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.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Reflection by Fr. Giles Dimock, OP, STD

An interesting thought:

Through time, I have come to see clearly the urgent need for women religious in the world. While some groups of sisters were embracing a secular view of religious life and loosing their numbers, I never realized that a corresponding drop in priestly vocations would also be coming. Since those days, I have come to realize that John Paul II's teaching on the complimentarity between men and women holds also in the suprenatural realm; numbers of vocations among men tot he priesthood are proportionate to those women religious who support them in prayer and friendship

Taken from "Community Prepares to Celebrate a Decade of Blessings, 1997-2007,
A reflection by one who was there...
Fr. Giles Dimock, OP, STD,
Adjunct Professor of Theology,
Franciscan University of Steubenville

"Mater Eucharistiae" Vol. 10 Issue 2, Dec 2006
A publication of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Humble Beginnings; 800th Anniversary Celebration

On December 17, 1206, Notre Dame de Prouille opened its doors to the first vocations. On December 22, 1216, pope Honorious III established the Order of Friar Preachers (Dominicans). To celebrate these events, Bro. Carlos A. Azpiroz Costa OP, Master of the Order, has announced a Jubilee and a “Novena of Years” to celebrate these events. Addressing the Order from Prouille, the Master General said:

May all of us, the sons and daughters of Saint Dominic, prepare ourselves [to return to our foundation] joyfully; let us there drink of the fresh simplicity of the "love we had at first", feeling ourselves at the feet of Jesus, that we may be with Him and listen to Him. Let us live this time with intensity and grace, sharing with our contemplative communities the joy of their consecration, the fruitfulness of their silence, the beauty of their liturgy, their special love for the Word.

The Dominican Laity of Idaho extends a warm welcome to all, to join us on Dec 17, 2006, at our regular chapter meeting at St. John’s Cathedral (parish office building) to celebrate with us these providential events. Further information may be obtained by calling Bonnie Fitzpatrick (442-7139) or at

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lacordaire on St. Dominic meeting St. Francis

Yet these two men, whose destinies were so harmonious in the sight of heaven and earth, were strangers to one another, and although both were in Rome during the fourth Lateran Council, it does not appear that they ever heard of each other. One night when Dominic was praying, he beheld Jesus Christ filled with wrath against the world, and His blessed Mother presenting to Him two men, in order to appease Him. He recognized himself as one, but did not know the other, whom he regarded so attentively that the face was ever present to him. On the morrow, in a church, we know not which, he beheld, in the dress of a mendicant, the face seen by him the preceding night, and running to the poor man, embraced him with holy effusion, uttering these words, “You are my companion; you will walk with me; let us keep together and none shall prevail against us.” He then related his vision, and thus were their hearts blended in one.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Either Peace or Life – Benedict XVI Debunks a False Dilemma

From www.chiesa

Speaking to the Swiss bishops, the pope replies to the main objection directed against the Church’s hierarchy by the progressive Catholics. And to the German bishops, he says...

by Sandro Magister

full story here:

Friday, November 10, 2006

Life of Saint Dominic, by Henri Lacordaire

I've begun the task of transcribing this wonderfully written book. Here is Lacordaire's recounting of the famous night in the inn, which resulted in the resolve to found Order of Friar Preachers.

St. Dominic arrives in France

At that time, Alphonso III., king of Castile, was meditating a marriage between his son and a Danish princess, and entrusted the negotiation of the affair to the Bishop of Osma, who, taking with him Dominic, set out for the North of Germany towards the close of the year 1203. In passing through Languedoc, both were deeply grieved at beholding the alarming success of the Albigenses. On reaching Toulouse, where they had to pass the night, Dominic perceived that their host was a heretic; and although time pressed, he was anxious to be of service to the poor deluded man under whose roof they then were. Jesus Christ has said to His Apostles, When you come into a house, salute it, saying, Peace be to this house. And if that house be worthy, your peace shall come upon it; but if it be not worthy, your peace shall return to you.[Mt. 10:12-13] The Saints, to whose minds all the words of Jesus Christ are ever present, and who know the power of a benediction given even in secret, regard themselves as God’s ambassadors to every creature whom they meet, and strive to part from none until they have implanted in his heart some germ of grace. Dominic did not rest content with merely praying for his host, but passed the night in converse with him; and the ready eloquence of the stranger made so deep an impression on the heretic, that he returned to the faith before the dawn of day. Then another wonder occurred; touched by the conquest he had just effected in the cause of truth, and also by the sad spectacle of he ravages made by false doctrine, Dominic then first conceived the idea of founding an Order in defense of the Church, the mission of which should consist in preaching. This sudden resolve took lasting possession of his mind; and now that the secret of his future career was revealed to him, he quitted France, as if that land, jealous that this great man owed her not his birth, had nevertheless obtained from God this favor, that he should not tread her soil in vain, and that to her he should be indebted for the decisive counsel of his life.

It is good to remember the purpose to which the Order was founded, a purpose as necessary today as in 1203.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Next Chapter Meeting

Will be on Sunday, November 19, 2006

For meeting syllabus, click here

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Burnett on the real presence

I'm about half way through Burnett's treatment of the Protestant objections to Transubstantiation. Starting with John 6, he makes the following observations:

1. If Jesus did not mean literally to eat his flesh and drink his blood, what is the metaphorical meaning which the Jews of his time would have understood? There are 4 occurances in the OT, and two in the NT. Metaphorically it is always ill will wished upon a person; Ill will to Jesus earns eternal life? The metaphorical meaning is out of the question.

2. When Jesus is missunderstood in other passages, He always corrects, or the apostolic author provides correction. No speaker delivering something important leaves His audience in error, otherwise he does an idle thing.

3. When the liseners understand and object, Jesus always repeats himself more emphatically (for example, Peter's response to the foot washing), as he does repeatedly here.

4. Jesus says those who object do so for their lack of faith. How can you be condemned for not believing something that is not what you are meant to believe?

5. The apostles clearly understood Jesus' words in a literal fashion, even if they did not comprehend. Since at this point they clearly understand it literally (you must eat my flesh and drink my blood), the protestant is constrained to show where scripture clearly says they changed their belief, otherwise he has no justification to offer a different understanding as the apostolic understanding. Search in vain...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Anniversary of entering a Catholic Church

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

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

May God's blessings be upon you.

Date: Thursday, October 26, 1995 3:16 pm
Subject: We do not know what is right to pray for

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

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

From a letter to Proba by Saint Augustine, bishop
(We do not know what is right to pray for)

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The crux of the matter

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

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

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

Burnett wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 16, 2006

Lettter to the Order from the Master General

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

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

Dear brothers and sisters:

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

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

Read the rest of the letter here

Monday, October 09, 2006


More pictures and a summary here

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

Click here for a meditation on Jesus' words.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Retreat schedule

Here is an approximation of the schedule for the retreat.

The text for the retreat is:

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

(copies of readings will be provided)

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

Friday October 6, 2006:

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

Saturday October 7, 2006

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

Sunday October 8, 2006

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

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Our prayers

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

May light perpetual shine upon them. AMEN.

Gift received

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

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Pithy thought

This perhaps summarizes Burnett's approach:

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

Friday, September 29, 2006

Upcoming retreat

You have heard it said...

But I say unto you...

More impressions from Burnett

Burnett expresses the need for a judicary as the court of last appeal, and that judiciary, in the civil arena, is by definition, infallible, as there is no recourse beyond it. Although it is admitted that the supreme judiciary can err, it is a judicial infallibility by the very fact that there is no further recourse after its decision is rendered.

Now this applies to the laws of this world, but what of the laws of God? There is a whole exploration of the fact that all civil law, in order to even be law, must be derived from the law of God (ie: the natural law). Thus, if a judiciary must be infallible in judging acts (the external forum) alone without regard to belief or assent (the internal forum), then the laws of God, which require both belief and assent as well as acts (internal and external forum), it is even more essential and necessary to have a judiciary posessing actual infallibility, empowered and capable to construe the Divine Law, as the consequences in this realm are of such a higher order than in the merely civil realm.

The thesis, which Burnett wishes us to consider, is: would God create a system inferior to the systems of merely human construction?

Let’s see if I can paraphrase Burnett and get his point across.

Suppose God, the Supreme Lawgiver, had created a system which did not include a judiciary as the final court of appeal, capable of construing the intent of His Law. Then, when appearing before the tribunal of the final Judge for the disposition of one’s life, to the charge of violation, the individual would answer, “How did I know I was supposed to do this, and not do that? Where was I supposed to find out?” To the retort, “from the plain words of scripture,” the defendant again could honestly answer, “Plain to you perhaps, because it was you who wrote it, but to me, an unlearned man who cannot even read the law in the language of promulgation, there is nothing plain at all about it. In fact, there are many learned men as well who claim it is plain, yet cannot come to agreement about the meaning of that which is supposed to be plain. So therefore I have done whatever I thought was right, since you left me without sure guidance.”

HPR Review of The True Church

Homiletic and Pastoral Review has placed their review of "THE TRUE CHURCH" online at

Burnett’s keen legal mind presents these New Testament truths with forceful logic. Brownson was right when he described The True Church as worth more than all the gold taken out of California.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Burnett's rules of scriptural interpretation

OK, finished transcribing them. Thanks due to Dominic Colvert, Solas Press, for permission!

Here are the rules

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A proper method of inquiry

I've received the publisher's permission to post the portions from Burnett's book, THE TRUE CHURCH (see post below), that establish the rules of biblical inquiry.

"The investigation of truth, the art of ascertaining that which is unknown from that which is known," says the profound and philosophic Starkie, "has occupied the attention and constituted the pleasure as well as the business of the reflecting part of mankind in every civilized age and country."

I've only started, but you can read the introduction and first rule here

Friday, September 22, 2006

Upcoming retreat

Blessed are the poor in spirit...


More from Burnett...

Did Jesus condemn "traditions of men?" Many protestants throw this charge at the Church, that it substitutes the "traditions of men" for the word of God. So, what gives here?

Jesus condemned specific traditions of men (Mt 15) that He said "make null the commandments of God." Herein lies the source of confusion, and my hat is off to Burnett for making this abundantly clear; may God grant me the grace to pass it along to you.

If I wish to destroy the tradition of the income tax, I must attack the income tax in general. If, however I attack the income tax exemption of the investment tax credit, I actually am attacking a particular, and thus affirming the general! If I argue thusly, I argue agains my own stated purpose. This is a immemorial standard of law familiar to legal minds, pity the rest of us.

Thus, when Jesus attacked specific traditions of men that make null the commandments of God, he affirms tradition of men in general.

Here's the kicker. If he were condemning all traditions, the pharisees and the rest of the Jewish community could have justly called Him a hypocrite, as he erected His own traditions and bound His followers to them (Mt 28:19-20).

The whole law

Synopsis of thought from Burnett's "The True Church"

Nowhere in the bible is it recorded that Jesus commanded a written code to be produced. On the contrary, he commissioned his apostles to transmit an oral tradition:

28:19. Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing
them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Ghost.

28:20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I
have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even
to the consummation of the world.

For one code to be replaced by another requires no less authority, than that of the Lawgiver. Thus it was proper for Jesus to suspend portions of the Old Law, and institute a new one (hence Mt. 28:20). That this new code was delivered orally and spread orally, prior to the writing of the books of the bible, no one will dispute. Hence the first Christians were bound by a law delivered by oral tradition, as St. Paul severally testifies.

Now if it was the lawgiver's intention to entirely replace the law as orally proclaimed and transmitted, with one that was entirely written, it must be done with the authority of the lawgiver Himself, and be promulgated clearly so that there will be no confusion. Yet this evidence is entirely lacking in the biblical and historical record; if one code is to replace another entirely, we must be informed of such by the Lawgiver.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Upcoming retreat

There will be a retreat on Saturday, October 7, at the Dominican Chapter House in Homedale, Idaho. It will run from 10AM to 4PM, and close with (newly ordained Fr.) Carlos Enrique Camargo Porras' first mass at Our Lady of the Valley, Caldwell.

The theme of this retreat will be meditation on the Beatitudes, which have been part of our study curriculum this last year. We will alternate between readings from Divine Intimacy, by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, O.C.D., with periods of reflection/meditation. The readings deal with the connection between the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the beatitudes.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will also be available during the retreat.

For a map and directions, click here

You have heard it said...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Food for thought: Law

Burnett states that the Law stands in relation to the Lawgiver, irrespective of the mode of promulgation. Now a lawyer is versed in this, but this comes as a new articulation of what we all have lived with, but most have never heard explicitly stated.

Because law must cover the general, and deal with the particular (ie: exceptions, extension, etc), a twofold system exists. Written law (statuatory) contains the general case, while the unwritten (as with common law) resides in the record of decision. All must be used together to arrive at a just extension in each new case of particular fact, each is delivered from the lawgiver.

The French, after the revolution, attempted to throw out accumulated body received decisions, and only have simple statutes. The folly of this, Burnett observes, is that within 20 years the French had an additional 50 volumns of law, and by 1828, over 100! As GKC says, when you throw out God, you don't get freedom; you don't even get anarchy. You get the little laws. One is inclined to observe that our propensity for regulation is an unfortunate following in these footsteps.

If you have trouble following what I've just written, then I highly recommend Burnett's book; he's far more articulate!

Jumping ahead of Burnett's thought, it seems clear to me that what he's on to is that God as Lawgiver, delivered not only statute law, but a record of decision; and there is a long record of it in Holy Scripture. We see this record of decision in the work of Judges, Prophets, our Lord, and the Apostles. Yet the protestant wishes to apply as statute the scriptures, without the authoritative application of the record of decision, a record existing unbroken to this day. In this he makes himself judge of the law.

The twofold system Burnett discusses makes more sense to me when I recall that the basis of law is the articulation of the natural law, and as such, it's particulars are constant; hence a statute, or what is received through common law, have one and the same source, of which the first cause is God Himself.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Book Recommend!

Received a new book last night, and from the little bit I've read so far, it is an amazing book!


It's a reprint from an 1860 account of the conversion of California's first governor. Examining the evidence, he came to the conclusion that the supreme lawgiver, in fulfilling the old covenant, had been reduced to below the level of a civil legislator by protestantism. Burnett has chapters on all the protestant controversies.

About The True Church
Peter H. Burnett’s The True Church is a model for ecumenical dialog. He was in turn an unbeliever, a Deist, a Disciple of Christ, and a Catholic. He thus does not assume any particular faith in his reader. Burnett adopts the practice of treating evidence like figures in the jurisprudential tradition such as William Blackstone, Thomas Starkie, and James Kent. On this rigorous basis he develops positions on the truth of Christianity and uniqueness of the Catholic Church. In the process, he meets the arguments of a group of notable believers and un-believers. As the occasion demands, he marshalls sources such as Hugo Grotius, David Hume and Samuel Johnson, as well as a vast array of Divines.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Benedict XVI on the Liturgy of the Hours

On Aug 31 the pope spoke to the priests of the dioces of Albano, where he made these comments on the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours (Breviary).


The interior life is essential to our service as priests [...] It is the mark of a pastor that he be a man of prayer, that he stand before the Lord praying for others, even taking the place of others who perhaps do not know how to pray, don’t want to pray, don’t find the time to pray. [...] The Church gives us, almost imposes upon us – but always as a good mother – free time for God, with the two practices that are part of our duties: celebrating Holy Mass and reciting the Breviary. But more than reciting, carrying this out as a listening to the word that the Lord offers us in the Liturgy of the Hours.

We must interiorize this word, be attentive to what the Lord is saying to us with this word, then listen to the comment from the Fathers of the Church or from the [Second Vatican] Council in the second reading of the Office of Readings, and pray with that great invocation that is the Psalms, through which we take our place within the prayer of all ages. The people of the Old Testament pray with us, and we pray with them. We pray with the Lord, who is the real subject of the Psalms. We pray with the Church of all ages. [...]

Today we had [in the Breviary] that marvelous commentary from Saint Columban on Christ as the spring of living water from which we drink. [...] The people are thirsty. And they try to respond to this with various amusements. But they know well that these amusements are not the living water that they need. The Lord is the spring of living water. [...] So let us seek to drink it in prayer, in the celebration of the Holy Mass, in reading: let us seek to drink from this spring, that it may become a fountain within us. And we will be able to respond better to the thirst of the people of today.

English language article on the pope's discussion is found at

As Dominican laity, we also live under a rule that includes the recitation of the Divine Office. May we unite our liturgical prayers with those of all priests, religious, and laity, that our interior lives will blossom for the conversion of our neighbors, to the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

Dominican tradition: the Salve Regina

When Fran Griffin visited in the fall of 2005, she made the observation that our chapter should learn to chant the Salve Regina, in the Dominican tradition, at the end of our chapter meetings. To this end she later sent a CD. There is now a web page (click here) with this version and one from the central province, as well as an image of the sheet music in Gregorian notation. Listen and gain familiarity, we will be learning this!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Another take on "private judgement"

An interesting discussion at the PONTIFICATIONS blog that also continues the subject I recently discussed regarding private judgement.

Sitting in the Ruins
by Alvin Kimel

The claim of the Catholic Church to be the Church offends. Her demand to surrender one’s private judgment to her infallible teaching authority scandalizes. Yet every sinner needs to make this surrender, this submission of mind and heart. Only by this surrender are we saved from our ideas of who God is, from our ideas of what Church is, from our ideas of what salvation is, from our ideas of what truth is. The Catholic Church saves us from our ideas and gives us the reality of God and his salvation.

In a very real sense, Protestantism cannot save humanity because Protestantism is private judgment. Please do not misunderstand. I am not suggesting that God is not present and active in powerful, saving ways in Protestant Christianity. I could not suggest that without denying my own salvation. I am not denying the millions of souls who have been saved through the witness of committed Protestant believers and preachers. I am not denying the liberating work and presence of the Holy Spirit in Protestant congregations. But the fact remains that no Protestant is ever asked to surrender his judgment to an infallible living authority. No Protestant is ever asked to believe in the Church. Even the most patristic Anglican retains the right to adjudicate between the competing testimonies of Scripture, tradition, and reason. Even the most devout fundamentalist retains the right to his private interpretation of Scripture.

New blog link!

Newly received member Anita Moore has a blog!

You'll want to bookmark V for Victory! and keep up to date on Anita's entries

Nice blog, Anita!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Love and suffering

From "Man, the Saint" by J. Urteaga Loidi (1959)

Love, and you will suffer much. I wish you - and you know how much I love you - pain and suffering. Love and suffering are two bright stars that will show you the way. On your left you will leave all the other loves that are petty or dirty; on your right you will leave despair. Prayer ant the Cross show you a new way, a solid foundation on which to base your life.

Do you still believe the lie of Satan?

Perhaps without knowing it, you do.

It is John Paul II's assertion (DOMINUM ET VIVIFICANTEM) that most Christians still believe the lie of Satan to Eve, not really knowing what the lie is; missing it entirely. It is not "you will be like God" for we are made in the image of the invisible God, it is not "you will not die" because they did die after eating. No it was...

"knowning good and evil" - in other words, having the last word, deciding for oneself, being the final arbiter who submits to no man. I connect this to the sola scripturist for such an individual interprets scripture based on his knowledge and the written word, but reserves the final judgement to himself, believing he has the divine assistance to do so, and the divine assurance that he is right. Suffice to say, the evidence is clear; as there can be only one truth, not many, then the evidence is against the claim of the sola scripturist, in the following analysis.

if a sola scripturist is guided by the Holy Spirit, by definition he will agree with all others who are guided by the Holy Spirit with respect to the meaning of scripture. If he does not on a particular item, then it means one of two things: that either one and/or the other holder of differing positions is in error, or disagreement is permissible because it is a non-essential. In both cases, he has admitted that he is not being guided by the Holy Spirit, who only guides to truth.

The criteria for identifying essentials would be agreement, the evidence for non-essentials would be disagreement. No sola-scripturist camp can be disregarded in this division, since all claim the same premise. In the final analysis, virtually every established belief of Christiandom falls here, because there is a camp somewhere which rejects each and every bit of the faith. Jesus' divinity falls, the Trinity falls, the virgin birth falls, the resurection falls, it all goes away. There is one item of agreement. No Catholic Church & no pope.

Since all disagreeing parties claim the exact same justification for being right, then the inescapable conclusion is that there is no way to know if you are actually being directly guided by the Holy Spirit in your individual understanding of scripture. The result is that protestantism based on sola-scriptura and it's derivations provides no sure path to salvation; litterally there is nothing that can be known with certainty with regard to what is necessary for our eternal salvation.

pretty sad. What kind of faith is summed up only by a negative assertion?

Satan always wraps a lie in a vernier of truth, because the soul of man is drawn to truth, a reality which God built into us.

To hunger and thirst for justice

from Divine Intimacy, an exellent reminder of what this means in the beatitudes:

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after justice Mt 5:6.

Hunger and thirst indicate imperious needs which cannot be suppressed, it is a question of life and death. As food and drink are absolutely essential to the life of the body, so justice is absolutely necessary for a life of virtue, and its duties are so compelling that no motive can exempt us from fulfilling them. If an act of charity for the neighbor should impose on us great inconvenience or cause us serious har, we would not be obliged to do it, but the same inconvenience or harm chould not excuse us from fulfilling a duty of justice.

It is thus appropriate to speak of hunger and thirst for justice, not in the sense of vindicating rights, but in the sense of cultivating in ourselves such a lively desire and imperious need for justice in all our relations with others, that we do not feel satisfied until we have completely fulfilled all the duties stemming from this virtue.

In other words, if you haven't noticed, the hungering for justice spoken of in the beatitude which makes one blessed is not the desire to see others act in justice, but the overwhelming desire to act with justice yourself.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

From today's gospel:

[Mt 23-26] Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God." When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

I've heard that "the eye of the needle" was a gate through which the camel had to be unloaded in order to pass, and that the hearers would have understood this. But if they understood it this way, why the astonishment, who then can be saved?

perhaps it is a double entendre, because he doesn't say, "the eye of the needle" (the gate in question) but "the eye of a needle" (a very small thing indeed!)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Permissable disagreement on non-essentials

The protestant doctrine of "permissable disagreement on non-essentials" is an admission that their interpretation of Holy Scripture, on these issues, is not guided by the Holy Spirit, but is personal. If the claim is made that the interpretation of non-essentials is of the Holy Spirit, then they are claiming that the Holy Spirit does not teach the truth, but is self-contradictory. Either the Holy Spirit teaches the truth, which is singular and non-contradictory, or their interpretation is personal and not of the Holy Spirit.

Rather a huge admission!

I will assume a protestant believes he is guided by the Holy Spirit in essentials, while admitteding he is not guided by the Holy Spirit in non-essentials. Because the Holy Spirit teaches only truth, it would follow that all who turn to the scriptures and are guided by the Holy Spirit in understanding them, must come to the same conclusion, otherwise it is their own opinion, rather than the meaning of the word of God.

Now, because protestant A's non-essential always seems to be protestant B's essential, we need to filter out and discover what all protestants believe in common, to see what they all agree to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. It will not do to exclude groups who disagree on their own "essential" because the others are also following the same rule of faith. Therefore, to me, the outsider, all claims have equal validity.

The only doctrinal issue of faith that I observe that seems to be universally held by all protestants, is the rejection of the authority of the Pope and the Catholic Church. Thus, since all protestants agree on this, it would follow that this is the only essential article of faith for protestant Christianity (what is remarkable about this is it is a denial of an article of faith, a negation, rather than an affirmation of anything!).

Yet, by the same rule of faith, to be fair to the outsider looking in, we have to set against this the members of the Catholic Church who do accept this authority. Thus, it logically follows that either this is also a non-essential, and therefore there are no essentials, or it is an essential.

If it is an essential, here are the two choices in how we decide which answer is true.

A. God has given us an authority that can answer infallibly all questions pertaining to what is necessary for our salvation in His Name, or
B. God has left us on or own, with nothing that can be known with certainty of what is necessary for our salvation.

I think the choice is clear!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Happy feast day of St. Dominic!

In honor of Holy Preaching, here is a delightful article by a Catholic layman.

How Do Catholics Hear the Gospel? (Gary Michuta)

I was a Catholic once, said the lady a few yards from me in the parking lot. Now I'm a Christian and you can be one as well. She proceeded to hand a tract to a gentleman standing next to the opened trunk of his car. I couldn't help it.

Excuse me, I said to the lady but could I, too have a tract? The lady's face beamed. Are you saved?, she asked. Of course I am; I'm a believing Catholic, I retorted. She looked at me as if I had bad breath or something.

She continued: I was just telling this gentleman that I too was a Catholic - a Catholic for thirty-some years in fact. Now I've found Christ and I'm trying to tell everyone I know about salvation through Christ.

Wow, that's really something! May I ask why you left the Church? I could tell that, by asking this question, my new acquaintance was getting excited. After all, she had probably been snubbed by dozens of people and now she has someone that she can "witness" to Christ. I didn't mind much either, but I tried not to show it.

You see, she said, I was born Catholic. I attended Mass every week, received the Sacraments and graduated from a Catholic school. Not once did I ever hear the gospel proclaimed. Not once! It was after the birth of my first child that a good friend of mine shared the gospel with me and I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior and became a Christian. Now I belong to a Bible-believing church and I'm sharing the gospel with whomever will listen.

This shocked me. You mean you belonged to the Catholic Church for over forty years and you never heard the gospel?, I said. She was getting more excited. Yes, I never once heard the gospel of salvation preached or taught or even mentioned in the Church. If you don't preach the gospel, excuse my bluntness, but you're simply not Christian. I scratched my head and said, that's strange. I've been a Catholic all my life and I bet I hear the gospel ever week at Church. Her smile quickly faded into a look of curiosity. Maybe, I'm missing something, I continued. Tell me what you mean by the gospel?

The lady reached back into her purse to pull out a little tract and said, This tracts explains the simple gospel of salvation. It can be broken down into four easy steps.

First, we acknowledge that we are all sinners in need of God's forgiveness.

Secondly, we recognize that only God can save us.

The third step is that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins and to bring us to God.

And the fourth and final step is that each individual accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior to be saved.

I thought for a couple of seconds and said, If I could demonstrate to you that Catholics hear the gospel every Sunday, would you agree to take a closer look at the Catholic Church? Now, she knew she had me over a barrel. Prove it, she said. I excused myself for a second and ran to my car to grab a Missal.

(follow the link to read the rest!)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Burial Crypt of the Pasteur Institute, Paris

This is from the Notre Dame student blog
Shrine of the Holy Whapping

A common bit of modern hagiographic folkore, the exact circumstances of which I have been unable to trace, reports that on one day about a hundred years ago, a young brash scientist on his way to a conference shared a train compartment with a quiet old man who looked to be an example of that type once so common in France, that of the wealthy peasant. He noticed the old gentleman was telling the beads of a rosary, and proceeded to hector him, asking him why he bothered with such outdated things in an age of scientific progress.

The old man asked, "What is this science? Perhaps you can explain it to me." He was clearly moved, and had tears in his eyes. The young student, slightly embarassed by the reaction he'd brought about, said he would send him some pamphlets to explain the subject to him, if he'd just give him his address. The old man's stop had come up, and he was about to step out. The old man rummaged around in his coat and pulled out a business card, and just as he left the compartment, the young man realized it read, "Louis Pasteur, Director of the Institute of Scientific Research, Paris."

Whether or not this story is true--and it certainly could be, given Louis Pasteur's very genuine faith--it's a matter of historic record that the great man died with a rosary in his hand, after having had the life of St. Vincent de Paul read aloud to him. The saint was one of his heroes, and an inspiration for his own scientific work, that it might benefit the lives of children as the saint's own charity had.

read the rest at the blog site!