neighbor, if we wish to be forgiven. The one who plays God is not the one who takes life, no, he plays the devil. To play God is to extend mercy, for God glories in His mercy. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Is there ever a situation where we may not forgive? No, as long as there is repentance, we are obliged to forgive, to act towards our neighbor as God does. This is the work of mercy incumbent on us, to be prepared to forgive from the heart, to rejoice with the angels over the conversion of a sinner.

Is there ever a situation where we can not forgive? This is different. For there is a sin which never can be forgiven, the sin against the Holy Spirit. This is the sin of refusing to repent and ask for mercy. One who does not ask cannot receive. Final impenitence for mortal sin brings one to hell, which is the exercise of God’s justice.

Who among us has not experienced the hurt from one who should love us, even who owes us their love and devotion, such as a child or a spouse? Is this not a shadow of what God receives from us, who in justice owe love to our creator, and gratitude to our redeemer? What parent is not quick to forgive a truly repentant child, and carries a deep hurt when they refuse our love and turn away?

So you see, repentance brings forth a response of mercy, which is the cause of joy in heaven and on earth. In stark contrast, impenitence brings forth justice, whose bitter fruit is sorrow, even the tears of God.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets
and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I
have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather
her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldst not?
[Mt 23:37]

Holy Land trip

Over the next few days, I hope to post some pictures and reflections from the trip to the holy land. Mark Gross, John Keenan, and Fr. Bart de la Torre joined Steve Ray's trip for a delicious buffet of the holy sites. This was Gwen's gift, and it has been received with love.

Deo Gratia

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

July Retreat

Finally thought to get Bonnie's pictures of the July retreat, which ran from Friday, the Feast of Mary Magdalene, through the rest of the weekend.

Yours truly introduced Mary Magdalene from a chapter in Louis of Granada's Summa of the Christian Life.

Our guest, Jayne Teske, gave a delightful presentation on Opus Dei

Sandra Ferguson followed with a presentation on the Holy Grail,

and Gayle and Stepanie by flashlight closed with more on Mary Madalene.

In the morning, our first Holy Mass at the Chapter House was celebrated!

A hearty thanks to Fr. Flores of Our Lady of the Valley for celebrating mass for us!

Holy Communion

Jim's urn

Procession with Jim's cremains to the cemetery.

The chapter gathers

for the final blessing for the interment. May God grant Jim Schuck TOP, and all the faithful departed, eternal rest.

Then, as good Dominican Tertiaries, it's back to the table to eat together,

and to study together,

and to pray together,

and then eat some more together,

to study the signs of the times,

and to praise the Lord in hymns and songs of praise.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Preaching charism & Katrina

There is much noise from both ends of the spectrum; from divine punishment of sin to random events in a Godless universe. I thought it good to consider what today is in the Liturgy of the Hours, Office of Readings. St. Augustine wrote about the duties of the pastor, which includes preaching, which is the charism of the Dominicans in which we participate within our own circumstances.

As the media enjoys a macabre festival of finger-pointing, remember that God wants us to examine our own conscience, and to know and love Him that we may through our efforts help bring others to do so as well; and by so doing, offer the sacrifice of a soul that is so pleasing to God. This is what the sacrifices of the old testament prefigured; the death of the sinner reborn through baptism to a new life, offered to God.

Friday of the 24th Week of Ordinary Time
Liturgy of the Hours, Office of Readings

From a sermon On Pastors by St. Augustine

But what sort of shepherds are they who for fear of giving offense not only fail to prepare the sheep for the temptations that threaten, but even promise them worldly happiness? God himself made no such promise to this world. On the contrary, God foretold hardship upon hardship in this world until the end of time. And you want the Christian to be exempt from these troubles? Precisely because he is a Christian, he is destined to suffer more in this world.

For the Apostle says: All who desire to live a holy life in Christ will suffer persecution. But you, shepherd, seek what is yours and not what is Christ’s, you disregard what the Apostle says: All who want to live a holy live in Christ will suffer persecution. You say instead: “If you live a holy life in Christ, all good things will be yours in abundance…” Is this the way you build up the believer? Take note of what you are doing and where you are placing him. You have built him on sand. The rains will come, the river will overflow and rush in, the winds will blow, and the elements will dash against that house of yours. It will fall, and its ruin will be great.

Lift him up from the sand and put him on the rock. Let him be in Christ, if you wish him to be a Christian. Let him turn his thoughts to sufferings, however unworthy they may be in comparison to Christ’s. Let him center his attention on Christ, who was without sin, and consider Scripture which says to him: He chastises every son whom he acknowledges. Let him prepare to be chastised, or else not seek to be acknowledged as a son.

Venerable Louis of Granada
The Sinners Guide
Chapter 28, Of those who refuse to practice Virtue because they love the World

To understand this more fully, remember that true happiness does not consist in sensible or corporal pleasures, as the disciples of Epicurus and Mahomet assume. In the sane class we may place bad Christians whose lips deny the doctrines of these men, but whose lives are entirely in accordance with them. For do not he majority of the rich, who spend their lives in the mad pursuit of pleasure, tacitly acknowledge with Epicureans that pleasure is their last end, and with the Mahometans that sensual delight is their paradise? O disciples worthy of such masters! Why do you not abhor the lives of those whose teachings you profess to condemn? If you will have the paradise of Mahomet, you must expect to lose that of Christ.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Upcoming events

Sept 18, 2005 - Next regular chapter meeting


Monday, August 29, 2005


There are three types of peace.

The first is the peace between God and man. God holds out the offer from the cross and awaits our acceptance. In other words, God waits for us to end the war against Him. He triumphed by surrendering to sinners. Why do we wait to surrender to the source of our being and of all Good?

The second peace is that peace where man is a peace with himself. The world covets this peace but does not know how to achieve it. This peace is a mirror of the first peace. In the first, peace is achieved when the lower serves the higher; thus when the lower faculties of the soul and the flesh serve the higher faculties of the soul (memory, understanding, and will), man is at peace with himself. The will is moved by the reason. Without grace, which comes from the first peace, the higher serves the lower, and man is not a peace, for he is serving his base appetites. The lower faculties incline towards vice, the higher towards virtue. With grace, the lower serves the higher, and man is at peace with himself.

The third peace is between neighbors. This peace is not possible between men who are not in possession of the first two. At best, men not at peace with themselves or God can be compelled into a facsimile of peace, but true peace occurs only when man is not at war with God and himself.

It is the world contents that the third peace can be had without the first, or even without reference to the second. The Lord, as our source and summit, who came to bring the blessing of peace on earth to men of good will, gave us the only Way, in Truth, and Life.

Thanks to Ven Louis of Granada, The Sinners Guide.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

St. Rose of Lima

Today is the feast day of the first American saint, Rose of Lima. Next Sunday you will hear our Lord in the Gospel tell us to "pick up our cross daily and follow Him." Rose had this to say (LOH: Office of Readings, Aug 32):

Our Lord said to Rose: "Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven"

Rose answers: "If only mortals would learn how great it is to possess divine grace, how beautiful, how noble, how precious. How many riches it hides within itself, how many joys and delights! Without doubt they would devote all their care and concern to winning for themselves pains and afflictions. All men throughout the world would seek trouble, infirmities and torments, instead of good fortune, in order to attain the unfathomable treasures of grace. This is the reward and the final gain of patience. No one would complain about his cross or about troubles that may happen to him, if he would come to know the scales on which they are weighted when they are distributed to men."

From the New Advent site:

In her twentieth year she received the habit of St. Dominic. Thereafter she redoubled the severity and variety of her penances to a heroic degree, wearing constantly a metal spiked crown, concealed by roses, and an iron chain about her waist. Days passed without food, save a draught of gall mixed with bitter herbs. When she could no longer stand, she sought repose on a bed constructed by herself, of broken glass, stone, potsherds, and thorns. She admitted that the thought of lying down on it made her tremble with dread. Fourteen years this martyrdom of her body continued without relaxation, but not without consolation. Our Lord revealed Himself to her frequently, flooding her soul with such inexpressible peace and joy as to leave her in ecstasy four hours. At these times she offered to Him all her mortifications and penances in expiation for offences against His Divine Majesty, for the idolatry of her country, for the conversion of sinners, and for the souls in Purgatory.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Freebies for The Da Vinci Code enthusiasts

From the UK Bishop's conference. Nice site!


Monday, July 18, 2005

It's all in the title (to get in the door)

just found this. It's a few days old, but remarkable!
We should observe the importance of a clever title for a presentation!

God be praised!

Lucy Gwin, editor of Mouth Magazine wrote:
We would have been lucky to win one convert.

Turns out, we got all BUT one.

Oh, they kicked and screamed, but they got off the Right to Die bandwagon.

We tricked them into hearing a pitch about our right to stay alive, billing our presentation to a Kansas City ACLU conference as "A New Field Guide to Closet Bigotry."

They tipped to the trick right away of course, but damned if they didn't stay to hear us out and, finally, reconsider the ACLU position on Terri Schiavo.

They had supposed, I suppose, that the only disabled people who want to stay alive are dupes of the rabid-religious right wing...

read the rest at:

Friday, July 15, 2005

Retreat on feast of Mary Magdalene

The retreat is shaping up. It begins 7PM on Friday evening, on the feast of Mary Magdalene, the first anniversary of the internment of our beloved Gwen.

Two presentation on the Magdalene will be given. Here's a sample from the first, from Ven Louis of Granada, Summa of the Christian Life, Volume 3, Chapter 19.

Mary Magdalene

Although there are many paths to heaven, all of them can be reduced to two: that of innocence and that of repentance. The first is the way of those who have never sinned; the other is the way of those who, having sinned, have done penance for their sins. The former was the path followed by the Blessed Virgin, St. John the Baptist, and those who never committed a mortal sin; the latter is the path of all other human beings.

Apart from these two paths there is no other because all those who are eventually saved are either innocent or repentant sinners. And since each of these paths requires a guide, divine wisdom has provided two guides that are outstanding. They are the two Marys: Mary, the Mother of the Savior, who was the mirror of innocence; and Mary Magdalene, who was the mirror of repentance. Accordingly, all who travel by the path of innocence should keep their eyes fixed on the first Mary so that they may travel well. But those who travel by the way of repentance should fix their gaze on the second Mary and try to imitate her ardent spirit, her profound sorrow for sin, her vital faith, burning love, and disdain of the world.

Click here to continue

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Confusing scripture finally enlightened

Yesterday in the Liturgy of the Hours, Office of Reading I read the following, (from First Kings):

Tuesday, Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, "Please,
let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, and I will follow you."
"Go back!" Elijah answered. "Have I done anything to you?"

Year after year I've read this and been perplexed by Elijah's response.
Sometimes I forget to look at other resources; so I looked at the DR translation.

19:16. And thou shalt anoint [...] Eliseus, the son of Saphat, of
Abelmeula, thou shalt anoint to be prophet [...].

19:20. And he forthwith left the oxen, and run after Elias,
and said: Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my
mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said to him:
Go, and return back: for that which was my part, I have
done to thee.

Now it makes sense! Elijah discharged his commission from God and was done. The new translations are supposed to be clearer, but there are several places where they can be very obscure instead.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Recent News Concerning Possible Canonization

This from the Blessed Margaret of Castello Guild and Shrine

The guild was recently informed that her cause had been re-examined in 2000 and, in the Diocese of Castello, Italy , a diocesan inquiry on her reputation and fame of sanctity is proceeding. At the conclusion of this phase, the cause will be studied and examined in Rome . Another miracle will be examined for the final Canonization Decree. This miracle to be examined is in a case from Silver Spring , Maryland ! It has been studied by a medical doctor of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints but requires verification with more medical tests. If the miracle were upheld, it would be the one needed for her canonization. This is such good news!

Other major works to help to spread devotion to Blessed Margaret are as follows:

• In 1999, a canonical recognition of the body of Blessed Margaret under the main altar of the Church of Saint Dominic in Castello took place.

• A small fragment has been taken from her body in order to prepare relics.

• Her biography was published in Polish in 2001 and in Italian in 2002.

• In 2003, her habit was discovered and has been given by the Dominican Order to the Shrine of Blessed Margaret at the Church of Saint Dominic in Castello.

The Dominican Curia has begun an aggressive campaign to raise funds to help defray the expenses of the cause. They are asking for $40,000 to $50,000. The summer of 2003 the guild raised over $10,000 for this cause. Any money raised will go directly to further her cause of canonization. Could the chapters of the Third Order consider raising funds for this cause? The money can be sent directly to the Dominican Curia or sent to the shrine here in Columbus . You may contact me for further information. Most importantly, please pray for our efforts and all who are working so hard for Little Margaret's canonization.

For more information about the Shrine of Blessed Margaret, please contact: Fr. Andre-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Director, Saint Patrick Church, 262 North Grant Street , Columbus , Ohio 43215 . ajdominican@earthlink.net

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

This year sagebrush, next year garden?

Gayle Boyer OPL applying "traditional" formation to disordered growth of weeks that is choking out the good growth (see next Sunday's gospel, Mt. 13:1-23).

The soil is good, the weeds are thick. a good whacking is in order...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

James Schuck OPL entered into rest June 29, 2005

Today, with joy tinged with glory, the Blessed Margaret of Castello honors James Schuck OPL, beloved husband, Knight of Columbus, and member of our chapter, at his funeral mass, as we wish our beloved brother God speed on this his final leg of the journey to the goal for which we are all striving, life on high with Jesus our Lord and all the saints in the blessed vision of the Holy Trinity.

Eternal Father, you blessed us in the sharing of Jim, accept him into your loving embrace. Grant that we, who are only a breath and a heartbeat behind, through the prayers and intercessions of the saints and our beloved brothers and sisters who have gone before us, may perservere in the journey and join them in your presence.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

First annual Mary Magdalene conference

The next chapter meeting will start on Friday evening, July 22 at 7PM. There will be presentations on the Magdalene to counter the silly errors put forth by the Dan Brown pot-boiler. Conference flier is here.

Further details of the weekend retreat will be posted as they become available.

July 22 is the feast of Mary Magdalene, patroness of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans).

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Although perfect love casts out fear...

...you need a place to start. The following illustrates the place of "fear of God" in the spiritual life, and in the "Great Commission."

The order which God observes in the conversion of souls is the same which He observes in the sanctification of the world, which first received the Ten Commandments and the Old Law and then the Gospel. The world had to experience the rigor of the Law before it could enjoy the peace and consolation of the Gospel. The work of the Law was to instill a fear of God, but the work of the Gospel is to console and encourage. But he who wishes to receive the spirit of love must first experience the fear of the Lord. He who wishes to know the consolation of the Gospel must fist pass through the fear of the Law.

Sometimes God changes this order and draws sinners to Himself with blessings and sweetness, lest they falter under the blows of discouragement and the fear of penance. But after they have been strengthened by the pledges of His mercy, He sends them sorrow and fear, which are later followed by peace and consolation. In other words, first is given the milk of spiritual sweetness and then the tribulation and the bitterness of contrition. When this has been done, the soul receives the pledges of the new love and grace which the Lord sends it as the first-fruits of glory.

It should be noted that this same order which is generally observed to lead the sinner to grace, is generally observed to lead a soul from one grace to another. For when the Lord wishes to lead a soul to higher things, He first prepares the soul with tears, desires, fears, afflictions of spirit, and pains of body. He desires that winter should precede the summer of the flowers and fruits of His graces. And the greater the graces which are to come, the greater the sufferings which precede them. Therefore, one should not become discouraged when he sees himself in this condition; rather, let him take this as a sign of the great mercies which God is preparing to bestow on him.

Ven Louis of Granada, Summa of the Christian Live, Volume 3, Chapter 46, The Conversion of the Sinner

Friday, June 10, 2005

Marker finally put in place

I've been guilty of being rather slow getting this done, but yesterday we finally got Gwen's marker placed.

picture here.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

June Chapter council meeting

Sat, June 11. Meet at St. Mark for mass at 7:45AM, then after mass to John Keenan's house for the meeting and breakfast. Will be discussing October colloquium, Homedale, and next meeting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


There is a nice web page on incorruptibles here. included is our dear Bl. Margaret of Castello, with pictures. The web site, Living Miracles, is devoted to a file on documented miracles.

Todays Liturgy of the Hours

...contains the following gem from St. Augustine's Confessions

[Lord,] when you fill someone, you relieve him of his burden, but because I am not yet filled with you, I am a burden to myself.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Action at Homedale property

On Friday, May 20, the well driller started! pictures here and here. So far, the well is "spudded in," a great term for Idaho, wouldn't you say?

The ol' Yeller lawn mower (seen in pictures above) finally bit the dust. A 1972 JC Penny mower, we acquired it 5 years ago and have seriously abused it season after season. The first year I broke the transmission (split the cases). I obtained a replacement from a different make and hung it in with muffler U-bolts! The mowing deck tore itself to pieces two years ago, and we obtained a replacement from a junk & salvage mower back-yard business. This last year the gear shift lever broke off and mice ate the electrics, but we managed to get it back together again. This last expiration may be just that, the last.

After pricing the proper type of new equipment (and going into sever sticker-shock), I decided to add yet another item to my collection of vintage machines. In fact, this 1950 Ferguson TO-20 tractor was restored by Alen Mabe, an old aquaintance in the Idaho Vintage Motorcycle Club, and it will join my 1955 Matchless and 1953 Vincent as yet another old trusty beast in my stable!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


We speak biblically of The Rock Who saves us,

but this is a bit different...
Now, there's something you don't see in my neighborhood everyday!

Belaboring the obvious

I found this quote in "Social Justice Review" this morning; as quoted by Abp Raymond Burke:

Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.
It's wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

- John Adams, 2nd US president, Oct 11, 1798

Monday, May 09, 2005

Meditation on the Holy Trinity

It the 15 books of his volume “On the Trinity,” St. Augustine explores the Trinitarian nature of God and how that is reflected in man, made in God’s image. For the thesis is simple enough; if God is a Trinity and we are made in God’s image, then how is that Trinity reflected in us? If interested, read the book. I’m going to skip to the end of this complex work and give you the preview of how it ends, then offer my own extension. May God come to my assistance.

read the rest here.


Have you ever looked up at the clouds in awe and wonder, awe that in the cloud Jesus had left his apostles, and in wonder, that in the same way he will come again. When, Lord Jesus, O when will you return? O clouds which bring the rain which gives life to parched earth, when will you bring The Life?

Read the rest here:


Found this in the Summa of the Christian Life, Ven Louis of Granada, Vol 2


O God, all powerful, who knowest all things, who hadst neither beginning nor end, who dost give, preserve, and reward all virtues; deign to make me steadfast on the solid foundation of faith, to protect me with the impregnable shield of hope, and to adorn me with the garment of charity.

Give me justice, to submit to Thee; prudence, to avoid the snares of the enemy; temperance, to keep the just medium; fortitude, to bear adversities with patience.

Grand me to impart willingly to others whatever I possess that is good, and to ask humbly of others that I may partake of the good of which I am destitute; to confess truly my faults; to bear with equanimity the pains and evils which I suffer. Grant that I may never envy the good of my neighbor, and that I may always return thanks for Thy graces.

Rest of prayer, click here

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Advice or discipleship?

Now that the church has a new vicar of Christ, she is garnering much (unasked-for) advice on what she must do to survive... St. Augustine commented on this very thing 1500+ years ago...

St. Augustine of Hippo Expositions on the Psalms

Let them not go before, but follow; let them not give counsel, but take it. For Peter would go before the Lord, when the Lord spake of His future Passion: he would to Him as it were give counsel for His health. The sick man to the Saviour give counsel for His health! And what said he to the Lord, affirming that His future Passion? "Be it far from Thee, Lord. Be gracious to Thyself. This shall not be to Thee." He would go before that the Lord might follow; and what said He? "Get thee behind Me, Satan." By going before thou art Satan, by following thou wilt be a disciple. The same then is said to these also, "Let them be turned back and brought to confusion that think evil against me." For when they have begun to follow after, now they will not think evil against me, but desire my good.

Friday, April 22, 2005

On Prayer - the door swings both ways

St. Augustine of Hippo
Expositions on the Psalms

2. "I will pour out before Him my prayer" (ver. 2). What is, "before Him"? In His sight. What is, in His sight? Where He seeth. But where doth He not see? For so do we say, 'where He seeth,' as though somewhere He seeth not. But in this assemblage of bodily substances men too see, animals too see: He seeth where man seeth not.

For thy thoughts no man seeth, but God seeth. There then pour out thy prayer, where He alone seeth, who rewardeth. For the Lord Jesus Christ bade thee pray in secret: but if thou knowest what "thy closet" is, and cleansest it, there thou prayest to God. "But thou," saith He, "when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and shut the door, and pray to thy Father in secret, and He who seeth in secret shall reward thee." If men are to reward thee, pour out thy prayer before men: if God is to reward thee, pour out thy prayer before Him; and close the door, lest the tempter enter. Therefore the Apostle, because it is in our power to shut the door, the door of our hearts, not of our walls, for in it is our "closet,"--because it is in our power to shut this door, saith, "neither give place to the devil." But what is to "shut the door"? This door hath as it were two leaves, desire and fear. Either thou desireth something earthly, and he enters by this; or thou fearest something earthly, and he enters by that. Close then the door of fear and desire against the devil, open it to Christ. How dost thou open these folding doors to Christ? By desiring the kingdom of heaven, by fearing the fire of hell. By desire of this world the devil entereth, by desire of eternal life Christ entereth; by fear of temporal punishment the devil entereth, by fear of everlasting fire Christ entereth . .
. .

Monday, April 18, 2005

Music found!

A small thing, but a delight none the less!

The Liturgy of the Hours, Evening Prayer, Friday, Week 2 and Week 4, opens with the song

Father We Thank Thee
L. Bourgeois, 1543
From the Didache (110)
Tr. F. Bland Tucker

Considering the antiquity of the Didache (as in 110 AD), and the music it is set to is over 450 years old, I've long desired to find the music to this piece. Finally found it in: The People's Hymnal (yes, it has a red cover).

the music is here.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Third Order newsletter from Province of St. Joseph

eLumen is the Third Order newsletter of the Province of St. Joseph. Read the April edition here, then consider subscribing!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

April Chapter meeting

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Monthly Meeting, 11:30 a.m. Mass; 1:00 p.m., St. John’s Cathedral, Rosary, Chapel (downstairs in Cathedral); potluck, St. John’s Center (across the street from Cathedral); meeting 2:00 p.m.
Subject: Prayer: Please see last months adgenda. We will continue the discussion on prayer.

Idaho Dominicana, Vol. IV, No. 6

Friday, April 08, 2005

Carmelites are now meeting monthly in Boise

The Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites is now meeting monthly in Boise. Meetings are at St. Marks, after morning mass, second Saturday of each month. Visitors are welcome.

I have a great fondness for the Carmelites, inspired by the writings of Teresa of Avila who was instrumental in my conversion to the faith. Before this chapter was founded, I made the observation that the Dominican Third Order was also contemplative. As it is often put, we are to share the fruits of contemplation for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. We are contemplative, just noisy contemplatives!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Bl. Margaret's feast day activities

April 13 is Blessed Margaret's feast day! All are invited to participate in sung vespers with the St. John's Cathedral Chancel Choir at 6PM. Our own Gayle Boyer will be on the organ, and yours truly will be hiding in the back row singing with the tenors.

Bl. Margaret is the (unofficial) patroness of the marginalized, and somehow she seems a good patroness for a choir that desires to sing the music which is the "treasure of the Catholic Church."

Dig a little deeper:
Actions of the Holy See on Liturgy and Sacred Music - 1903-1974
Why Don't Catholics Sing?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Welcome to the Idaho Lay Dominicans Blog

This is something new we will try out for getting information out to chapter members. Have patience with me as I learn!