Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Adrienne's post Road Confusion contains a link to an aerial view of her property; which is next to Father Gould, which is next to the Orthodox Church; which has in interesting cemetery in the back:

Notice the cross? We have discussed doing the same thing in ours; which is at a much earlier stage of development. very early....

Although this image is about 3 years old, it at least is the first one I've found that picks up the cemetery. Yes. We are over a half mile down a dirt (private) road.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Faith of our fathers

from Momentoes of the English Martyrs and Confessors, For Every day in the Year

May 20

BORN in Shropshire, he became a gentleman’s servant, but went abroad, was ordained priest at Douay, and was sent on the English Mission in 1576. In December 1580, after being arrested, he was sent to the Tower, was three times most cruelly racked, and in November 1581 was sentenced, but his execution was postponed till May 28, 1582. On the scaffold he answered the Sheriff that Elizabeth was as much Head of the Church as Mary had been. The Sheriff replied: "Thou art a traitor most obstinate." "If I be a traitor for holding the faith, then all our kings and queens and all our ancestors were traitors, for they maintained the same." Hereupon the rope was put about his neck, and he was willed to pray, which he did in Latin. They willed him to pray in English that they might witness with him: he said, "I pray that prayer which Christ taught, in a tongue I well understand." A minister cried out, "Pray as Christ taught." To whom Mr. Johnson replied, "What! do you think Christ taught in English?" And so won his crown with the Church’s words on his lips.

"And their children spoke half in the speech of Azotus, and could not speak the Jews language, and they spoke according to the language of this and that people, and I chid them and laid my curse upon them." 2 ESDRAS xiii. 24, 25.

Hat tip to Fr. Tim at The hermeneutic of continuity

Friday, April 25, 2008

Why we listen II

In the post Why we listen I provided the scriptural foundation for why listening to the Church is something we should do. Here is a reading from today's Divine Office, which states the consequences a bit more elegantly, and directly.

From a sermon by Blessed Isaac of Stella, abbot

Just as the head and body of a man form one single man, so the Son of the Virgin and those he has chosen to be his members form a single man and the one Son of Man. Christ is whole and entire, head and body, say the Scriptures, since all the members form one body, which with its head is one Son of Man, and he with the Son of God is one Son of God, who himself with God is one God. Therefore the whole body with its head is Son of Man, Son of God, and God. This is the explanation of the Lord’s words: Father, I desire that as you and I are one, so they may be one with us.

And so, according to this well-known reading of Scripture, neither the body without the head, nor the head without the body, nor the head and body without God make the whole Christ. When all are united with God they become one God. The Son of God is one with God by nature; the Son of Man is one with him in his person; we, his body, are one with him sacramentally. Consequently those who by faith are spiritual members of Christ can truly say that they are what he is: the Son of God and God himself. But what Christ is by his nature we are as his partners; what he is of himself in all fullness, we are as participants. Finally, what the Son of God is by generation, his members are by adoption, according to the text: As sons you have received the Spirit of adoption, enabling you to cry, Abba, Father.
This body in which we participate is characterized by many things; one of which is that the ordinary members of the body do not speak for the head; that task is reserved for those parts of the body to whom the task has been entrusted. It was once common to refer to the "Church Teaching" and the "Church Taught." This distinction has been all but done away with in the common understanding, to eternal peril.

In "This Tremendous Lover" by M. Eugene Boylan, (perhaps one of the great spiritual classics of the 20th Century) the author points out that it is fascinating that the great scourge of our day is cancer; but what is cancer, except the condition where a cell lives for itself no longer under the direction of the body?

Awesome post from Father Down Under: Room Temperature Catholics ...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Commentary on the Holy Father's visit

This is from an article on the Holy Father's address to the ecumenical group on April 18 in New York. Sandro Magister has provided a wealth of commentary

The thesis of Benedict XVI is that Christianity is so divided both because of a mutual rivalry expressed in "prophetic actions" that tend to distinguish and divide the communities from "communion with the Church in every age," and because of "a relativistic approach to Christian doctrine similar to that found in secular ideologies."

So instead of preaching Jesus Christ "and him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2) – meaning the "objective truth" of the apostolic faith – many Christians of the various denominations prefer to urge each one to follow his own conscience and choose the community that best meets his personal tastes.

In the judgment of Benedict XVI, this reluctance to assert the centrality of doctrine "for fear that it would only exacerbate rather than heal the wounds of division" is also present within the ecumenical movement.

On the contrary, this is the appeal of the pope:

"Only by 'holding fast' to sound teaching (2 Thess 2:15; cf. Rev 2:12-29) will we be able to respond to the challenges that confront us in an evolving world. Only in this way will we give unambiguous testimony to the truth of the Gospel and its moral teaching. This is the message which the world is waiting to hear from us."

This appeal is all the more relevant "just at the time when the world is losing its bearings and needs a persuasive common witness to the saving power of the Gospel (cf. Rom 1:18-23)."

For the day by day commentary, see the other articles at Chiesa Online

For the text of the Holy Father's addresses:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dominican Chant blog

I am pleased to learn that there is a new Dominican Liturgy blog!

there is a series of posts on how to sing Dominican chant, including on the Dominican Salve Regina.

Why we listen

Gospel for Sunday, April 27

Jn 14:15-21

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows him.
But you know him, because he remains with you,
and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.
Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

How will we keep His commandments, if we do not know what they are that we must keep? Where will we turn? To Jesus, of course, because he teaches what the Father has told Him:

So Jesus said (to them), "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. Jn 8:28

from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him. Mt 17:5

That worked then, when Jesus walked among men, but what of now? There are those who say that the only infallible source is the bible. Yet, to whom did the first Christians turn, when there was no bible? They turned to the ones whom Jesus gave the authority to speak in His name. How? He first sent them as He was sent.

(Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Jn 20:21

And most importantly, gave them the authority he possessed to speak in His name.

Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." Lk 10:16

This authority was not given to all, only a restricted group. The Holy Spirit is sent to confirm it:

But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. Jn 16:13

And Jesus guarantees it till the end of time.

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." Mt 28:19-20

So the mission is documented as given to a select group, to be carried on to the end of time. This mission and authority is documented as being passed on to the successors of the original group of Apostles, but t is not documented as being transferred from the group it was given to, to anyone else, or simply to a book of collected writings. For the authority to so there reside, that clear transference would have to be documented.

Who be the "you" in the quotes above? The apostles, definitely, as they are clearly the subject. Their successors as well, as documented even in Scripture to the 4th generation, and thus to this day. The rest of us, not

When the Holy Father preaches to the world, he speaks not for himself, but for Him who Is, in the Father’s name, with the authority of God. Too big a pill to swallow? The Pharisees thought so too, and crucified Him for the blasphemy they perceived. Their children still reject the Church which is His body, for the same reason. The stumbling block of faith.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Need for conversion

“My impression is that Christianity today suffers to a great extent from a lack of readiness for conversion. People are eager to receive the comfort of religion; they are also aware that they cannot give it to themselves; but that it needs to be supported by the community of believers and its authority. But they shrink for the binding nature of Church teaching and Church life and reserve for themselves to choice of what they consider to be religiously useful and understandable. Committing oneself – that is, accepting the whole package, including those elements which at the moment do not seem to be either evident or useful – appears as too large a step. The obligatory doctrines and life of the Church are transposed into the invective “official Church” and are thus declared to be something bureaucratic and superficial. On the other hand, people are then surprised that no energy for supporting life and the community issues from the nonbinding Christianity of private choice.”

“A New Song for the Lord,” Ch 9, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, 1996.

In this fascinating and insightful book, the Holy Father (while still prefect of the CDF) explains why creativity in the Liturgy is actually the antithesis of "active participation" - creativity makes "active participation" impossible.

Another fascinating insight is that we are currently told that individual confession didn't exist in the early church; rather, public confession in the community, and the Irish monks brough individual confession to Europe and started the tradition as we know it today. Pure polemic balderdash (popularized by Rahner). Private confession existed before the time of Jesus, was practiced by the Jews, by those who went to John the Baptist, and is well documented through early Church history.

Jesus often admonished to "do penance" but today, that is such an unknown quantity in our culture, that Ratzinger saw great promise in the communal penance services (followed by private confession and absolution) in restoring the public sense of sin, contrition, and penance.

Yeah, big HAT TIP to Fr. Speekman for recommending this book, I'd suggest it to anyone, especially in concert with "Spirit of the Liturgy" if you are interested in understanding why Liturgy has been turned on it's head (self worship) and what it will take to turn it back towards God. Perhaps that is why the pope has been making such a big deal of turning towards the Lord. On the other hand, if you think the pope is regressive and trying to "turn the clock back" these books will help you understand why your clock is off.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Papal Vespers online

The New Liturgical Movement has posted many excellent items from the Papal Visit; click here for a wonderful video of the Papal Vespers at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, here are two pictures:

And here are a couple pictures from the mass at the ball-park:

notice in these pictures there is an altar cross on the altar.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Keeping up with the Holy Father

You may watch or follow the Holy Father’s visit to the United States by tuning in at, whereat there is an instant video feed.

Faith of our Fathers

I've caught up in the reading! This is an exquisite book.
Today from Momentoes of the English Martyrs and Confessors, For Every day in the Year

April 17
Ven. HENRY HEATH, O.S.F., 1643

ON his trial he said, "I came to this country to free souls from the servitude of the devil and to convert them from heresy." "Which heresy?" they asked. "Protestant, Puritan, Brownist, Anabaptist," I replied, "and many others, for whoever professes these are rightly called heretics." Again, "I was a Protestant myself up to my twenty-fourth year, and professed the same heresy that you do now. But, as Job says, Perish the day in which I was born, so I heap up curses and execrations on the day on which I began to imbibe the Protestant superstition." As he was being dragged to the hurdle he prayed God to remove the darkness and blindness of the Protestants, and on the scaffold, with the rope round his neck, he protested that his return to England was for no other design but to spend his life and labours in the conversion of his country, and that for this alone was he condemned to die. After he had recited the hymn and prayer of St. Anicetus, Pope and Martyr, whose day it was, he finished his course praying, "Jesus, Mary Jesus, for give my sins; Jesus, convert England ; Jesus, have mercy on this country. O England, turn thyself to the Lord thy God." Tyburn, April 17, 1643.

"Convert us, O Lord, to Thee and we shall be converted; renew our days as from the beginning." LAM. v. 21.

Hat tip to Fr. Tim at The hermeneutic of continuity

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

April 15, "A CRY FOR RELIEF"

Interesting that 400 years ago, this date is associated with a cry for relief, but today, it is associated with a cry for another type of relief; We should remember, and lift our hearts to the Lord.

from Momentoes of the English Martyrs and Confessors, For Every day in the Year

April 15

WE Catholics, tormented sore
With heresy's foul railing tongue,
With prisons, tortures, loss of goods,
Of land, yea, lives, even thieves among,
Do crave, with heart surcharged with grief,
Of Thee, sweet Jesu, some relief.

We crave relief in this distress,
We seek some ease of this annoy ;
Yet are we well content with all,
So Thee in end we may enjoy ;
Ourselves to Thee we do resign
Relieve us, Lord, our cause is Thine.

Our cause is Thine, and Thine are we,
Who from Thy truth refuse to slide :
Our faith Thy truth, true faith the cause
For which these garboyles we abide ;
True faith, I say, as plain appears
To all who shut not eyes and ears.

To all who shut not eyes and ears
Gainst fathers, scriptures, Church, and Thee,
Who built Thy Church, as doctors all
With scriptures plainly do agree,
Not, soon to fall, upon the sand,
But on a Rock still sure to stand.

Still sure to stand, yea, on a hill,
For all her friends and foes to see,
Her friends to foster and defend,
Her foes to vanquish gloriously ;
From age to age this hath she done,
Thus shall she do in time to come.

In time to come, as heretofore,
Most certainly she shall prevail
Gainst all the force and sleighty wiles,
Wherewith hell-gates may her assail ;
Who shoot against this brazen wall
With their fond bolts themselves will gall.

Themselves to gall they will be sure,
Who strive to ruinate Thy house,
And to withdraw Thy children dear
From soft lap of Thy dearest spouse,
Thy children whom, with streams of blood,
Thou bought, sweet Lord, upon the Rood.

Upon the Rood Thou bought our souls
With price more worth then all Thou bought,
Yet doth the fiend our foes so blind,
Both souls and price they set at naught ;
They reckon not enough their ill,
Except with theirs our souls they spill.

Our souls to spill they think full soon
Or else our bodies to enthrall ;
Or, at the least, to wantful state,
Through hard pursuits, to bring us all ;
Come quickly, therefore, Lord Jesus,
And judge this cause twixt them and us.

Give judgment, Lord, twixt them and us,
The balance yet let pity hold :
Let mercy measure their offence,
And grace reduce them to Thy fold,
That we, all children of Thy spouse,
May live as brethren in Thy house.

Hat tip to Fr. Tim at The hermeneutic of continuity

Long Live Benedict XVI !!

With great anticipation we have longed to see the full fruit of the Holy Father's pontificate. In these next few days, we may realize more. He has started wonderfully with two epistles, one on Love and one on Hope. Well done, well written, and so timely for our age lacking in hope, discipline, and perseverence. This Pope gives me hope and he is particularly kind and gentle but with the discipline of a good mind and heart. We pray you well dear Holy Father on your visit to the United States of America--a land full of hope and opportunity. We will also listen in the coming hours and days as you unfold your teaching and hopes for the Church here in America, to bind up its wounds, to tear down barriers, and to care for those who cannot care for themselves. Oh dear God, bless this dear servant of the Servants of God. And, in doing so, please bless the land of our birth.

What do you see?

This next Sunday's gospel contains:

Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.

St. Paul points out that Jesus Christ "is the image of the invisible God" (Col 1:15), and of us, "For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son" (Rm 8:29), "for man was made to the image of God." (Gen 9:6)

Now, we look in a mirror, and we see; an image. The image is not us, but a reflection of us. If the mirror is good, it is a pretty good reflection, but only in two dimensions. If it is not a good mirror, it is not even a good 2d reflection. But we never confuse the reflection with our self, it is only an image.

Yet for a moment, in your imagination, place yourself before the mirror and contemplate your image. It is not you, but it is there. Now God the Father has an image, but that image is a person, and that person is Jesus Christ! what a wonder this is! The invisible God has an image that can be seen! But since we are still in our imagination, consider for a moment with the eyes of the soul: God is spirit. Jesus chastized Philip for not "seeing" because he desired to see the Father with the eyes of the body, rather than the eyes of the soul.

Now whereas Jesus is the image of the invisible God, we are made "in" the image of the invisible God; in other words, Jesus is the model to which we are made. In that, we can look at this image that we are made to by looking at the image that we are; but this mirror is not a very good quality one, it is clouded and covered with the filth of sin. "We see now through a glass in a dark manner: but then face to face." (1 Cor 13:12) It is little wonder that Jesus said "they have eyes, but do not see."

Now, let's leave the imagination and go back to a real mirror; yeah, here we are, some days are just like this!

it has been said that the devil seeks our death, because he hates God's image so much. He is quite creative in working out ways to acheive his nefarious ends.

Homicide at Boise hospital

Many people are aware that one of the two major hospitals in Boise, St. Luke's, performs 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions. Many more are not aware.

Under Idaho statutes, abortion is a homicide for which prosecution is impeded.

(1) For purposes of this chapter "embryo" or "fetus" shall mean any human in utero.
(2) Nothing in this chapter, arising from the killing of an embryo or fetus, shall be construed to permit the prosecution:
(a) Of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law;
(b) Of any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her embryo or fetus; or
(c) Of any woman with respect to her embryo or fetus.
(3) Nothing in this chapter is intended to amend or nullify the provisions of chapter 6, title 18, Idaho Code.

So the bottom line, is under Idaho law, St. Lukes is performing a
homicide every time an abortion is performed in it's facilities.

Is St. Lukes bound to provide the service of homicide? The answer,
again from Idaho Code, is a resounding NO.

Nothing in this act shall be deemed to require any hospital to furnish facilities or admit any patient for any abortion if, upon determination by its governing board, it elects not to do so. Neither shall any physician be required to perform or assist in any abortion, nor shall any nurse, technician or other employee of any physician or hospital be required by law or otherwise to assist or participate in the performance or provision of any abortion if he or she, for personal, moral or religious reasons, objects thereto. Any such person in the employ or under the control of a hospital shall be deemed to have sufficiently objected to participation in such procedures only if he or she has advised such hospital in writing that he or she generally or specifically objects to assisting or otherwise participating in such procedures. Such notice will suffice without specification of the reason therefor. No refusal to accept a patient for abortion or to perform, assist or participate in any such abortion as herein provided shall form the basis of any claim for damages or recriminatory action against the declining person, agency or institution.

Why do they do it?

Apparently the Ethics Committee at St. Luke's believes that since it is legal it is OK. St. Lukes doesn't provide Euthanasia services; such services are not legal in Idaho. They are legal in Oregon, so would St. Lukes provide them at a hypothetical clinic in Ontario, OR, for example? What is fundamentally wrong with turning to the law as a cover for a bad decision?

35 years ago: clicking into place

In 1973 I opened a tropical fish store in Boise; I had tropical, salt water, and pond fish. One of my customers was a doctor who used to come in with his kids. From time to time I'd go to his house to deliver a special order of live fish. for those who don't know, to transport live fish, you put them in a large plastic bag, inflate it with air, and tie it off with a rubber band. On receipt, you float the bag in the receiving water until the temperature equalizes, then you release the fish into the new environment. The living creatures must be transported carefully, temperature deviation alone will kill them.

How ironic to learn that while I was caring for these helpless creatures, this customer was embarking on a path of destroying helpless babies in their mother's womb, and that his son who used to run around my fish store would follow in his steps learning and practicing that same gruesome trade. I never treated my fish like that, and my prayers ever since I learned of your trade, Dr. Weyhrich, have been for your conversion; father and son.

I obscured the image for the squeamish, click to see it. Picture courtesy of

A Mission of Divine Mercy

Well, I was going to post from Mike's newsletter, the experience the family had on Divine Mercy Saturday. But for whatever reason I can't copy from the pdf file, so, I'll recommend you go read it here.

Mike, way cool. You do know that is an apostolate of Legion of Mary, right?

2nd Annual Mike Lee Family Yard Sale to be held May 30 - June 1. Details are on page 3 of the newsletter -- and be sure to think about how you might be able to participate...
Last year I was able to donate a trailer load of stuff, and I understand the yard sale was fantastic; gigantimus! this year I'll have to support it by shopping!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

40 years ago: clicking into place

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King was felled by an assassin. The event flooded the news. Oddly, while I remember the very place and moment I was when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, I have only vague and fuzzy memories of Dr. King on the day he died, almost as though they were not really my memories, but memories acquired from the news later, rather than lived through, so to speak.

It is only now that this minor puzzle is put to rest; You might say I was "preoccupied." My father sent the following pictures:

my mother, early 1940s

pregnant with her first born, 1949.

with family, late 1954.

Shirley Gross, April 3, 1928 - April 4, 1968
Beloved mother, you gave your all, and at the end, turned to Him through whom all things were made, that with this life ending you might enter Life unending. with our Blessed Mother, pray for us who still wander in this valle of tears.

From the Orthometer!

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou

not sure how the score got that high?
hat tip to Fr. Eric at Orthometer

Monday, April 14, 2008

Faith of our Fathers

from Momentoes of the English Martyrs and Confessors, For Every day in the Year

March 19
Ven. ROGER WRENNO, L., 1616

WRENNO, a weaver, was condemned with Ven. Thulis for assisting priests. After he was turned off the ladder, the rope broke with the weight of his body, and he fell down to the ground. After a short space he came perfectly to him self, and, going upon his knees, began to pray very devoutly, his eyes and hands lifted up to Heaven. Upon this the minister Lee came to him and extolled the mercies of God in his regard and likewise the King s clemency, who would give him his life if he would but take the oath. The good man at this arose, saying, "I am the same man I was, and in the same mind; use your pleasure with me," and with that he ran to the ladder, and went up it as fast as he could. "How now," says the sheriff, "what does the man mean, that he is in such haste ?" "Oh!" says the good man, "if you had seen that which I have just now seen you would be as much in haste to die as I now am." And so the executioner, putting a stronger rope about his neck, turned the ladder, and quickly sent him to see the good things of which before he had had a glimpse. He suffered at Lancaster, March 18, 1616.

"I believe to see the good things of the Lord
the land of the living." Ps. xxvi. 13.

Hat tip to Fr. Tim at The hermeneutic of continuity

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bp. Vasa: Battling the Devil

Bp. Vasa has a reflection on battling evil in his weekly column which is very insightful.

The drive, which by the way is not by far my favorite drive, gave me an opportunity to listen to several more hours of presentations on Deliverance or Healing Ministry. I found the theological presentations to be extremely well balanced and carefully worded. I found the tone of the questions to be genuinely and openly inquisitive. It was, or so it appeared to me, a gathering of folks devoted to combating evil and yet extremely cognizant of the need to do so, not in opposition to the Church, but rather in full cooperation with Her. There appeared to be only a very slight hint of tension when a distinction was drawn between what the laity had been doing in the area of Deliverance Ministry and what the official “Church” had apparently not been doing. It was noted that there were only four bishops at the Conference and, while attendees found this most encouraging, the small number seemed to be indicative of the reluctance, on the part of the official “Church,” to give a full stamp of approval to all that has been taking place. I think the Conference, which was largely educative in nature, very successfully brought a solid theological foundation to the deliverance experiences of priests and laity. At the same time the deliverance experiences of the priests and laity were given significant validation.

The Church officials, who spoke from both a theological and experiential base, were very effective in pointing out the spiritual dangers inherent in engaging in a deliverance ministry without adequate preparation, training and most especially official approbation by the Church. These theologians spoke about the devil with a bit of deference but without fear. In general, the theme was that we do not want to engage the devil in direct battle without the full faith and credit of the Catholic Church behind us. The distinction between what every baptized person can and should do and what the Church does officially is very important. For instance, it is perfectly legitimate and encouraged for everyone to pray for a deliverance from evil. We do this daily in the Lord’s Prayer: “Deliver us from evil. Amen” We do the same when we say that powerful Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel: “St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host - by the Power of God - thrust into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.” Notice that both of these involve an invocation either to God directly or to the Archangel to intervene on our behalf. This is significantly different from the kind of declaration which implies that the person speaking is the chosen or appointed instrument of God. For example: “I adjure you by the living God to depart from this place or person and never return” or “I bind you in the Name of Jesus” or “I command you in the Name of Jesus.” The Conference presenters spoke repeatedly about the need to be very careful in the use of language. If the person using the language of direct deliverance has not, in fact, been appointed in an official act of the Church then the “appointment” is either presumed to have come directly from God (which then implicitly calls into question the nature of the authority given to the Church) or the person is ‘self appointed” or “self anointed” which can be nothing other than the prelude to anarchy.

In addition to the theological discussions there were also very challenging spiritual presentations. One, in particular, captured my attention. The presenter delved into the topic of addictions and “sins of thought.” She specifically mentioned the harboring of angry, jealous, envious, or resentful thoughts. In this regard I thought again of Pope Benedict’s Encyclical. He quotes the Vietnamese martyr Paul Le-Bao-Tinh (d. 1857): “I, Paul, in chains for the name of Christ, wish to relate to you the trials besetting me daily, in order that you may be inflamed with love for God and join with me in his praises, for his mercy is for ever (Ps 136). The prison here is a true image of everlasting Hell: to cruel tortures of every kind - shackles, iron chains, manacles - are added hatred, vengeance, calumnies, obscene speech, quarrels, evil acts, swearing, curses, as well as anguish and grief. But the God who once freed the three children from the fiery furnace is with me always; he has delivered me from these tribulations and made them sweet, for his mercy is for ever. In the midst of these torments, which usually terrify others, I am, by the grace of God, full of joy and gladness, because I am not alone - Christ is with me.” (Spe Salvi, 37) He certainly had reason to complain, to impugn his captors, to deride them and criticize them but he seemed to know that those things would be from the devil and he chose to listen to God instead. I think he has a lot to teach us.

Bishop Robert Vasa, Catholic Sentinel online edition, April 11, 2008

Not reading Bp. Vasa yet? do subscribe!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Salve Regina

Listen up!
Dominican Salve Regina from Blackfriars, Oxford:

and from another group of Dominicans at San Clemente, Rome:

hat tip to Vocation-Station

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Signs (3rd Sunday of Easter)

So they said to him, "What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Jn 6:30.

It is interesting to note that Jesus goes on, not to answer this question, but to explain that he is the Bread of Life. The question He leaves unanswered, He had previously answered:

"Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you." He said to them in reply, "An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. Mt 38-40

It is a normal human foible to wish to have first hand evidence before we accept something. Thomas is our emblematic figure of this, when he said:

"Unless I see…, I will not believe." Jn 20:25

Thomas is granted to see, and he admits to more than he saw:

"My Lord and my God!" Jn 20:28

And Jesus responds with:

"Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." Jn 20:29

The burning question is, do you believe, or seek signs? Notice that Thomas believed not just what he saw, but affirmed what went beyond sight; that Jesus is God. Stand now before the risen Lord, and either affirm him God, or stand aside (like those in John 6:66). If he is God, then as the omnipotent God, His word is to be trusted; and He has chosen to bring the Logos, the Word, to you in human form. A scandal today as it was 2000 years ago, that God would use fallible human flesh to communicate Himself to us. Place you hands in the wounds, the wounds you have caused in the sacred humanity of Christ. He said to his Apostles

“Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." Lk 10:16

This my friends is where faith enters, the test of faith in this age; for Christ has not left us orphans, but has made a promise:

And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. Mt 28:20.

For would you not listen to Jesus if He were standing next to you, telling you to “sin no more” or that you are an unprofitable servant, or any of the things He told His own when He walked in the flesh? Now, His promise is fulfilled in our sight, but why do we refuse to see? We refuse for the same reason that so many refused 2000 years ago. We wanted the signs, we wanted what we wanted and not what was offered; so when we close off the Church from our lives, we tie Christ to the pillar; when we wag our tongues, offering our own opinions over the timeless wisdom of Christ through His Church, we lash his sacred flesh; and finally, our in our flip rejection of the Church’s Wisdom, we wash our hands with Pilate saying with our deeds (for actions speak louder than words),

“what is truth?” Jn 18:38

Ah, there is more, so much more, why settle for so little?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Faith of our Fathers

History played a different score, than that which was played to me...

from Momentoes of the English Martyrs and Confessors, For Every day in the Year

January 8

BY permission of Gregory XIII, under the fresco of a prison, on the walls of the English College, Rome, the following sentence was inscribed : "For their Confession of the Roman See and the Catholic Faith, eleven Catholic Bishops died, after wasting away by a long imprisonment." That is, the Catholic Bishops whom Elizabeth found in their Sees on her accession, with the exception of Kitchen of Llandaff, one and all refused to take the oath of supremacy, and were deposed. Those who had been weak before, like Tunstall and Gardiner, and had accepted Henry VIII under the title of Head of the Church, were staunch now, for they had learnt where their error led. They were placed in private confinement or imprisoned, but on the breaking out of the Plague in London they were subjected to the galling custody of their Protestant successors in what had been their own palaces, and there in one or other prison in the end all died. Their end was in obloquy before men, but their sculptured effigies in desecrated cathedrals would never give God the glory of their broken croziers and empty thrones.

"They recovered strength from weakness, and became valiant in war; they had trials of mockeries and stripes, moreover also of bands and prisons, being approved by the testimony of their faith." HEB. xi. 34, 36, 39.

Hat tip to Fr. Tim at The hermeneutic of continuity

Monday, April 07, 2008

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Truth over injustice, mercy and love over betrayal

Edmund Campion, by Evelyn Waugh

(the first part of this post is here)

The jury returned with the inevitable verdict. The Lord Chief Justice demanded whether there was any cause why he should not pass sentence of death upon the prisoners.

It was then that Campion’s voice rose in triumph. He was no longer haggling with perjurers; he spoke now, not merely for the handful of doomed men behind him, nor to that sordid court, but for the whole gallant company of the English counter-Reformation; to all his contemporaries and all the posterity of his race: -

“It was not our death that ever we feared. But we knew that we were not lords of our own lives, and therefore for want of answer would not be guilty of our deaths. The only thing that we have now to say is, that if our religion do make us traitors, we are worthy to be condemned; but otherwise are, and have been, as good subjects as ever the Queen had.

“In condemning us you condemn all your own ancestors – all the ancient priests, bishops and kings – all that was once the glory of England, the island of saints, and the most devoted child of the See of Peter.

“For what have we taught, however you may qualify it with the odious name of treason, that they did not uniformly teach? To be condemned with these lights – not of England only, but of the world – by their degenerate descendants, is both gladness and glory to us.
“God lives; posterity will live; their judgment is not so liable to corruption as that of those who are now going to sentence us to death.”

The Lord Chief Justice answered: “You must go to the place from whence you came, there to remain until ye shall be drawn through the open City of London upon hurdles to the palace of execution, and there be hanged and let down alive, and your privy parts cot off, and your entrails taken out and burnt in your sight; then your heads to be cut off and your bodies divided into four parts, to be disposed of at her Majesty’s pleasure. And God have mercy on your souls.”

As the Lord Chief Justice’s final commendation sounded, with peculiar irony, through Westminster Hall, the condemned men broke into the words of the Te Deum and were led back in triumph to their several prisons.

There was 11 days between the trial and execution; only one visit is recorded, that of the “pursuivant” – the professional Catholic hunter who betrayed and captured Campion.

“If I had thought that you would have had to suffer aught but imprisonment through my accusing of you, I would never have done it,” he said, “however I might have lost by it.”

“If that is the case,” replied Campion, “I beseech you, in God’s name, to do penance, and confess your crime, to God’s glory and your own salvation.”

But it was fear for his life rather than for his soul that had brought the informer to the Tower; ever since the journey from Lydford, when the people had called him “Judas,” he had been haunted by the spectre of Catholic reprisal.

“You are much deceived,” said Campion, “if you thing the Catholics push their detestation and wrath as far as revenge; yet to make you quite safe, I will, if you please, recommend you to a Catholic duke in Germany, where you may live in perfect security.

But it was another man who was saved by the offer. Elliot went back to his trade of spy; Delahays, Campion’s gaoler, who was present at the interview, was so moved by Campion’s generosity that he became a Catholic.

Delehays continued the unending tradition of the faith; from the Roman circus, to Augustine's day, through Campion's time, to now men have seen the witness of the martyrs and stepped joyfully into their newly emptied shoes. Waugh did a beautiful job of capturing that faith so well attested by Bede eleven centuries before him.

Friday, April 04, 2008

On the road again...

That would be the road which we periodically find ourselves on, the road of Sunday's Gospel, the road to Emmaus.

Those first disciples who walked that road, discussed the failure of their hope. Their man, Jesus of Nazareth, had failed to live up to their expectations, expectations which died with him. But on that road He pointed out that 'the Christ' had to undergo all these things, as it had been planned and foretold from the beginning, as can be seen in the prophecy contained in the law and the prophets.

Now for a certain religious sect (headquartered in Utah), that a man failed, even this man, is not too much to bear, because he is a man, and all men, in the end, will fail. But this was no mere man, and that is what these disciples came to recognize in the breaking of the bread, to join in their understanding the incarnation of God who became man. This is the great stumbling block then, the great stumbling block now.

Sometimes I find myself on that same road, and like those disciples, experience a sorrow that the "Church Triumphant" is not realized in the hearts of God's children; forgetting a bit that the Church Triumphant is realized on "the other side." Yet, even that the "Church Militant" appears at times not to be very militant at all, nor even taking a defensive stand, but instead seems to be offering the kiss of Judas, proclaiming frindship with God while abandoning Him.

I sometimes wonder if my expectations on that road are not unlike those first disciples, thinking like men instead of like God. For as Jesus hung on the cross and all seemed lost, He was able to grant heaven to one single repentant sinner who would have been lost, had He not been on that cross next to Him. We know it would have been so, He would have gone through all of it, had Dismas been the only sinner saved; of which we are, in some sense, that one.

Jesus unceasingly brought the Kingdom of God to men, men who unceasingly sought and desired the kingdom of men; yet The Kindgom is here, the King is here, and it's citizens still kick against the goad. Perhaps the mystery, is that this is the "perfect society" and there is no improving on it; designed and established by He Who made all things.

In "Retractations" St. Augustine admitted that the Beatitudes are lived out in only one person, Jesus Christ, and all of the rest of us are but sinners falling short of the glory of God, redeemed by the One who came to save us. It is good to break bread along the road with friends.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

We do not know to believe, but we believe so we can know

What is the source of unhappiness? What will give us happiness? In our own experience, does attaining these things which hold the promise out to us, actually give us happiness? Once we have these things, why are we not happy, why does the initial happiness wear off and disappear? So, once one thing attained doesn’t do it for us, we set our sights on attaining the next goal, the next thing, expecting what? Perhaps we no longer even expect to attain to happiness, rather we cannot live without a goal so we set one and settle for the journey instead of the end? Yet, our heart is made for happiness, else, why would we be unhappy, why would we struggle within ourselves, aware that there is something more and better that we lack? Perhaps we sink into blaming ourselves, or blaming others, or blaming “forces operating against us,” but in any case, the key to unlock this is missing, and we are depressed, or angry, or confused, unhappy in our desire to be happy.

Certain philosophers have said that we have this desire because it can be attained; now most of us have little use for the philosophers of this or any other stripe, but we live what they believe, because the quest for happiness is a road that every man travels (while the philosophers study the pebbles and try and figure out the missing map). The destination of this travel journey (towards happiness), which every man makes by uncertain road, increasingly becomes clear to him that as each apparent destination is reached, he discovers that it is not the end he seeks at all, and another road is enjoined. This confusion of endless roads to dead end destinations eventually may lead to only two conclusions: that the end sought doesn’t exist, or that the end sought doesn’t exist in the finite, but still does exist, it exists in the infinite. The first conclusion is partly true, but partial truth can lead to disastrous results, it is the fullness of Truth which is the Way to that Life which we all seek. There in our heart will rest, satisfied, secure, fulfilled, happy.

From yesterday's Office of Readings, a bit of wisdom from St. Leo the Great:

My dear brethren, there is no doubt that the Son of God took our human nature into so close a union with himself that one and the same Christ is present, not only in the firstborn of all creation, but in all his saints as well. The head cannot be separated from the members, nor the members separated from the head. Not in this life, it is true, but only in eternity will God be all in all, yet even now he dwells, whole and undivided, in his temple the Church. Such was his promise to us when he said; See, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.

And so all that the Son of God did and taught for the world’s reconciliation is not for us simply a matter of past history. Here and now we experience his power at work among us. Born of a virgin mother by the action of the Holy Spirit, Christ keeps his Church spotless and makes her fruitful by the inspiration of the same Spirit. In baptismal regeneration she brings forth children for God beyond all numbering. These are the sons of whom is its written: They are born not of blood, nor of the desire of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

As we struggle in this darkness, squinting in the glare of His Light, may He ever show us the Way of Truth that leads to Life.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

FIRST FRIDAY HOLY MASS & ADORATION: 12:00 noon, Friday, April 4, 2008; St. Huberts, Homedale, Idaho

Mass will be celebrated this Friday, April 4, 2008 at Homedale, Idaho at St. Hubert's Chapel, Fr. Francisco Flores, Celebrant. Thereafter, Adoration will continue until reposition at 8:00 p.m. Friday evening. St. Hubert's is located near downtown Homedale, Owyhee County, Idaho.

The Church is located at 101 East Owyhee St.Homedale, Idaho 83628. When you arrive in Homedale, turn North on S 1st St E, one block to Owyhee Street, St. Hubert's is on the Northeast corner of that intersection.

Please come to worship Jesus, Our Risen Lord.

Memorial service for Katie Moore's mother

There will be a memorial service for Mary Moore at Holy Apostles Catholic Church, 11AM on April 11th.

'they will know us by our love'

Search as I may, that quote doesn't actually seem to be in the bible...
it seems to be based on John 13:35: "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another(DR)"

I will assume that "they will know us by our love" is a paraphrase that may occur in some versions of scripture that are paraphrases rather than translations. A Google search reveals something interesting: this phrase seems to regularly be thrown as a weapon at Christians, especially for stating anything that goes against the secularist world view; the "flinger" invariably seems to believe that if we had "love one for another" we would say nothing against sin.

Is this in fact a position that has any bearing in scripture? Keeping in mind the fact that "all men" in the biblical context does not mean "every single person" but rather representatives of every group, I think John gives us the key, for he also wrote:

1 John 3:1. Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called and should be the sons of God. Therefore the world knoweth not us, because it knew not him.

So this love by which we are to be known, is unknown, because the "manner of charity (love)" is different than the manner of the world's love. The world did not recognize Him when He walked among us, and to this day, still does not (because He still does in His body, the Church).

in trying to find that verse which apparently isn't in the bible, it occured to me that perhaps there is a bit of grace in it anyway. For, God made us in His image to know and to love Him, which seems to me to mean that if we do not love Him we will of necessity love something less; hence, "by our love" we will be known; whatever that love is. St. Augustine pointed out that man names himself by what he loves; the sinner by his love (hence the appelation "gay" etc; I once thought of myself as a 'biker' because of my love of motorcycles), but the Christian is know by what he loves; Christ.

The world will not know us because it did not know Him. This is so profound, that people rejected Him when He walked among them, with the same "it couldn't be" that is today thrown at His body, the Church.

In "A New Song for the Lord" Cdl Ratzinger says that at the root of the problems with the faith today is the answer to the question "Who do you say that I am?" - the answer that can hold "Jesus yes, church no" is a separation of Jesus from Christ, or, Jesus from Son of God; the separation which John calls "antichrist." The fantasy Jesus constructed apart from lived history and the reality of His mystical body, the Church, is popular today while the Church is considered only useful in the degree that it supports the world's view (but really is superfluous).

In "Battle for the American Church," Msgr Kelley enumerated the symptoms of self-destruction, in "A New Song for the Lord," Cdl Ratzinger has examined the disease that is the root cause.