Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bl. Teresa of Calcutta on "little fidelities"

The reading on Saturday, June 5, 2004, was “The widow’s mite” (Mk 12:38-44). Magnificat had this Meditation of the Day, from Bl. Teresa of Calcutta:

Be faithful in little things, for in them our strength lies. To the good God nothing is little, because he is so great and we are so small. That is why he stoops down and takes the trouble to make those little things for us – to give us a chance to prove our love for him. Because he makes them, they are very great. He cannot make anything small; they are infinite. Yes, my dear children, be faithful in little practices of love, in little fidelities which will build in you the life of holiness and make you Christlike.
and thus discharges my debt to you.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I've Been Devotionally Memed

I checked Anita’s V for Victory blog this morning and found:

Paramedic Girl over at Salve Regina has tagged me in the Meme Game! Here are the questions and my answers. And to keep the game going, I hereby tag Mark at Dominican Idaho.
Meme Game? Never heard of it, but why not! It seems to be a Q/A that one answers and passes on to another blogger? Assuming that is how the game is played, I hand this “TAG” off to THEOCOID at THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK

You go, Bill!

Thanks, Anita!

The Questions:

(1) Favorite devotion or prayer to Jesus:

Perhaps I’ve been reading too much “Divine Intimacy “ by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen OCD, but favorite implies that which I like best, whereas my answer today is the same as it was when my dear wife asked the same question some ten years ago; what does my Lord like best? From St. Augustine, I think this is summed up by the psalmist, “Sing a new song to the Lord” – that is, not with our lips, but our very lives, conformed to His Holy Will. This is both easy and difficult at the same time. To go deeper into this I need to dig out a meditation from Mother Teresa and post it; thus I offer you a debt I incur on your behalf, do not let me forget to discharge this debt.

(2) Favorite Marian devotion or prayer:

Today’s scripture is the Canticle of Simeon, and his prophecy that a sword will pierce your heart. Therein lies my devotion to our Lady, a devotion that strives to be a union which, for a Dominican, should be intimate. I certainly love the Rosary, not so much for what it does for me, but because it is a wonderful prayer beloved by our Lady. I especially like the explanation I once heard, of a mother rocking her young child who, looking up into mother’s eyes, repeats, over and over again, I love you.

(3) Do you wear a scapular or medal:

I wear the green scapular which my dear wife wore to the end. I also have on a (busy) chain a pardon crucifix, a Dominican cross, and medals of St. Dominic, St. Benedict, and the Miraculous. I had a Sacred Heart medal, but there is an interesting story to its departure. At a funeral last year on All Souls day, I was inspired to offer that special indulgence for one of the holy souls for the individual whose funeral it was. The medal detached itself and slid down my chest at the very moment I made the resolution. It seemed only right to give it to the bereaved sister.

(4) Do you have holy water in your home:

Yes, but I should use it more. I have a container from Lourdes, but I cannot open it as I don’t have the strength. I have another from Betania, Venz. Both were gifts obtained by pilgrims.

(5) Do you offer up your sufferings:

What I love about the Catholic faith is that there is so much to be aware of! The best instruction on suffering I have ever seen is the link on the right, Suffering. Read it.

This year in answer to prayer the offering up of suffering finally made sense to me. I’m not sure I can articulate it, and won’t even try right now. But indeed, as time goes forward, I see how the suffering in this life is offered to fill up what is lacking in the suffering of Christ.

(6) Do you observe First Fridays and First Saturdays:

These I have not partaken in as a particular devotion. At one time I went to mass daily, when it was a simple thing to do. Now that I am a single parent working two jobs, I need it, but cannot do it. St. Augustine said that our life is like that of the ants, who gather in spring and live off their gatherings in the winter. We do as much when in times of calm we take advantage of the graces of many masses, and then in times of trial, those graces carry us through. I forget to ask specifically for spiritual communion, and although the desire in my heart is known to our Lord, I know He also expects us to ask.

(7) Do you go to Eucharistic Adoration? How frequently:

Less often than I once did, but the account is dipping, so I’m trying to go more. The Dominicans have made an effort to meet for an hour of adoration each Tues from 5-6, and I’ve missed the last couple, but hope to keep it up.

(8) Are you a Saturday night Mass person or Sunday morning:

I nearly always go at least on Sunday morning. My favorite weekend is to go Saturday morning, then sing with the choir at a Sunday mass, hang around and visit and drink coffee, then cap off the weekend by going to the Byzantine Divine Liturgy (which is held every other) Sunday evening. My kids say, “get a life,” and that’s what I think I’m doing. Such a weekend doesn’t happen often, so usually it’s just 8, 10, or 11:30 Sunday morning.

(9) Do you say prayers at mealtime:

Always. If I come into the midst of a meal in progress, or with non-Catholic or non-Christian company, I still do, although sometimes in silence.

(10) Favorite saints:

Oh my! Ss. Augustine and Bede who introduced me to the faith, and Gregory the Great, who was my first exposure to a pope. Laurence (here are the Church’s riches, presenting the poor), and Polycarp, roasted to a golden glow, Irenaeus, (do not stand between me and my Lord), Sebastian, traveling from safety to the persecution to experience martyrdom, and Anselm (that which a greater than cannot be conceived).

Dominic and Francis, giants who begat a legion; Albert, Thomas, Vincent Ferrer, Hyacinth, Rose of Lima.

Teresa of Avila, polisher of fine gems, Francis de Sales, clear expositor of the faith and how to live it.

Bl. Margaret of Castello. To her the offering of suffering.

(11) Do you know the Apostles Creed by heart:

Yes. Working on the Latin responses which Vatican II says I should know. It only took 10 years to find someone to teach it to me; and they call this the Vatican II church… sheesh!

(12) Do you ususally say short prayers (aspirations) during the course of the day:

I used to say “the Jesus prayer” (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner) a lot, but these days it is a glance of the heart to our Lord Jesus, with the words “my Lord and my God!” That, and I am learning to sing the Salve Regina, and I’ll sing it here and there all day.

(13) Bonus question: When you pass an accident or other serious mishap, do you say a quick prayer for the persons involved:

Yes. I used to stop to offer assistance, and still do where the occasion presents itself. That is not as often anymore, because my compromised strength limits what I can do. I still pick up hitch-hikers when I travel alone, for they to me represent a “serious mishap” in life.

(14) Wolftracker's bonus question: What sin do you find most difficult to manage from day to day:

Use of food and idle words compete. The first is a bodily sin, the second spiritual, so it is the worse of the two.

His goodness was hidden...

From today's Office of Readings, from St. Bernard
(Sermo 1, in Epiphania Domini)

The goodness and humanity of God our Savior have appeared in our midst. We thank God for the many consolations he has given us during this sad exile of our pilgrimage here on earth. Before the Son of God became man his goodness was hidden, for God's mercy is eternal, but how could such goodness be recognized? It was promised, but it was not experienced, and as a result few believed in it.
St. Bernard was speaking of those living before the incarnation, perhaps of us today he would say, It is proclaimed, but it is not experienced, and as a result few believe in it. I wonder if perhaps the reality is closer to It is proclaimed, but few believe in it, and as a result it is not experienced.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

GKC: a sumptuous repast

Utopia of Usurers and other Essays
by Gilbert Keith Chesterton

The Supreme Adventure

All the words dedicated to places of eating and drinking are pure and poetic words. Even the word "hotel" is the word hospital. And St. Julien, whose claret I drank this Christmas, was the patron saint of innkeepers, because (as far as I can make out) he was hospitable to lepers. Now I do not say that the ordinary hotel-keeper in Piccadilly or the Avenue de l'Opera would embrace a leper, slap him on the back, and ask him to order what he liked; but I do say that hospitality is his trade virtue. And I do also say it is well to keep before our eyes the supreme adventure of a virtue. If you are brave, think of the man who was braver than you. If you are kind, think of the man who was kinder than you.

That is what was meant by having a patron saint. That is the link between the poor saint who received bodily lepers and the great hotel proprietor who (as a rule) receives spiritual lepers. But a word yet weaker than "hotel" illustrates the same point--the word "restaurant." There again you have the admission that there is a definite building or statue to "restore"; that ineffaceable image of man that some call the image of God. And that is the holiday; it is the restaurant or restoring thing that, by a blast of magic, turns a man into himself.

This complete and reconstructed man is the nightmare of the modern capitalist. His whole scheme would crack across like a mirror of Shallot, if once a plain man were ready for his two plain duties--ready to live and ready to die. And that horror of holidays which marks the modern capitalist is very largely a horror of the vision of a whole human being: something that is not a "hand" or a "head for figures." But an awful creature who has met himself in the wilderness. The employers will give time to eat, time to sleep; they are in terror of a time to think.

Vie de St. Dominique

I was looking for other copies of Lacordaire's "Life of St. Dominic." in English -Still none. but I did find this at

Denis (Maurice)) LACORDAIRE (R. P. Henri-Dominique). - Vie de Saint Dominique.

Paris, Beltrand, 1919, in-4 de XXIV-188-(4)-4 pp., 20 grandes compositions en couleurs et 22 en-tête de Maurice Denis, gravées sur bois par J. Beltrand, tiré à 300 exemplaires, celui ci numéro 103, pleine toile. Financée par le mécène Gabriel Thomas, cette première réédition entreprise dés 1913, célébrait le septième centenaire de la fondation de l'ordre. Retardée par la guerre, elle ne vit le jour qu'en 1919. Maurice Denis visita quelques villes jalons dans la vie de Saint Dominique, pour trouver les thèmes de son illustration.
Denis (Maurice)) LACORDAIRE (R. P. Henri-Dominique). - Vie de Saint Dominique.

Price: EUR 600.00

So if you read French and have $809 in your pocket, this would be an awesome addition!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New Year's Eve

I received the following from Roger N.

For those of you who are interested there will be a special new years eve celebration at Nazareth Retreat Center to bring in the new year. It will consist of adoration starting at 10:30 P.M. followed immediately by mass at 11:30 P.M. celebrated by Fr Arney Miller.

Please pass the word on to anyone you might think interested.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

St. Rose of Lima

I'm starting another transcription project. This one is The Life of St. Rose of Lima I've transcribed the Notes and Preface so far. This one is an 1855 (4th) edition, translated by Fr. Faber, who states in the Preface that:

THE LIFE OF S. ROSE is translated from the French of Father Jean Baptist Feuillet, a Dominican friar, and Missionary Apostolic in the Antilles; the copy which has been followed in the third edition, published at Paris in 1671, the year of her canonization by Clement X.
From the Preface to the American Edition:

No words can express the emotions which this history of the Virgin, St. Rose of Lima, will awaken in truly Christian hearts that love Jesus Christ, his ever blessed Church, and their native land. How wonderful is God in his Saints, will be the exclamation at almost every page. And with our wonder at the graces and glory bestowed on these favorites of the most High, will break forth the prayer for the increase of faith, increase of love, mingled, it may be, with bitter tears, lest for our sins, we should be forever separated from their holy company. Next to God’s own word in the Sacred Scriptures, nothing so touches the heart, enlightens the soul, and rouses up even the most slothful to a sense of all we owe to our Redeemer and never can repay, as the reading of the lives of the saints, the contemplation of the virtues, sufferings and triumph of such a child of the Church as is here presented to us. And St. Rose is only one of the innumerable host of witnesses who, whether living on earth or reigning in heaven, testify to the truth, the holiness, the divinity of that faith we profess.
This poor old book is falling apart. St. Rose, pray for this effort, that you be better known, that we may, with you, give glory to God.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The coming of the Lord

Wisdom 18:14-15. For while all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course, Thy Almighty word leaped down from heaven from thy royal throne, as a fierce conqueror into the midst of the land of destruction

Let us consider the Nativity; here is the "Shepherd's Cave" in Bethlehem. It was in such a place that our Lord was born. A rough cave, a cleft in the limestone rock, where shepherds and their flocks found shelter. When one thinks of cracks in the rock, one thinks of Christ, The Rock. Moses asked to see God's face, and God said he could not, but He would allow Moses to see Him as He passed, from the cleft in the Rock.

Ezechiel spoke of hearts to; he prophesied that the Lord God would take away our stoney hearts, and give us hearts of flesh.

What does one find in a stoney heart? blackened by the fires of illicit passions, the source of a multitude of sins? Without grace, are not our passions like wild animals, subject to no law but their own?

And yet, Christ deigns to come to us. He comes to the cave of our heart to subdue all that is not true. He comes to a blackened cave that that which is wild will be subdued.

For, if there He finds "men of good will," He brings the blessing of peace.

Come, let us adore Him!
Te Deum

We praise You, O God; *
we acclaim You Lord and Master.
Everlasting Father, *
all the world bows down before You.
All the angels sing Your praise *
the hosts of heaven and all the angelic powers;
All the cherubim and seraphim *
call out to You in unending chorus:
Holy, Holy, Holy *
is the Lord God of angel hosts!
The heavens and the earth are filled, Lord, *
with Your majesty and glory.
Your praises are sung *
by the renowned apostles;
By all the prophets *
who themselves deserve our praise;
By that mighty white-robed army *
who shed their blood for Christ.
And to the ends of the earth, *
the holy Church proclaims her faith in You:
Father, *
whose majesty is boundless;
Your only Son, *
who is true God, and who it to be adored;
The Holy Ghost, *
sent to be our Advocate.
O Christ, the King of glory! *
You alone are the Father's eternal Son.
When You were to become man so as to save mankind, *
You did not shrink back from the chaste Virgin's womb.
When You triumphantly destroyed death's sting,
You opened up to believers the kingdom of heaven.
You are now enthroned at God's right hand, *
in the Father's glory.
We believe *
that You will come for judgement.

V. We therefore implore You to grant Your servants grace and aid, *
R. for you shed Your precious blood for their redemption.
V. Admit them all to the ranks of Your saints *
R. in everlasting glory.
V. Be the Savior of Your faithful people, Lord; *
R. grant them Your blessing, for they belong to You.
V. Be their Shepherd, Lord, *
R. uphold and exalt them forever and ever.
V. Day by day we praise You, *
R. daily we acclaim You.
V. We will confess and glorify Your holy Name, *
R. now and for all eternity.
V. In Your great mercy, Lord, throughout this day *
R. keep us free from sin by Your protection.
V. Have mercy on us, we humbly pray; *
R. Lord, have mercy on us.
V. May Your mercy, Lord, Your loving-kindness, always remain with us; *
R. for we have placed our confidence in You.
V. In you alone, Lord, I have hoped; *
R. may I not be disappointed.

(from A Short Breviary, The Liturgical Press, 1962)

Thursday, December 21, 2006


This from an entry at Zenit News Service, by Fr. McNamara (May 2, 2006 - ZE06050220). It seems to indicate a desire for something other than what we have here; although Fr. McNamara does make the observation that there is much flexibility permissible.

From the GIRM:

308. There is also to be a cross, with the figure of Christ crucified upon it, either on the altar or near it, where it is clearly visible to the assembled congregation. It is appropriate that such a cross, which calls to mind for the faithful the saving Passion of the Lord, remain near the altar even outside of liturgical celebrations.

I'm informed by a student at TAC that the old GIRM made no mention of a corpus. This is fascinating, because it is in miniature, an example of the Church seeing fit to define that which was once universally understood.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Seeking God in Love

From the same author:

"1. Faith 'is like the feet wherewith the soul journeys to God, and love is the guide that directs it'" (John of the Cross, Spiritual Cantical, 1,11)."

"2. The love which will lead us to God does not consist in sentiment; it is an act of the will. To love is to 'will the good'; to love God, is to 'will good to God.' the good which we can desire for God is that which Jesus Himself taught us to ask of our heavenly Father: 'Hallowed by Thy name; Thy will be done.' Since God is the infinite good upon which everthing depends, the good that He desires and that by which He is pleased is none other than His own glory and the accomplishment of His holy will."

This is worth repeating; it is a bit of Truth that can set one free:

The love which will lead us to God does not consist in sentiment

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Seeking God Faith

This is from today's entry in Divine Intimacy, Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. Opening with the quote of St. Paul, "Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not." (Hb 11:1) He goes on to explain, and adds a quote of St. John of the Cross from "Ascent of Mt. Carmel."

"Faith places us before God as He is; it does not make us see Him, but it makes us believe in Him, and thus puts our intellect in contact with Him. By means of faith, 'God mainfests Himself to the soul in divine light which passes all understanding. And therefore, the greater the faith of the soul, the more closely is it united with God' (J.C. AS II, 9,1). Faith unites the soul with God, even though it experiences no spiritual consolation; on the contrary, God often deprives the soul of all spiritual consolation taht it may exercise itself more in faith and grow in it.

The bolded proposition is pregnant with meaning.
God bless,

Monday, December 18, 2006

Instruction, induction

Chapter meeting yesterday was such a delight and I am grateful to all who participated and who made it work so well. Especially to Bonnie Fitzpatrick OPL, for putting together a fine program for Marilyn Wylde OPL, our newest member, and to Stephanie DeNinno OPL for the wonderful St. Dominic cake for the 800th anniversary celebration. Thanks also to Ruth Robertson OPL for arranging for Nahum Jacobson to speak to the group about the movement generally known under the heading of "Messianic Jews." And also thanks to Maria Turner (wife of Mike Turner OPL) and the Schola Cantorum from Sacred Heart Parish, for coming at the close of our meeting to help us sing the Salve Regina; something we now will do after each meeting.

I was at the grocery store at about 8AM and ran into a coworker and his wife, who asked if I was buying food for a church event. You should have seen his eyebrows go up when I said "yes, for an 800 year anniversary celebration." "It's not everyone who celebrates 800 years of anything..." he replies. Sometimes we take for granted the depth of our history!

More on the ressurifix

This is the original(?) crucifix;

This is the previous ressurifix;

but it's ok to have an aborifix?

In answer to why it is not ok to have a crucifix in a Catholic Church, I was told by (one of the diocese's) Canon Lawyer; "why worry about such a little thing, is this the hill you wish to die on?" - which reminded me of another priest's adominition to "pick your battles carefully." I am not looking to die on a little hill, or even do battle; I just don't get it.

I pointed out to the Canon Lawyer that Mother Theresa observed that the efforts of man, measured against the immensity of God, are ALL LITTLE, to the point of being indistinguishable. That is why it is easier to become a saint in the little way...

Thus, if the Church says that a parish church will have a crucifix; and in my mind I can justify that a processional cross sporting a ressurifix (which is not a crucifix), an item that is not even present except during mass, fulfills the letter of the law, even if contravening the intent, then it seems that I am being rather legalistic, and not displaying much respect for the law of the church in its own right.

I normally stay away from these topics on this blog; and will not tarry here. I will only add that the crucifix plays an important role in the organic whole of a church, just as does the holy water in the font. When entering the church with a heavy heart, and finding rocks in the font during lent, the heart is not assisted, but hurt. When we enter a church and cannot find the crucifix, or even worse, cannot find the tabernacle, we cry out in the anguish of the profound devotion of Mary Magdalen, They have taken my Lord, and I don't know where they have laid him. This heartbreaking sorrow is why it is good to do justice, and render what is due to the faithful.

May the legalistic thinking that justifies injustice give way to charity.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Life of St. Dominic, by Henri Lacordaire

Written in French (1834), an English translation was published in 1880 by Burns and Oats. Dec 17th, 2006, marking the 800th anniversary of the opening of the first convent established by St. Dominic, I return to the Order and to the Church and her children this fine book.

Then, turning [to the Friars] again, bequeathed them the following legacy, saying: “My beloved brothers, this is the inheritance your Father leaves you; love on another, practice humility, and be faithful in the observance of voluntary poverty,”[8] And in order to give greater force to the last clause of this testament, whoever should dare to corrupt his Order by bringing into it any worldly possessions, he threatened with God’s malediction and his own.

The Friars did not yet despair of their Father’s recovery, neither did they believe that God would so soon deprive the Church and themselves of his presence. In compliance with medical advice, and thinking that change of air might prove beneficial, they moved him to Santa-Maria, a church situated on an eminence near Bologna. But prayers and remedies were of no avail. Dominic grew worse, and believing himself near death, summoned the Friars anew. Twenty of them came with Ventura, their Prior, and ranged themselves around the sick man. Nothing has been preserved of the nature of Dominic’s words on this occasion, save that never had more touching, heartfelt utterances issued from his lips. After this he received extreme unction. And learning from Friar Ventura that the monk appointed to the Church of Santa-Maria intended to bury him there, he said, “God forbid that I should be buried elsewhere than beneath the feet of my Friars. Carry me out into the vineyard, that I may die there and be interred in our own church.”[9] then the Friars took him back to Bologna, fearing every moment that he would expire in their arms. As he had no cell of his own, they placed him in that of Friar Moneta. They wished to change his garments, but having none save those which he word, Moneta gave one of his own tunics with which to cover him. Friar Rodolfo supported the Saint’s head, wiping the death-sweat from his brow, the rest of the Friars looking on, weeping. In order to comfort them, Dominic said, “Do not weep. I shall be of more use to you where I am going than I have been here.”[10] One of the Friars asked him where he desired to be interred. He replied, “Beneath the feet of my Friars.”[11] This was about an hour after their arrival in Bologna. Dominic observing that the Friars were so overwhelmed by grief that they were forgetting to pray for his departing soul, sent for Friar Ventura, telling him to “make ready.”[12] They did so at once, and ranged themselves in solemn order around the dying man. He told them to “wait a while;” and Ventura, embracing this last opportunity spoke thus to the Saint: “Father, you know in what grief and desolation you leave us; remember us in the presence of the Lord.”[13] Then Dominic, raising his eyes and hands to heaven, uttered this prayer: “Holy Father, I have accomplished Thy will, and those whom Thou hast given I have kept; I now commend them unto Thee. Do Thou preserve and keep them.”[14] And a moment later he told them to “begin.”[15] They then commenced the solemn prayers for the departing soul, in which, from the movement of his lips, Dominic appeared to take part. When they came to these words, “Let the holy angels of God come forth to meet him, and conduct him to the city of the Heavenly Jerusalem,” his lips moved for the last time; he raised his hands heavenwards, and God received his soul. This occurred at noon on Friday, 6th August 1221.

[8] The Blessed Jourdain de Saxe, Vie de St. Dominique, ch. iv. n. 68.
[9] Actes de Bologne, Friar Ventura’s deposition, n. 7.
[10] Ibid., Friar Rodolfo’s deposition, n. 4.
[11] Ibid., n. 7.
[12] Ibid.

O lumen Ecclesiae
Doctor veritatis,
Rosa patientiae,
Ebur castitatis,
Aquam sapientiae
propinasti gratis,
Praedicator gratiae,
nos junge beatis.

Light of the Church,
Teacher of truth,
Rose of patience,
Ivory of chastity,
You freely offered
The waters of wisdom,
Preacher of grace,
Unite us with the blessed.

Holy Father Dominic, pray for us!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

800 years

2 Pt 3:8. But of this one thing be not ignorant, my beloved,
that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a
thousand years as one day.

Is the day of the Order passing?

Luke 24:29. But they constrained him, saying: Stay with us,
because it is towards evening and the day is now far spent.
And he went in with them.

Let us constrain the Lord. He will stay. But beg, beg with all your heart, for
the day is now far spent.

eia ergo, advocata nostra
Holy Father Dominic, pray for us.


Theocoid reminded me that we had a discussion regarding the lack of a crucifix in our Cathedral parish, and that at a time in the recent past we had a huge hanging "swan dive" Jesus, the resurrected Lord replacing the crucified Lord on the cross. you've seen them, this sort of thing (currently in the basement parish hall).

I first encountered this after reception into the Church in 1996, and, after the bare crosses of protestantism, found this rather a curious item indeed. Was there a Catholic contigent that, like the protestants, wanted to bypass the cross and go straight to glory? "No greater love" is too great a love so let's all feel good instead? I have long called these things a ressurifix, and I have lost the memory of whether that term was one I received or coined, (I'm inclined to think it was a received term, as I'm not generally that clever).

The question to ponder, is what in scripture does this refer to? A crucifix (a cross with a crucified corpus of Christ) represents a real, historical event, and event that is made present at the mass. But the cross with a resurrected Christ, represents in scripture, well... what?

When reading St. Augustine's commentaries on the psalms, there was a controversy in the fourth century which since then even the Church has apparently conceded to her Jewish controversialists. The Septuagint, as received, contained the following, the second part of the strophe, the Church being accused of adding:


"O sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth,
the Lord hath reigned from the wood."

The one justification in scripture that the resurifix could point to, has been stricken. Personally, I find the ressurifix a symbol of fear of the cross, rather than instilling an adoration for the God who condescended to take our humanity and nail its failings and sins to the cross for our redemption. The traditional crucifix gives me strength, the other, sadness.

BTW, I did enlist the aid of a willing conscript to carry the extremely beautiful original crucifix (which is used to hold a window open in the robing room) and set it on a table next to the altar during the latter part of the Cathedral "Family of God" conference. As the agent provocateur, I accept full responsibility for failing to respect the rule of crufixphobia which is policy in the Cathedral: mea culpa, I was carried away by the spirit of Vatican II, a spirit of community, of support for my marginalized sisters and brothers, a spirit of disregard for legalistic thinking, and a desire for justice...

Origins of the Dominican Third Order

I have finished transcribing Chapter 16 (of 18) of Henri Lacordaire's Life of St. Dominic, which speaks of the creation of the Third Order.

Lacordaire's use of the term "Third Order" is not a relationship of hierarchy, but of time; it was the 3rd distinct "Order" established by St. Dominic!

With all the effort to do away with traditional language, this came as sort of a "duh" moment...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Advent. Prepare the way of the Lord.

Friday and yesterday, I had the incredible gift to be able to listen to Rosalind Moss,Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, and Jesse Romero at the Family of God conference that closed out the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist Centennial Celebration.

I am very grateful to the speakers for coming, to Fr. Henry Carmona for his support, and to all the parish members who helped put this event together.

I had never heard Jesse Romero speak before, and he spoke of “the world needs a heart transplant;” “be a heart donor,” “give your heart to Jesus.” And Rosalind Moss, whom it seems so clear to me speaks from a heart united in love to Love Himself, the Living God, into whose hands it is a terrible thing to fall, and yet who gives Himself to us through His Son, and comes to us through His body the Church, to unite us to Him, that we who are sinners could be conformed to the image of His Son, because He loved us first. And Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers; the nuts and bolts of assembling a Christian life! Oh, build with gold and silver, not hay and stubble; and certainly not with mud! RTM! (Read The Manual!).

Last week at work, I was overcome by a pressing need, and had to write; here is what I found in my notebook as I was listening to Jesse speak:

Father grant my heart repose in Thee,
That my will conformed to Thine,
In Thy Son Jesus be set free,
By the Spirit now in time,
And for all eternity.

The desire of every heart; He was awaited; He came; He is with us; He will come again. Without Him, no possession can provide that which our heart desires; in Him we possess all things, as all things are held in being by Him, and have been pronounced good.

And preparing we prepare, yet to bring Christ to a waiting world, in all places and in manifold and different circumstances not expected. With a parishioner who was not at the conference and should have been, a most interesting discussion before even leaving the parish; a discussion in which I could hear the echo, in Rosalind’s Brooklyn accent, saying “Shame on him” in reference to Rabbi Fink’s support of abortion. I woke up this morning and my prayer for people like this is to give your whole heart and mind to Jesus.

For the mind, consider that all addictions, be they kleptomania, alcoholism, smoking, drugs, sex, pornography, are more than merely physiological, more than genetic determinism; all these play a part. They are primarily disorders in the moral order, disorders of a will no longer capable of saying no to a particular evil. Disease, yes indeed, but disease of body and soul. So to tell someone living this sort of life, that you accept them for who they are, and would leave them there, is to tell them a lie; it is not what they are, but what they do, and to fail to love them, for one has done nothing to help them. Oh, there may be sentimental support, but that it not the Love that we have a vocation to live, that it the world’s love. Thus to believe that we should do all we can to help people stop destructive behavior, such as smoking, alcoholism, drugs, and all the others, but to exclude those who are ensnared in the moral morass which St. Catherine tells us even the demons will not look upon, is one of two things; it is either the height of hypocrisy, or a person who has lost the sense of sin, for the gravity of this offense against God and self.

The prodigal son, when he came to his senses, got up from the pig pen and returned to his Father, who ran to meet him, with joy at the return of his son who had been lost. There is a school which seems intent on keeping the prodigal in the pig pen, because they are unaware of the nature of the Love of the Father, condemning these sons to extended suffering by their interdiction; even intercepting them on the road and sending them back to the pig pen.

It is now the hour for you to wake from sleep, for our salvation is closer than when we first believed. The night is far spent; the day draws near. Let us cast off deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Rm 13:11-12

Prepare the way of the Lord. It is a road from Jericho to Jerusalem; from the world, to heaven, and it is a two way street. Jesus said we need to set the desire of our hearts on heaven, for if we set them on the world, we will achieve nothing, but on heaven, ah! He will give us heaven and the world besides! And what is the way to heaven, this road from the Jericho to Jerusalem? This way has a name, the only name under heaven by which man can be saved, His name is Jesus, and He is the Way. Let us set out anew, and sing on the Way,

Salve Regina, Mater miserecordia…

Because when we (as Dominicans) sing the Salve Regina, here is what our Lady in Heaven revealed to St. Dominic in a vision:

From Henri Lacordaire’s Life of St. Dominic

“One evening, Dominic was praying in the church until midnight, at which hour he entered the corridor where the Friars were asleep in their cells. Having finished his business, he resumed his prayers at the end of the corridor where the Friars were asleep in their cells. Having finished his business, he resumed his prayers at the end of the corridor, when chancing to turn his eyes to the other end, he beheld three women approaching, the center on being the most beautiful and venerable. One of her companions carried a magnificent vase, and the other an aspersorium, which she presented to her mistress, who sprinkled and blessed all the Friars save one. Dominic, after noting who the Friar was, advanced to meet the woman, who had already reached the middle of the corridor, near the lamp suspended in that spot. He prostrated himself at her feet, and although he had recognized her, entreated her to tell him her name. At that same time, the beautiful and devotional anthem of the Salve Regina was not yet sung in the monastery and nunnery of the Order in Rome, but only recited, kneeling, after Compline. The woman replied, ‘I am she whom you invoke every eve, and when you say, Eia ergo, advocata nostra, I prostrate myself before my Son, entreating Him to protect this Order.’ The blessed Dominic then asked who her two companions were, on which the Blessed Virgin said, ‘One is Cecilia, and the other Catherine.’ The blessed Dominic then inquired the reason for her omitting to bless one of the Friars, and she replied, ‘Because he was not in a becoming posture.’ Then having finished her round, and sprinkled and blessed the Friars, she disappeared. The blessed Dominic returned to the spot where he had been praying, and hardly had he recommenced his devotions when he was raised in spirit to the presence of God. He beheld the Lord, having at his right hand the Blessed Virgin, who seemed to Dominic to be robed in a sapphire-colored mantle. Looking around and discerning Religious of every Order but his own, he began to weep bitterly, not daring to approach our Lord or his Blessed Mother. Our Lady motioned him to draw near, but he dared not comply until encouraged by our Lord. Then he approached and prostrated himself weeping bitterly. The Lord said, ‘Why weepest thou so bitterly?’ and he replied, ‘Because I see members of every Order but my own.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Dost thou wish to see thy Order?’ He tremblingly replied, ‘Yes, Lord;’ and the Lord rested His hand on the shoulder of the Blessed Virgin, saying to Dominic, ‘I have confided thy Order to my mother.’ Then He added, ‘Wilt thou indeed see thy Order?’ to which Dominic replied, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then the Blessed Virgin unfolding her mantle in Dominic’s sight, so that it covered the whole of the celestial abode, he beheld beneath it a multitude of his children. The blessed Father prostrated himself to render thanks to God and to our Lady, and the vision disappeared. As he recovered consciousness, the bell was ringing for Matins, and when they were ended, he convoked a chapter of his Friars, and discoursed to them on the love and veneration they ought to have to the Blessed Virgin, and among other things he related this vision. At the close of the chapter, he privately took aside the brother whom Our Lady had not blessed, and gently asked him if he had not kept back something in the general confession he had made. He replied, ‘Holy Father, my conscience accuses me of nothing, save that last night, when I awoke, I found I had been sleeping with no garments on.’ At Saint-Sixtus the blessed Dominic related his vision to Sister Cecilia and the others, as if it had been beheld by another person, but the Friars present made a sign to the sisters that it was Dominic who had seen it. It was on this occasion that the blessed Dominic enjoined that, wherever they slept, the Friars should wear their girdle and their sandals.”[3]

[3] Sister Cecilia’s Narrative, n. 7.

Friday, December 01, 2006


This morning was the first day of the season with icy roads after a light snowfall; I had to take my daughter to school early, then off to Sacred Heart Parish for the first mass to be sung by the Schola Cantorum formed by Maria Turner, wife of Mike Turner OPL, of this chapter. This mass opened the "40 hours devotion" that Maria has organized. The choir, only recently deemed "not appropriate" for singing at mass, is singing at three masses this weekend. After mass, on the way to work, I was involved in an accident on the icy roads. Fortunately no one was injured, and I had the opportunity to meet and visit with several delightful people whom Providence had decided needed to do something quite different than what they had planned for that hour of this glorious day. In fact, in considering the collection of circumstances out of the ordinary that put me in that place at that time, any of which not taken, whould have enabled me to not have been hit, I had to pause and give thanks to God for all the times where the collections of circumstances which would have put me in a very bad place, did not happen. May He be ever praised.

which is a long introduction to something that Bill White posted back to me in a comment on my "Anniversary" entry, an item I'd sent him in 1998. It still touches my soul. Thanks, Bill!

Thank you, Oh gracious Lord,
for the love with which you created us;
Thank you, Oh gracious Lord,
for the justice with which you condemned us,
Thank you, Oh gracious Lord,
for the mercy with which you redeemed us.

St. Cyprian on the coming kingdom

This is from todays Office of Readings. St. Cyprian wrote from North Africa in the mid-third century.

From a sermon on man’s mortality by Saint Cyprian, bishop.

Our obligation is to do God’s will, and not our own. We must remember this if the prayer that our Lord commanded us to say daily is to have any meaning on our lips. How unreasonable it is to pray that God’s will be done, and then not promptly obey it when he calls us from this world! Instead we struggle and resist like self-willed slaves and are brought into the Lord’s presence with sorrow and lamentation, not freely consenting to our departure, but constrained by necessity. And yet we expect to be rewarded with heavenly honors by him to whom we come against our will! Why then do we pray for the kingdom of heaven to come if this earthly bondage pleases us? What is the point of praying so often for its early arrival if we would rather serve the devil here than reign with Christ?

The world hates Christians, so why give your love to it instead of following Christ, who loves you and has redeemed you? John is most urgent in his epistle when he tells us not to love the world by yielding to sensual desires. “Never give your love to the world,” he warns, “or to anything in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. All that the world offers is the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and earthly ambition. The world and its allurements will pass away, but the man who has done the will of God shall live for ever.” Our part, my dear brothers, is to be single-minded, firm in faith, and steadfast in courage, ready for God’s will, whatever it may be. Banish the fear of death and think of the eternal life that follows it. That will show people that we really live our faith.

We ought never to forget, beloved, that we have renounced the world. We are living here now as aliens and only for a time. When the day of our homecoming puts and end to our exile, frees us from the bonds of the world, and restores us to paradise and to a kingdom, we should welcome it. What man, stationed in a foreign land, would not want to return to his own country as soon as possible? Well, we look upon paradise as our country, and a great crowd of our loved ones awaits us there, a countless throng of parents, brothers and children longs for us to join them. Assured though they are of their own salvation, they are still concerned about ours. What joy both for them and for us to see one another and embrace! O the delight of that heavenly kingdom where there is no fear of death! O the supreme and endless bliss of everlasting life!

There, is the glorious band of apostles, there, the exultant assembly of prophets, there, the innumerable host of martyrs, crowned for their glorious victory in combat and in death. There, in triumph, are the virgins who subdued their passions by the strength of continence. There, the merciful are rewarded, those who fulfilled the demands of justice by providing for the poor. In obedience to the Lord’s command, they turned their earthly patrimony into heavenly treasure.

My dear brothers, let all our longing be to join them as soon as we may. May God see our desire, may Christ see this resolve that springs from faith, for he will give the rewards of his love more abundantly to those who have longed for him more fervently.