Thursday, October 26, 2006

Anniversary of entering a Catholic Church

11 years ago today, I received the email below from a member of the now defunct ListServer (remember those?) ROMCATHL. It came at a time of extreme trial, and after reading it, I sought out a Catholic priest for the very first time.

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.

Date: Thursday, October 26, 1995 3:16 pm
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."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The crux of the matter

I've finished book one of Burnett's "The True Church", which I've posted on previously, and have begun book two (both are bound as one volume). Book two answers particular questions raised by Protestants.

It has been my observation that Burnett is quite the gentlemanly scholar and debator, never descending to personal attacks, always following the arguments to their logical conclusions in the interest of truth, and with the greatest respect for the parties of the other part.

Here follows an interesting observation of his regarding Martin Luther and the reformation. It is, to say the least, interesting!

Burnett wrote:

The principal of private interpretation in the last resort, was, therefore, forced upon Luther. It was either that or no Reformation. There was no possible middle course. Either the right to construe the law in the last resort resided in the Church, or with each individual. It could not be divided between them. Two supreme tribunals to execute the same law over the same persons could not exist under the same system of government. We could just as readily conceive of two Supreme Deities, creating and governing the same universe.

The authority of the Church was the last restraint that Luther cast aside. It cost him much pain, as he himself relates. “After,” says he,

I had gotten the better of all the arguments which were opposed to me, one remained still, which, with extreme difficulty and great anguish, I could scarce conquer, even with the assistance of Jesus Christ; namely, that we ought to hear the Church.

But it must be conceded that Luther may have been mistaken in the supposed assistance of Jesus Christ. He may have mistaken Christ’s abandonment of him for His assistance. Whether this be true or not, there was a very remarkable circumstance connected with his rejection of the authority of the Church.

After having prevailed over his scruples, and in his last struggle to shake off the authority of the Church, “he cries out,” says Boussuet,

Like one set free from some irksome bondage, “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast their yoke from us,”

This quotation, made by Luther, is from the third verse of the second chapter of Psalms, where it stands in this connection:

2. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast their yoke from us.
4. He that sitteth in the Heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

The Catholic thinks that Luther made a quotation precisely suited to his position and the effort he was making.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Lettter to the Order from the Master General

In Preparation for the 800th Anniverary of the Foundation of the Monastery in Prouilhe

Letter to the whole Order announcing the Jubilee Year for the 800th anniversary of the foundation of the first community of contemplative nuns.

Dear brothers and sisters:

I send you this letter from the Monastery of Blessed Mary in Prouille, the first monastery of the Order, on the Feast of Saint Catherine of Siena, our older sister, "into whom, it seems, ‘the whole soul of Dominic passed (as indeed into Blessed Jordan of Saxony)'".[1]

In our history there are many events that encourage us to renew our faithfulness to our vocation as sons and daughters of Saint Dominic: "to contemplate and share the fruits of our contemplation".

Read the rest of the letter here

Monday, October 09, 2006


More pictures and a summary here

Our warmest and emphatic thanks to,
Bishop Michael Driscoll, for ordaining Carlos Enrique to the priesthood,
Fr. Flores, Our Lady of the Valley, for the monstrance,
Fr. Donoghue, for initiating adoration,
Deacon Collins, St. Paul's, for assistance with benediction and communion service,
The Catholic Chaplains Association of Fr. Bragg, NC, for the altar, tabernacle, lecturn, and baptistry.
and to our Lord, who loved us first, that we might love in turn, for permitting us to have His presence in our community for 55 hours.

Click here for a meditation on Jesus' words.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Retreat schedule

Here is an approximation of the schedule for the retreat.

The text for the retreat is:

Meditations on the Interior Life
for Every Day of the Liturgical Year
by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, O.C.D.

(copies of readings will be provided)

The beginning and end will happen on schedule,
the rest, well, may the Holy Spirit Guide us!

Friday October 6, 2006:

9:00 – 10:00 Exposition of Blessed Sacrament, opening of retreat
10:00 – 10:45 1. The gift of Fear
10:45 – 11:30 2. Blessed are the Poor in Spirit
11:30 – 1:00 Lunch
10:0 – 1:45 3. The gift of Fortitude
1:45 – 2:30 4. Blessed are they that Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness
2:30 – 3:15 Daily wrap up
3:15 – 4:00 Free time
4:00 - Depart for mass at Our Lady of the Valley

Saturday October 7, 2006

10:00 – 10:45 5. The gift of Piety
10:45 – 11:30 6. Blessed are the Meek
11:30 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00 – 1:45 7. The gift of Counsel
1:45 – 2:30 8. Blessed are the Merciful
2:00 – 2:30 9. The gift of Knowledge
2:30 – 3:45 10. Blessed are they that Mourn
3:45 – 4:30 Daily wrap up
4:30 – 5:00 Free time
5:00 Dinner
7:00 Discussion

Sunday October 8, 2006

10:00 – 10:45 11. The gift of Understanding
10:45 – 11:30 12. Blessed are the Clean of Heart
11:30 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00 – 1:45 13. The gift of Wisdom
1:45 – 2:30 14. Blessed are the Peacemakers
2:00 – 2:30 15. Our meeting with the Holy Spirit
2:30 – 3:30 Wrap up discussion
3:30 – 4:30 Free time
4:30 Ending Benediction, close of retreat

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Our prayers

The news of the tragic death of Helen Chenowith-Hage, mother in law of our Formation Director John Keenan, has left us all stunned. We offer our prayers to John, Meg, their children, and the extended family, and may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

May light perpetual shine upon them. AMEN.

Gift received

Our thanks to the Catholic Chaplains' Association of Ft. Bragg, NC, for the gifts shown here which arrived Sept 29. Thanks also to Paul O'Leary, OPL, for obtaining and shipping.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Pithy thought

This perhaps summarizes Burnett's approach:

"The infirmities of human legislation are not in God's Law."
- Peter H. Burnett, "The True Church, The path which lead a Protestant lawyer to the Catholic Church"