Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Social Justice for families

Economic melt-down

You thought I was going to write about that which is on everyone's mind these days? Actually, I was thinking more in terms of the "economy of salvation" - to use a seldom used term. But without a doubt, the two are related, for without a solid foundation, can a wall stand? No, it will fall, especially if you take out the cornerstone (see next Sunday's gospel, Matthew 21:33-43). And the structure that is the Church, built on the foundation of the apostles & prophets(Ep 2:20)? what happens to the household of God, when those whose prayers hold it together say, "I don't want to do this any more?"

From DIVINE INTIMACY, by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, O.C.D.


PRESENCE OF GOD - O Jesus, teach me to pray, suffer, and work with You for the salvation of souls.


I. When we speak of the apostolate, we think almost exclusively of external activity; this is certainly necessary, but it is not the only kind of apostolate. We must always bear in mind that Jesus saved us not only by the activity of the last three years of His life, which were dedicated to the evangelization of the multitudes and the formation of the first nucleus of the Church, but also by prayer, suffering, vigils-by His whole life. Jesus was always an apostle, always the one sent by the Father for our salvation. His apostolate began at Bethlehem in the dreariness of a cave; as a tiny Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, He was already suffering for us; it continued during the thirty years spent at Nazareth in prayer, in retirement, in the hidden life; it took an external form in His direct contact with souls during His public life, and reached its culmination in His agony in the Garden of Olives and His death on the Cross. Jesus was an apostle in the stable of Bethlehem, in the shop of St. Joseph, in His anguish in Gethsemane and on Calvary no less than when He was going through Palestine, teaching the multitudes or disputing with the doctors of the law.

Our apostolate consists in associating ourselves with what Jesus has done for the redemption of mankind; therefore, it is not limited to external activity, but it also consists, and essentially so, in prayer and sacrifice. Thus one clearly sees that there are two fundamental forms of apostolate: the interior apostolate of prayer and immolation, which is a prolongation of the hidden life and of the Passion of Jesus; and the exterior apostolate of word and of work, which is a prolongation of His public life. Both are a participation in the redemptive work of Jesus, but there is a great difference between them. The interior apostolate is the indispensable foundation of the exterior apostolate; no one, in fact, can hope to save souls by exterior works which are not sustained by prayer and sacrifice. On the other hand, there are cases where external works can be dispensed with, without, on that account, lessening the interior apostolate of prayer and sacrifice, which can still be very intense and fruitful. Every Christian is an apostle, not only in virtue of the activity in which he engages, but principally because of his participation in the prayer and sacrifice by which Jesus has redeemed the world.

2. The interior apostolate can subsist by itself; in fact, there are states of life that justify the absence of an exterior apostolate. One of these is the purely contemplative life, which has always flourished in the Church. Like a mother, she jealously defends it against the attacks of those who condemn it as an escape from the field of action. Those who follow God's call and retire from active works to give themselves to this kind of life are not deserters; if they leave the ranks of the external apostolate, they do this only in order to give themselves to a more intensive apostolate, that of prayer and continual immolation.

"Those in the Church who perform the function of prayer and continual penance, contribute to the growth of the Church and the salvation of the human race to a greater degree than those who cultivate the Lord's field by their activity; for, if they did not draw down from heaven an abundance of divine grace to irrigate the field, the evangelical workers would certainly receive less fruit from their labors" (Pius XI: Umbratilem). This authorized statement of a great Pope can leave no doubt as to the immense apostolic value of the contemplative life; but, on the other hand, it is but just to remark that such value is realized only when contemplatives engage themselves with all their strength in prayer and continual immolation. In other words, it is not any kind of prayer or sacrifice that will result in such great fruitfulness, but only the prayer and sacrifice that come from an extremely pure and generous heart, a heart wholly given to God and which, day by day, renews and lives its immolation with ever greater freshness and intensity. When the contemplative life is lived with such intensity it is, in an eminent way, an apostolic life.

It is in this sense that Pope Pius XII has defined the vocation to a cloistered life as "a universal, apostolic vocation...a fully and totally apostolic vocation, not limited by boundaries of place, time, and circumstances, but always and everywhere, zealous for everything that in any way relates to the honor of the heavenly Spouse or the salvation of souls" (Apostolic Constitution: Sponsa Christi). Furthermore, contemplative monasteries, by the simple example of their hidden life, their prayer and penance, are a continual reminder for all to be detached from earthly things and to seek those that are heavenly : union with God and sanctity.


"What can I do, O Jesus, to save souls? You answer me with the words You once addressed to Your disciples, pointing to the fields of ripened corn: 'Lift up your eyes and see the countries; for they are already white for the harvest. ...The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few. Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest that He send forth laborers.'

"How mysterious it is! O Jesus, are You not all powerful? Do not creatures belong to You who made them? Why then do You say, 'Pray ye the Lord of the harvest to send laborers?' Why? O Jesus, because You have so incomprehensible a love for us that You want us to have a share with You in the salvation of souls, You want to do nothing without us. You, the Creator of the universe, wait for the prayer of a poor little soul to save other souls redeemed like it at the price of Your blood.

"My vocation is not to go harvesting in the fields of ripe corn; You do not say to me: 'Lower your eyes, look at the fields, and go and reap them'; my mission is still loftier. You tell me: 'Lift up your eyes and see.... See how in heaven there are places empty; it is for you to fill them...you are to be My Moses praying on the mountain; ask Me for laborers and I shall send them, I await only a prayer, a sigh from your heart!'

"Behold, O Lord, the mission You have entrusted to me, to contribute by prayer and sacrifice to the formation of evangelical workers who will save millions of souls whose mother I shall be" (cf. T.C.J. L, I 14).

The Wrath of God

I once heard a Scott Hahn recording, in which he speculated that the “wrath of God” is when God gives us what we ask (wrongly) for in prayer. In other words, God does us a favor when He does not give us what we ask for because we too often ask for what will not assist us on our way to heaven, but gives us what we need instead. To remove this, and give us what is objectively not good for us, certainly would seem to be a sign of wrath. Nice theory.

Then I find this in St. Alphonsus de Ligouri’s “Preparation for Death”

“The physician,” says St. Augustine, “knows better than the patient what is useful to him”(1). The holy doctor adds, that God refuses to some through mercy, what he gives to others through wrath.(2) Hence we should ask temporal blessings only on condition that they will be profitable to the soul. But spiritual graces, such as pardon of sins, perseverance, divine love, and the like, should be asked absolutely, and with a firm confidence of obtaining them.

1. Ap. S. Prosp. Sent. 212
2. Serm. 354.

Monday, September 29, 2008

End of ze world

Product of liberal education? I don't know; it's humorous but beware, language alert (not for delicate ears).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What does God want me to do?

Often much hand-wringing goes on over the above question. I read something yesterday and now can't find it, so apologies if I've picked this up off your blog, forum, or website (let me know and I'll provide the attribution). anyway...

The thought I read seemed pretty insightful; the greater the authority possessed, the quieter the voice. A Drill Sergeant yells at the trainees at the top of his voice, while the colonel speaks to his staff in a clear voice; God, who has ultimate authority, whispers; the more authority possessed, the less the need to speak loudly.

The president has never called us up and asked us to do something, yet ... we expect God to? God's orders are clear, He never shouts, although, rarely, He calls. For all the noise, do we hear?

The burden of the "glorious freedom of the children of God" [Rm 8:21] is less asking the question "what does God want me to do?" than asking ourself "what can I do for God?"

You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God. [Micah 6:8]

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Catholic Vote 2008

Excellent video at CatholicVote.com

This video ends with "Vote you conscience" - and to understand what that means, Fr. Phillip Neri Powell O.P. has written a Dick and Jane explanation for us; PAY ATTENTION!

ON Conscience (and Pecan Pies)

On Conscience

During a presidential election year there is perhaps no concept invoked more or less understood among Catholics than “conscience.”

Rather than bore you with long quotes from the Catechism, theologians, Thomas Aquinas, etc., I will show you a rather simple distinction that captures what I would argue is the most important difference between conscience as it is generally understood among post-Vatican Two Catholics and the way in which the Church’s magisterial tradition has authentically defined it.

Since I am a Dominican, we will use pecan pie as our example.

What is the fundamental difference between these two statements?:

1). While visiting my mom and dad in Mississippi, I made a pecan pie in the kitchen.


2). While visiting my mom and dad in Mississippi, I discovered a pecan pie in the kitchen.

(HINT: the difference is highlighted in red)

What is the commonly understood difference between making something and discovering something? Let’s tease it out:

a. Something I make does not exist until I make it. Something I discover does exist before I discover it.

b. My primary relationship with something I make is Maker/Made. My primary relationship with something I discover is Discoverer/Discovered.

c. A Maker is necessary for the Made to exist, i.e. no Maker, no Made thing. A Discoverer is necessary for the Discovered to be discovered but not for the Discovered thing to exist, i.e. that which is discovered exists whether the Discoverer discovers it or not.

d. Given C above, the Maker can make the Made thing anyway he/she chooses. The discoverer simply finds that which already exists undiscovered.

There are a few more differences, but these will do.

Now, replace the Made Pecan Pie with conscience as it is generally understood. And replace the Discovered Pecan Pie with conscience as the Church teaches it.

Some would have us believe that conscience is that human faculty that makes a true moral judgment from the available ingredients.

However, the Church teaches that conscience never makes truth from the available ingredients but rather discovers an already existing truth and assents to it.

Do we really need to tease out the differences between an invented truth and a discovered truth?

Conscience, then, in the sense authentically taught by the Church for all Catholics to believe, is our God-given ability to seek out, discover, and assent to an already existing truth. The magisterial right and duty of the Church is to seek out, discover, assent to, and map already existing truths. In other words, as a body we have already found a great number of moral truths that are in no way subject to the “inventing mind and hands” of the believer. These truths exist whether we seek them out or not; whether we discover them or not; and whether we assent to them or not.

So, when a Catholic reports that he or she must dissent from an idea or practice that the Church has already sought out, discovered, etc. and does so using the familiar formula, “In good conscience, I must dissent from X,” you can be assured that he or she has misunderstood the Church’s teaching on conscience and, by speaking so, has given public testimony to a poorly formed conscience.

It is safe to report that the Church has sought out, discovered, etc. at least five Pecan Pies opposition to which must form the good conscience of every Catholic.

1. Abortion (direct killing of innocent life is always evil)
2. Euthanasia (ditto)
3. Embryonic Stem Cell Research (ditto)
4. Human Cloning (denies God's providence, ultimate hubris)
5. Same-sex “Marriage” (denies God's providence)

Please keep in mind here that I am simply offering one important distinction between two notions of conscience, one false and one true. There are many other distinctions to be made and many other shady areas to brighten.

hat tip to Roger who passed along the CatholicVote.com link

Monday, September 22, 2008

New crucifix

Here's a picture of the new crucifix at Our Lady of the Valley in Caldwell. Click image for full size view.

O eternal Father!
Could it be that Your Son failed to do someting to please you?
Has He not fulfilled everything?
Alas Lord, who has dared to make this petition in the name of all? When this sovereign Judge sees how bold I am, it may well move Him to anger, as would be right and just. But behold, Lord, You are a God of mercy; have mercy upon this poor sinner, this meserable worm who is so bold with You. Behold my desires, myGod, and the tears with which I beg this of You; forget my sins, for Your name's sake, and have pity on all these souls who are being lost, and help Your Church"

(Theresa of Jesus, Way I-3, quoted in Divine Intimacy, #317, Zeal for Souls)

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Bromide of NARAL.

As a form of dark advocacy, The National Abortion Rights Action League [NARAL] has come up with a twisted slogan to attack one slate of the candidates for President of the United States as follows:

"McCain-Palin: 15th Century Solutions for the 21st Century!"

Nancy Keenan [utterly no relation whatsoever], the el presidente of NARAL, then declares almost humorously,

"John McCain and Sarah Palin are serious about overturning Roe v. Wade -- and I need you to help us spread the word. At the Saddleback Forum a few weeks ago, McCain said: 'I will be a pro-life president and this presidency will have pro-life policies.' Believe me, he has the voting history to prove it. And Palin has expressed support for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion, opposes abortion in cases of rape or incest, and described herself as 'pro-life as any candidate can be.'"
Wow, such a objection, to be called pro-life. Yet, the Lord encourages us to choose life:
I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both you and your seed may live. Deuteronomy 30:19.

As for my household, we choose life and little more 15th Century if it would end the killing of children in the womb.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Nancy Keenan, el presidente of NARAL, and her organization chose death.

Exorcism transcript

Remember the movie? Remember that it was based on the exorcism and death of Analise Michelle (in Germany). But did you know that the tape is online? Since it is lengthy, and contains language which doesn't belong here, I created a separate page with an English translation done some time ago at Steve Ray's Defenders of the Catholic Faith message board. For the stout-hearted... click here

Every once and a while this comes up; I confess I don't remember who I sometime ago promised to send this to, so at least now if it comes up, I have a copy, thanks to an Indonesian source at EkaristiDotOrg by way of Steve's message board.

Sandro Magister hits another one

A very insightful analysis at Chiesa Online:

On the Catholics "missing from politics"
by Pietro De Marco

Thursday, September 18, 2008

From 1984...

John Lithgow in that delightful parody, Buckaroo Banzai:

which produced such deeply memorable lines as:

and "No matter where you go, there you are."

Dominican History blog

Just found a wonderful site: Dominican History

Vigilant enim et latrant boni canes et pro Domo et pro Domino, et pro grege et pro pastore.

Good watch-dogs keep guard and give tongue for the house and the master, for the flock and the shepherd. St Augustine

Hat tip to Tom at Disputations for the link to this!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Exaltation of the Holy Cross & the Holy Father on music

Whereas Sunday is the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, today (being the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary) the new crucifix will be dedicated at Our Lady of the Valley in Caldwell at 7PM.

The Holy Father has kindly given a presentation today where he speaks of the role of music; I do believe that for today, Frs Flores and Ramirez are on the same page, with "Adoremus te christi", "Ave verum corpus", and "Lift high the cross" on the program. seems to me Ps. (21)22 is in there too.

Anyway, here's an extract of the Holy Father's presentation; hope you'll read the rest of it too.

"To seek God and to let oneself be found by Him"
In Paris, at the Collège des Bernardins, September 12, 2008, by Benedict XVI

For Benedict, the words of the Psalm: "coram angelis psallam Tibi, Domine" – in the presence of the angels, I will sing your praise (cf. 138:1) – are the decisive rule governing the prayer and chant of the monks. What this expresses is the awareness that in communal prayer one is singing in the presence of the entire heavenly court, and is thereby measured according to the very highest standards: that one is praying and singing in such a way as to harmonize with the music of the noble spirits who were considered the originators of the harmony of the cosmos, the music of the spheres. From this perspective one can understand the seriousness of a remark by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who used an expression from the Platonic tradition handed down by Augustine, to pass judgement on the poor singing of monks, which for him was evidently very far from being a mishap of only minor importance. He describes the confusion resulting from a poorly executed chant as a falling into the “zone of dissimilarity” – the regio dissimilitudinis. Augustine had borrowed this phrase from Platonic philosophy, in order to designate his condition prior to conversion (cf. Confessions, VII, 10.16): man, who is created in God’s likeness, falls in his godforsakenness into the “zone of dissimilarity” – into a remoteness from God, in which he no longer reflects him, and so has become dissimilar not only to God, but to himself, to what being human truly is. Bernard is certainly putting it strongly when he uses this phrase, which indicates man’s falling away from himself, to describe bad singing by monks. But it shows how seriously he viewed the matter. It shows that the culture of singing is also the culture of being, and that the monks have to pray and sing in a manner commensurate with the grandeur of the word handed down to them, with its claim on true beauty. This intrinsic requirement of speaking with God and singing of him with words he himself has given, is what gave rise to the great tradition of Western music. It was not a form of private “creativity”, in which the individual leaves a memorial to himself and makes self-representation his essential criterion. Rather it is about vigilantly recognizing with the “ears of the heart” the inner laws of the music of creation, the archetypes of music that the Creator built into his world and into men, and thus discovering music that is worthy of God, and at the same time truly worthy of man, music whose worthiness resounds in purity.
Speaking of Western Monasticism, the Holy Father also had this to say:

First and foremost, it must be frankly admitted straight away that it was not their intention to create a culture nor even to preserve a culture from the past. Their motivation was much more basic. Their goal was: "quaerere Deum". Amid the confusion of the times, in which nothing seemed permanent, they wanted to do the essential – to make an effort to find what was perennially valid and lasting, life itself. They were searching for God. They wanted to go from the inessential to the essential, to the only truly important and reliable thing there is. It is sometimes said that they were “eschatologically” oriented. But this is not to be understood in a temporal sense, as if they were looking ahead to the end of the world or to their own death, but in an existential sense: they were seeking the definitive behind the provisional. "Quaerere Deum": because they were Christians, this was not an expedition into a trackless wilderness, a search leading them into total darkness. God himself had provided signposts, indeed he had marked out a path which was theirs to find and to follow. This path was his word, which had been disclosed to men in the books of the sacred Scriptures. Thus, by inner necessity, the search for God demands a culture of the word or – as Jean Leclercq put it: eschatology and grammar are intimately connected with one another in Western monasticism (cf. "L’amour des lettres et le désir de Dieu"). The longing for God, the désir de Dieu, includes amour des lettres, love of the word, exploration of all its dimensions.
(italics & bold not in original)

hat tip to Sandro Magister at Chiesa Online

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ode to Sarah

Ode To Sarah, by Jay Boyd

Ode to Sarah

The candidate for whom we were prayin'
Has arrived and appears to be stayin'.
Pro-life she preaches
And lives what she teaches.
Her name is Sarah Palin.

Her opponents say Sarah's too green,
But her actions can clearly be seen.
She sent the big jet away
Via e-Bay,
And made government spending go lean.

Sarah tells us that she's a "goil"
Who knows about Alaskan oil.
She's more than willing
To do more drilling
To keep gas on American soil.

Her daughter is pregnant today,
But the girl isn't married, they say.
Abstinence defied?
No - just not tried.
Palin's values are still here to stay.

"But…the WAR!" the liberals cry.
"We don't want more soldiers to die!"
Her eldest son Track
Is assigned to Iraq;
Palin says we should still fight, and why

Sarah Palin puts down Obama
With the sweetness of somebody's mama.
She's after the leftists
As well as the terrorists:
You'd better watch out, Osama!

Dr. Jay Boyd is a convert to the Catholic faith, a Psychologist residing in Baker City, Oregon, and a frequent contributor to Homelitic and Pastoral Review who also enjoys writing limericks

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Church's Call to Peace & Justice

Does the concept of "social justice" require that government be the solution for every social problem? Probably not. Yet, many people who openly advocate what is called, "social justice," believe that government provides the best solutions to problems. In the end, do we trust each person, family, community, and nation to solve their own problems? Most problems seem overwhelming and too often these same folks look for global solutions. Go to the hotlink, and look at the article entitled: "Peace and Justice: Look to Freedom for Solutions."

Monday, September 08, 2008

back from travels

back home after several days of travel to Oregon and extremely brief family visits; what, 1200 miles in 4 days? Santiam Pass was lovely...

... and the beach at Coos Bay was cold and windy, but there is still sand in my shoes and a sand-dollar in my pocket.

Sea food on the coast? I'm staying home, and sticking to Winco & my BBQ!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The seminal document for the “hermeneutic of rupture” for the Dominican Third Order (oh, excuse me, Dominican Laity) is The Dominican Third Order: Old and New Style - Schillebeeckx E, OP. In this the author explicitly sets out the blueprint for destroying the old and replacing it with the new. This has been the marching orders for the “sing a new church” crowd for many years.

When pointing out to the Schillebeeckx sycophants, that they are following the advice of someone who had gone off the rails sufficiently to earn the rebuke of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the faith, they typically respond that this is the finest Dominican tradition, pointing to the Angelic doctor as someone who caught the ire of his contemporaries, who accused him of treading at or across the line of orthodoxy. By extension, then, they exonerate themselves, styling themselves as the beacons of an expanded orthodoxy, rather than narrow minded souls clinging to the past and afraid of anything new.

The point must be called; are they really what they are claiming so shamelessly?

But I say: the angelic doctor never rejected any of the received doctrine of his time, he looked for ways to go deeper in understanding it. He was never censured for denial of the truths of our faith. On the contrary, the so called lights of our age, be they Teilhard de Chardin, Carl Rahner, Ed. Schillenbugger, or Matthew Fox, all have abandoned the received deposit of faith in one dogma or another, and sought to replace it with something anathama to that faith. I suspect that this is why their disciples are quick to criticize the church, and equally quick to provide apologetics to the hesiarchs of the protestant deformation. Follow the blind man, fall into the pit; I read that in a good book.

I bring this up because it is the charism of St. Dominic which brings one to want to be a Dominican. The Schillebeeckan 'vision' (or hot flash?) is what? conformity to the world? which offers... what?

I'm off to Oregon for a few days for my niece's wedding on Sunday.