Friday, March 30, 2007


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



1. We find in Simeon’s prophecy the first explicit announcement of the part the Blessed Virgin was to have in the Passion of Jesus: “Thy own soul a sword shall pierce” (Lk 2:35). This prophecy was fulfilled on Calvary. “Yes, O Blessed Mother,” says St. Bernard, “a sword has truly pierced your soul. It could penetrate Your son’s flesh only by passing through your soul. And after Jesus had died, the cruel lance which opened His side did not reach His soul, but it did pierce yours. His soul was no longer in His body, but yours could not be detached from it.” This beautiful interpretation shows us how Mary, as a Mother, was intimately associated with her Son’s Passion.

The gospel does not tell us that Mary was present during the glorious moments of the life of Jesus, but it does say that she was present on Calvary. “Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother, and His Mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen” (Jn 19:25). No one had been able to keep her from hastening to the place where her Son was to be crucified, and her love gave her courage to stand there, erect, near the Cross, to be present at the sorrowful agony and death of the One whom she loved above all, because He was both her Son and her God. Just as she had once consented to become His Mother, so she would now agree to see Him tortured from head to foot, and to be torn away from her by a cruel death.

She not only accepted, she offered. Jesus had willingly gone to His Passion, and Mary would willingly offer her well-beloved Son for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity and the salvation of men. That is why the sacrifice of Jesus became Mary’s sacrifice, not only because Mary offered it together with Jesus, and in Him, offered her own Son; but because, by this offering, she completed the most profound holocaust of herself, since Jesus was the center of her affections and of her whole life. God, who had given her this divine Son, asked, on Calvary, for a return of His gift, and Mary offered Jesus to the Father with all the love of her heart, in complete adherence to the divine will.

2. The liturgy puts on the lips of Our Lady of Sorrows these touching words: “O you who pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow” (RM). Yes, her grief was immeasurable, and was surpassed only by her love, a love so great that it could encompass that vast sea of sorrow. It can be said of Mary, as of no other creature, that her love was stronger than death; in face, it made her able to support the cruel death of Jesus.

“Who could be unfeeling in contemplating the Mother of Christ suffering with her Son?” chants the Stabat Mater; and immediately it adds, “O Mother … make me feel the depth of your sorrow, so that I may weep with you. May I bear in my heart the wounds of Christ; make me share in His Passion and become inebriated by the Cross and Blood of your Son.” In response to the Church’s invitation, let us contemplate Mary’s sorrows, sympathize with her, and ask her for the invaluable grace of sharing with her in the Passion of Jesus. Let us remember that this participation is not to be merely sentimental- even though this sentiment is good and holy- but it must lead us to real compassion, that is, to suffering with Jesus and Mary. The sufferings God sends us have no other purpose.

The sight of Mary at the foot of the Cross makes the lesson of the Cross less hard and less bitter; her maternal example encourages us to suffer and makes the road to Calvary easier. Let us go, then, with Mary, to join Jesus on Golgotha; let us go with her to meet our cross; and sustained by her, let us embrace it willingly, uniting it with her Son’s.
This meditation strikes to the heart; for it so eloquently articulates the sorrow in the offering Gwen made; to accept St. Paul's admonition that "in my flesh I fill up what is lacking in the suffering of Christ;" and to make it also my offering, as Mary did, to suffering with. We could not have done it without the example of our Lord and Mary, the Blessed and dear Mother He gave us when we became part of His family. O Lord, O Mary, a world gone mad shakes their fist at you and decries that you would allow suffering! O mad world, what could be more mad than to suffer without embracing our Lord and His Mother???

Passiontide with Lacordaire

Another fine post of Lacordare at RORATE CÆLI

Passiontide with Lacordaire:
Jesus Christ, pursued by undying hatred,
sovereign Lord of hearts and minds

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Help with music: "Faithful Cross"

The schola at Sacred Heart parish is trying to learn the "Faithful Cross" portion of the Pange Lingua in English set to a score from a Polish song book! It works ok, but there are a couple spots we're not in agreement on how to handle. I found a Czech version on Choral Wiki, which is this (click for larger version):

I scanned the pdf and tried to jam the English into it, but am having a bit of a problem. you will note that in the Czech version, each line ends with a single syllable on two notes, which seems the natural thing to do with the English translation... except when I try and fit it in, verse 4 just doesn't seem right in two places:

"to the immortal deity"
"to Trinity in Unity"

(click for larger version)

Anita (V-For Victory), our most experienced chorister, suggested singing "immor" as a single note, squishing it together, which allows two notes in the final syllable, but then to some, it sounds like "to the mortal deity" and the choir split over it.

We had hoped to do this for 40hrs devotion starting tomorrow morning, but at this point I think it's been scaled it back to doing v1 in English and repeating in Latin and leaving it at that. Anyone familiar with this music, If there is an English version of this floating around cyberspace I missed, or if you just want to take a shot at this, your assistance is welcome!

BTW, I find this setting really beautiful, it has an appealing simplicity and repitition to it, much like singing the plain chant version of Adoro Te Devote.

God bless,

Lacordaire, Conferences

The following is continued from Lacordaire's
"God: Conferences delivered at Notre Dame in Paris"

(series begins here)



If nature existed of itself, it would moreover possess the character of absolute liberty, or sovereignty; for, what can a being be said to depend upon which has no cause? But do we find this in the operations that manifest the life of nature to us? The universe is a serf; it revolves in a circle wherein nothing spontaneous appears; the stone remains where our hand places it, and the planet describes an orbit where we always find it. Those worlds, so prodigious by their mass and motion, have never revealed to the observer anything but a silent and blind mechanism, a slavish force, a helpless powerlessness to deviate from their law. And man himself – man in whom alone upon earth appears that liberty whose traces we vainly seek for in all the rest – is he a sovereign? Is he born at his own time? Does he die when it pleases him? Can he free himself from that which limits and embitters his existence? Like nature, of which he forms a part, he has his greatness, but it is a greatness which so much the more betrays his infirmity. He is like those kings who followed their victor to the Capitol, and whose abasement was but increased by the remnants of their majesty. The spectacle of the universe then awakens two sentiments, namely, wonder and pity. And these, strengthened by one another, together lead us to see the emptiness of nature, and to seek its author. Such is the language of worlds, their eternal eloquence, the cry of their conscience, if we may give such a name to the force that constrains them to speak for a greater than they, and to repeat to all the echoes of time and space the hymn of the creature to the Creator: NON NOBIS, DOMINE, NON NOBIS, SED NOMINI TUO GLORIAMNot unto us, Lord, not unto us, but to thy name be the glory! Yes, sacred worlds that roll above us, brilliant and joyous stars that pursue your course under the hand of the Most High, happy islands whose shores are traced out in the ocean of heaven, yes, you have never lied to man!

It matters little whether pantheism does or does not endeavor to pervert the meaning of the spectacle of nature. It is of importance for us to know, however, that man, taken in general, the man of mankind, sees at a glance that the universe does not exist of itself. Metaphysics will never destroy that deep impression made upon mankind by the spectacle of things which forms the scene upon which we live. A child perceives the incapacity of the heavens and the earth; he sees, he feels, he touches it; he will always return to it as to an invincible sentiment forming a part of his being. In vain will you tell him that he is God, it is enough for him to have had but a fever to know that you are laughing at him.

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
God: Conferences - Notre-Dame in Paris (1871)

next reading here

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lacordaire, Conferences

The following is continued from Lacordaire's
"God: Conferences delivered at Notre Dame in Paris"

(series begins here)



Need I avow it? – Since I have been charged with the work of preaching the divine word, this is the fist time that I have approached this question of the existence of God – if indeed it can be called a question! Hitherto I have disdained it as unnecessary. I have thought it needless to prove to a son the existence of his father, and that he who did not know him was unworthy of such knowledge. But the course of ideas constrains me to touch upon this subject. Nevertheless, in making this concession to logical order, I could not allow you to think that I purposed to satisfy a want of your hearts, or of the people and the age in which we life. God be thanked, we believe in him, and were I to doubt of your faith in him, you would rise and cast me out from amongst you; the doors of this cathedral would open before me of themselves, and the people would need but a look in order to confound me. That same people who in the intoxication of victory, after having overthrown many generations of kings, bore off in their submissive hands, and as the associate of their triumph, the image of the Son of God made man. (Applause.)

Gentlemen, let us not applaud the word of God; let us love it, believe in it, practice it; this is the only applause that mounts to heaven and is worthy of it.

I might here close this discourse since you happily show me that it is needless. Allow me, however, before doing so, to seek why the idea of God is popular, and whether that popularity is but a vain illusion of mankind.

We have said that we possess four means of verifying doctrines; namely: nature, intelligence, conscience, and society. If the idea of God be legitimate, it should derive strength from these four sources of light, whilst pantheism should necessarily find its condemnation in them.

Nature is a grand spectacle which easily exhausts our vision and our imagination; but does it bear the stamp of a being without cause, of a being existing of itself? Can nature say like God, through Moses: EGO SUM QUI SUMI am who am? Infinity is the first mark of the being without cause; does nature bear this sign? Let us examine it. All that we see there is limited, all is form and movement, form determined, movement calculated; all falls under the straightened empire of measure, even the distances which remain unknown to our instruments, but are by no means unknown to our conceptions. We feel the limit even where our eye does not perceive it; it is enough for us to seize it at one point, to determine it everywhere. The infinite is indivisible, and were but one single atom of the universe submitted to our feeble hands, we should know that nature is finite, and that its immensity is but the splendid veil of its poverty.

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
God: Conferences - Notre-Dame in Paris (1871)

next reading here

Reverence at Mass

This appeal was written by Phil Ferguson, O.P.L., in 2003
After a quiet weekend, and a noisy day at work today, it seemed like a good one to post today!

Reverence at Mass

Scene: Patton enters field hospital somewhere in Europe during WW II. He is observed going from one injured GI to another. He turns and sees one man. His body is so wrapped – but not in swaddling clothes. Silence envelopes the scene.

While Patton approaches the battered man, he reverently removes his shinny helmet. Patton, a five star general, salutes a non-com. Jesus, the Son of God, salutes each of us – as each of us should bow to He Who Is. Each - an act of profound humility. Patton kneels at the side of this young man. He is struck with awe by the selfless sacrifice. Patton prays. No motion – Heaven and earth are suspended. In a few moments, Patton leans over to the young shattered GI and whispers something to him. We know not what. It matters little. The scene speaks volumes!

Reverence – Patton shows to the man. Reverence – what each one of us at Mass ought to demonstrate to Christ; profound and deeply sensed courtesy, a bow, that one person extends to another. Like gently embracing an infant – wrapped in swaddling clothes. Or two lovers - husband and wife - kissing in front of their children.

I’ve attended Mass at most Catholic churches in Boise. As I entered the House of God, I am oft-overwhelmed by a din almost too awful to bear. Instead of being able to quietly reverence, adore, and praise He Who Is, I hear – so loudly that it grates the ears of my soul and heart – chatter, the kind of banal verbal intercourse that one expects at a party. Nothing wrong with discussing events of the day with one another. But at the Event of Events? The centrality of Catholicism?

This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Isaiah, 29:13)

There is a time and place for all things under the sun. For the celebration of the Mass, there is only that distinctive time to come and adore Him. I pine to enter His Home, untroubled by the outside world of abominable clatter. I desire to visit Him during the majesty of the Mass with a quietude and serenity that bespeaks that sacrament’s august nature. He is – ought to be – the central focus at Mass - not our friends. No! Him! “This is My Body…this is My Blood of the new covenant…”[Italics added], (MT,26:26-28). Folks, Jesus is truly present, body and blood, soul and divinity at the consecration – the transubstantiation.

After we adoringly receive the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, do we have much time to reflect in our hearts the “…wonder at the God Thou art…”? (St. Thomas Aquinas, Adoro Te Devote). No! Seemingly, everyone, including the celebrant, is already in second gear and about to put it into third. We Westerners are so rushing busy in activities that we seldom take time to live. Not even with Jesus! Not even with Him!

Oh Thou our reminder of Christ crucified, Living Bread, the life of us for whom He died
(St. Thomas Aquinas, Adoro Te Devote, Tr: Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins)

To be with Jesus, Cor ad Cor - heart to heart - ought to be my goal - at Mass and in my life. I and Thou, as Martin Buber would say. He, that most illustrious Jewish theologian, knelt before Yahweh as he wrote a book of that title. He hit the proverbial nail in emphasizing the personal relationship each person ought to have with Yahweh. “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I am.” (JN,8:58-59)

One hour of quiet serenity – is that too much to ask? He invites us to be with Him. How can we hear Him in our hearts when there is a cacophony before – during – after Mass?

Please – be quiet!

This was originally published in The Idaho Catholic Register

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lacordaire, Conferences

The following is continued from Lacordaire's
"God: Conferences delivered at Notre Dame in Paris"

(series begins here)



Before entering upon this comparison, or rather on entering upon it, I will make one observation. It is that God is here below the most popular of all beings, whilst pantheism is a purely scientific system. In the open fields, resting upon his implement of toil, the laborer lifts up his eyes towards heaven, and he names God to his children by an impulse as simple as his own soul. The poor call upon him, the dying invoke his name, the wicked fear him, the good bless him, kings give him their crowns to wear, armies place him at the head of their battalions, victory renders thanksgiving to him, defeat seeks help from him, nations arm themselves with him against their tyrants; there is neither place, nor time, nor circumstance, nor sentiment, in which God does not appear and is not named. Even love itself, so sure of its own charm, so confident in its own immortality, dares not to ignore him, and comes before his altars to beg from him the confirmation of the promises to which it has so often sworn. Anger feels that it has not reached its last expression until it has cursed that admirable name; and blasphemy is the homage of faith that reveals itself in its own forgetfulness. What shall I say of perjury? A man possesses a secret, upon which his fortune or his honor depends: he alone upon earth knows it, he alone is his own judge. But truth as an eternal accomplice in God; it calls God to its help, it places the heart of man to struggle against an oath, and even he who may be capable of violating its majesty would not do so without an inward shudder, as before the most cowardly and basest of actions. And yet what is there contained in those words of an oath? It is the name which all nations have adored, to which they have built temples, consecrated priests, offered prayers; it is the highest name, the most holy, the most efficient, the most popular name which the lips of men have received the grace to utter.

Is it so with pantheism? Where shall we look for it? Come with me, let us knock on yonder door; it is illustrious, and more than one celebrity has already been there. We are in the presence of a sage. Let us beg of him to explain to us the mystery of our destinies, for he has sounded it. What says he to us? That there is in the world only one single substance. Why? Because substance is that which is in itself, and that which is in itself is necessarily unique, infinite, eternal, God. Behold then the whole explanation of our life based upon a metaphysical definition. I do not now examine whether it be true of false, whether the conclusions drawn from it are legitimate, whether it is easy otherwise to define substance, and so overthrow the whole structure of this doctrine. I simply defy mankind to understand it; even you, who from your childhood have been initiated to speculations of words and ideas, you would not seize its tissue without great difficulty were I to expose it to you. Many of you, perhaps, would not succeed so far; for nothing is more rare than metaphysical sagacity, than that vision which dispels before it all realities, and penetrates with a fixed regard the world of abstractions. You would soon feel the swelling veins of your brow, a kind of dimness would seize even upon the most hidden recesses of your thoughts, and all would disappear before you, the real and the ideal, in painful obscurity. And we are to believe that truth lies hidden in such subtle and impossible depths! That there it awaits the human race to declare to it its destiny! Can you believe it? For my part, I do not believe it. I believe in the God of the poor and the simpleminded; I believe in the God who is known in the lowly cottage, whom infancy hears, whose name is dear to misfortune, who has found ways to reach to all, how humble soever they may be, and who has no enemies but the pride of knowledge and the corruption of the heart. I believe in this God. I believe in him because I am a man, and in repeating with all nations and all ages the first article of the Church’s Creed, I do but proclaim myself a man and take my rank in the natural community of souls.

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
God: Conferences - Notre-Dame in Paris (1871)

next reading here

Monday, March 26, 2007

Gospel judgmentalism (Part II)

This should have been part of the original post on judgmentalism and the Gospel, but got left out. Just a minor oversight.

The thought to consider is based on something St. Augustine said:

A man calls himself by what he loves.

The sinner identifies himself by his sin, even the worldly man by his occupation, but we, because we love Christ, call ourselves by the name of the one whom we love, we call ourselves Christians.

Now as Christians, we have learned to love the sinner, all the while hating and detesting sin. The sinner hears us condemning what he loves and what he has named himself by, and, unable to separate himself from the sin he love, believes that we hate him, responds with anger, and hates us in return; a clue to how goodness incarnate could be so hated. This is the unavoidable consequence, and it is only with great difficulty that the one consumed by his passions can see this distinction. the worldling neither sees it, and both accuse us of dishonesty, for it is a good and godly thing to hate sin, and the one who loves it and names himself by his love, responds accordingly. Yet the truth is that he responds in error, even if oblivious to it. And thus extreme patience is necessary to instruct the ignorant, a spiritual work of mercy.

To abandon the truth in order to not offend where no actual offence is offered, even if it is taken, is to deny what the sinner actually has a right to in justice; the Truth; This is the sin of "human respect."

The sinner may believe that we hate him, but the reality is, he actually hates himself; for because we are made in the image of God,

Ps 10:6b he that loveth iniquity, hateth his own soul.

Lacordaire, Conferences

The following is continued from Lacordaire's
"God: Conferences delivered at Notre Dame in Paris"

(series begins here)



What do you now expect from me? You think perhaps that I am about to demonstrate to you the existence of God? I assure you that I have no such intention, not because the thing is impossible, but because this is not the question before us. The existence of God is not a dogma overthrown, which it is needful to raise up again from the dust; it is a dogma standing erect, which holds its place between the Church, whose divine authority I have shown you, and Jesus Christ, whose personal divinity I have proved to you. God has been the basis of all that we have yet seen. He has revealed himself to us as all beings reveal themselves, namely, by his action. If God had not acted upon earth, and if he did not still act her days by day, no one would believe in him, whatever demonstration metaphysics and eloquence might make of him. Mankind believes in God because it sees him act. We have not then to demonstrate God, but to examine the idea of God, and to place it before our minds in all the splendor that we can draw from it.

Let us even put aside those positive proofs of God; let us forget his works in the world, and suppose that we have before us the bare question of his existence. The necessity of a direct demonstration of him would not even then follow. For our mind carries in itself the certainty that a principle of things exists, and, in addition, that this principle is either God or nature. Nothing remains then but to choose between them, and a matter of choice is quite another thing than a position in which reasoning has all to create. I have to oppose theism to pantheism, this is my task; I have to seek which of these is in harmony with nature, intelligence, conscience, and society; such is the strength of my position.

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
God: Conferences - Notre-Dame in Paris (1871)

The bolded italic is not in the original, but I thought it such a profound statement that it is worth highlighting and meditating on.

next reading here

Saturday, March 24, 2007

More on Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

Here is more information about Dr. Kwasniewski's speaking engagement (other than his visit to the Chapter):


Attending Wyoming Catholic College will be a challenge for students’ minds, an adventure for their souls, and an opportunity of a lifetime. WCC, which opens this fall, has a four-year integrated liberal arts curriculum in which students will study Great Books and enjoy immersion in the Great Outdoors. Freshmen participate in NOLS summer and winter expeditions, and take equestrian instruction. The school is faithfully Catholic and offers abundant opportunities for the enrichment of the life of faith.
WCC’s Assistant Academic Dean Dr. Peter Kwasniewski will be visiting Boise to speak about the wonderful educational opportunities available at the new college. You are warmly invited to come and hear his presentation, which will take place on Friday, April 13, at St. Mark’s School, 7503 Northview Street, at 7:00 pm in the auditorium (located at the corner of Cole & Northview). After his formal presentation, Dr. Kwasniewski will be glad to answer questions, and will distribute viewbooks, catalogs, and other materials.

WCC is currently accepting applications from prospective students. For more information please visit the website ( or call 877-332-2930. We ask you to keep the success of WCC in your prayers.

Provided by Peter A. Kwasniewski
Lander, Wyoming

There is a more detailed announcement HERE
and a add from Naional Catholic Register HERE

Lacordaire, Conferences

The following is continued from Lacordaire's
"God: Conferences delivered at Notre Dame in Paris"

(series begins here)



Such are the two doctrines.

And observe that the human mind could not conceive a third doctrine upon the principle of things. For either nature exists of itself and suffices to itself, or we must seek its cause and support above itself, not in an analogous nature subject to the same infirmity, but in a superior being answering in its essence to the idea and function of a principle. It is the one or the other. If we choose nature, as nature wants personality, we must say that the principle of things is an infinite force in the state of impersonality. If we reject nature, we must say that the principle of things is a supernatural being, the logical conception of which necessarily leads to the conclusion that the principle of thins is an infinite spirit in the state of personality. Therefore human reason, in regard to the first question concerning the mystery of destinies, the question of principle, is inevitably condemned to one or the other of these professions of faith: I believe in God; - I believe in nature.

This is the reason why there are but two fundamental doctrines in the world; theism and pantheism. The first of these builds upon the idea of God, the second upon the fact of nature; one starts from the invisible and the infinite, the other from the visible and indefinite. Whoever is not a theist is logically a pantheist, and whoever is not a pantheist is necessarily a theist. Every man chooses between these two doctrines, and the life of mankind cleaves to one of the other, as to the tree of life and the tree of death. Pantheism has perhaps been brought before you as a rare discovery of modern times, as a treasure slowly drawn forth from the fields of contemplation by the labor of sages: the fact is, it is as old as corrupted mankind, and the mind of a child is able to conceive that there is a God, or if there is not, that nature is itself its principle and its god.

It is a gift of truth, that upon a question so capital as that of the principle of things, you should have but to choose between two doctrines, and that on the rejection of one of these, the other becomes invested with the infallible character of logical necessity.

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
God: Conferences - Notre-Dame in Paris (1871)

next reading here

Friday, March 23, 2007


You have heard it said...

But I say unto you...

The retreat begins with Liturgy of the Hours; 8:10AM at Our Lady of the Valley, Caldwell, followed by Mass at 8:30.

Because of the Chapter Retreat, I probably will not be posting much until Monday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Special guest at next chapter meeting!

We will have a very special guest at our next regular chapter meeting, which will be Mercy Sunday, April 15. From Wyoming Catholic College, we are delighted to welcome

Peter A. Kwasniewski, Associate Professor of Theology, Assistant Academic Dean
B.A. (Liberal Arts), Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, California; M.A. and Ph.D. (Philosophy), The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski taught courses in the philosophy of nature, philosophical anthropology, metaphysics, moral theology, social ethics and Catholic social doctrine, fundamental theology, Christology, ecclesiology, sacramental theology, eschatology, and biblical theology at the International Theological Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Gaming, Austria, from 1998 to 2006. He also lectured on music history for the Austrian Program of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, on medieval philosophy for the Austrian Program of Ave Maria University, and on human rights for the Phoenix Institute Europe Foundation. His articles have appeared in many scholarly and popular journals, including Mediaeval Studies, Communio, Angelicum, The Thomist, The Modern Schoolman, Nova & Vetera, Faith & Reason, Logos, and Homiletic & Pastoral Review. A translation by Dr. Kwasniewski of portions of St. Thomas Aquinas's Commentary on the Sentences, accompanied by introduction and notes, is forthcoming from The Catholic University of America Press.

Lacordaire, Conferences

The following is continued from Lacordaire's
"God: Conferences delivered at Notre Dame in Paris"

(series begins here)



I ask then this supreme question, I ask it with you and with all time: what is the principle of things? Catholic doctrine answers us in these three first words of its creed: CREDO IN DEUM PATREM OMNIPOTENTEMI believe in God, the Father Almighty.

Hear its own explanation of this answer.

There is a primordial being: by that alone that it is primordial, it has no beginning, it is eternal, that is to say, infinite in duration; being infinite in duration, it is so also in its perfection; for, if anything were wanting to its perfection, it would not be total being, it would be limited in its existence; it would not exist in itself, it would not be primordial. There is then a being, infinite in duration and perfection. Now the state of perfection involves the personal state, that is to say, the stated of a being possessing consciousness and intelligence of itself, rendering an account to itself of what it is, distinguishing from itself that which is not itself, removing from itself that which is against itself; in a word, of a being who thinks, who wills, who acts, who is free, who is sovereign. The primordial being is then an infinite spirit in a state of personality. Such is Catholic doctrine on the principle of things, the doctrine contained in that short phrase: CREDO IN DEUMI believe in God.

Let us now hear the contrary doctrine, for there is always a contrary doctrine; and you will never find Christianity announcing a dogma without at once meeting with a negation, a negation intended to combat it, but which must serve to prove it. For error is the counterproof of truth, as shadows are the counterproofs of light. Do not wonder than at so prompt an opposition to so manifest a dogma; invite it rather, and listen to the first expression of Rationalism against the first expression of Christianity: CREDO IN NATURAM, MATREM OMNIPOTENTEMI believe in nature, the mother almighty.

You hear then that Rationalism, like Christianity, admits the existence of a principle of things; but for Rationalism, nature is the primordial, necessary, eternal, sovereign being. Now, nature is not unknown to us, and it is evident to us tat nature is in the state of impersonality; that is to say, nature has no consciousness of what it is, it does not possess that intellectual unity by which each of its members should live of the universal life, and the universe of the life of the least blade of grass comprised in its immensity. We are, so to say, immersed in nature, we draw from nature the aliment of our existence; but so far from forming there one single life by common knowledge, we know nothing even of the beings nearest to us. We pass each other by as strangers, and the universe answers to our laborious investigations only by the mute spectacle of its inanimate splendor. Nature is deprived of personality, and this is why Rationalism, which declares that nature is self-existent, defines the principle of things as an infinite force in the state of impersonality.

Such are the two doctrines.

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
God: Conferences - Notre-Dame in Paris (1871)

next reading here

Gospel Judgmentalism

Last Sunday we had the gospel of the prodigal son, and this coming Sunday we have the woman caught in adultery. These scriptures, for many, seem to bring forth homilies which, rather than speak to the gospel accounts, are exhortations not to be “judgmental,” and condemnations of “judgmentalism.”

It is interesting to note, that the words “judgmental” and “judgmentalism” are not in my 1964 two volume Webster’s New Dictionary of the English Language. It seems odd that if this is a sin, this word would not exist in Holy Scripture; so I’d like to look at the word (and a class of similar words) and what the word conveys, and see how it ties back to the Gospels of last and next Sunday.

At the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, there is a men’s prayer group that meets on Tuesday mornings from 6-7AM. Usually half of this time is devoted to reading and discussing the upcoming Sunday’s gospel. An interesting collection of terms was identified as being of the same type as “judgmentalism.” Tolerance, diversity, choice are the culture’s “virtues” opposed to the culture’s sin of judgmentalism.

These four words have something in common; their cultural meaning is not their explicit meaning, but an entire weight of accumulated ideology. For example, tolerance actually has two primary meanings; the first is illustrated thusly: a machinist is instructed to turn a piece of steel to 1” plus or minus .005” The measure is 1” and the tolerance is plus or minus .005” If outside the tolerance, it fails quality control, and is discarded. In other words, tolerance in this context is the acceptable amount of error.

The second meaning of tolerance is social; as in tolerance of evil. There are some evils that, due to man’s fallen nature, are impossible to eradicate, and hence we tolerate a certain amount of them because to eradicate them would cause more evil than what is tolerated. You will notice, however, that there is no acceptance of evil as good, or denial, that what is evil is evil. It is the degree of error that is permitted.

These four words, thus, carry a meaning in the culture that goes far beyond their mere and normal definition (and judgmentalism fails to even have this). These are words of the type that is discussed by Jaques Ellul in his book “The Humiliation of the Word.” Essentially, these words are ideological constructs which carry an emotional reaction. They are not actually words, but hieroglyphics; they are images, and images of the type explicitly banned by God in the Commandments. An interesting observation, and I believe he has an excellent point.

But let’s get judgmental for a moment.

In last Sunday’s gospel, the prodigal son returns repentant seeking his father’s mercy. This coming Sunday the woman caught in adultery will receive, not forgiveness, but deferred judgment. She will receive mercy when she soon thereafter appears to Jesus and washes His feet with her tears, drying them with her hair.

These are both extremely compelling examples of a broken, contrite heart, seeking to be healed in the fount of mercy. Dearest Lord, who could refuse one who came to us in this manner, who could have such a hardened heart, to turn on and reject a son returned, or to turn on one who abases themselves so completely at your feet? O my Lord, could my heart ever be so hard?

Beloved friends and family, mercy goes so far beyond justice, but without justice, there can be no mercy; and the time for mercy is now, the time for judgment is to come. The father awaits the son, with patience, while the son hungers for the pods given to the swine. He is ready, his heart yearns, bursting with mercy, where is the son? He sees him coming, and goes to meet him. The Lord desires to exercise His mercy upon us, he gives us time; the judgment on the woman is deferred, that she may respond to grace and by repentance experience mercy. What wonder is this; repentance melts the very heart of God. Who would not yearn with all their heart, that one who offends against them, would turn and seek their forgiveness, so mercy could be lavished as does our Lord? What sort of hard heart would rather carry and nurse the wound? Lord, never allow it!

You, O Lord, upon the cross, innocence defiled, surrounded by two thieves, justly executed for their crimes, objecting not to the injustice heaped upon you, offered grace to both, one of whom responded and reaped mercy in immeasurable quantity! You offer so much, you ask no more than the sacrifice of our pride, the free submission of our will; why is this so hard for us, dearest Lord, especially when you offer all we need to effect this!

Lets go back to the culture for a moment. The culture worships at the altar of TOLERANCE™, and one of the soldiers in the army of TOLERANCE™ is JUDGMENTALISM™. The idol of TOLERANCE™ is the opposite from true tolerance, as the goal is to impose by force on all that evil is not to be tolerated, but that evil is good, and that, in some cases, good is evil. Thus, those who oppose the empire of TOLERANCE™, by exercising the spiritual works of mercy and trying to help those enthralled by the empire of TOLERANCE™ to understand that evil is evil, and good is good, are labeled as intolerant, their crime being that they are JUDGMENTAL™, the exercise of the good, being placed under the head of JUDGMENTALISM™, the unacceptable ‘vice’ in the empire of TOLERANCE™.

For more on this, I highly recommend the article True and False Tolerance, by Philippe Beneton, from Crisis Magazine, 1996.

If we return to our two scriptures, you will note that both the Father and Jesus are equally guilty of being judgmental; the Father has absolutely nothing to do with the son’s abandonment; he can die in the pig pen, that is his choice; the Father would rather he return, but he is free to remain apart. Is this the Father’s will? Heavens no, and thankfully so. Does Jesus approve of the adultery of the woman? Heavens no, he tells her to go and sin no more.

Is it not odd that we go from these scriptures, to the culture, which has missed them entirely? If the Father had said, son, go back to your whores and pigs, would we be impressed? If Jesus had said to the woman, go back to your adultery, would we be impressed? Yet, why are we admonished to do just this?

He wrote with His finger, in the dust of the earth!

Dust you are, and to dust you shall return.

I will take away your stony hearts, and give you hears of flesh.

Call to mind when God wrote with His finger in stone. He gave the law to an unrepentant people of stubborn, hardened heart. He wrote this law in their stony hearts, hearts that did not love, and therefore, closed to grace, would not grant freely the submission of their will; crushed under the burden of law, desiring license, constrained by fear.

Yet God so loved His people, that He came in person, to write a new law into our hearts, to take away our stony hearts, and give us hearts of flesh, that animated by grace, we would discover the perfect freedom in perfect obedience; law does not crush under a burden the heart in love with God, because law is for the lawless, and there is no law against love.

But there is judgment, and JUDGMENT. One is prescribe, one is proscribed. Since all we hear is proscription, let us look at prescription:

Simon answering, said: I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And he said to him: Thou hast judged rightly(Lk 7:43).

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no schisms among you: but that you be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment (1 Cor 1:10)

But the spiritual man judgeth all things (1 Cor 2:15)

Know you not that the saints shall judge this world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know you not that we shall judge angels? How much more things of this world? (1 Cor 6:2-3)

I speak to your shame. Is it so that there is not among you any one wise man that is able to judge between his brethren? (1 Cor 6:5)

And some indeed reprove, being judged: But others save, pulling them out of the fire. And on others have mercy, in fear, hating also the spotted garment which is carnal (Jude 1:22-23)
And some indeed repove being judged... He gives them
another instruction to practice charity in endeavouring to
convert their neighbour, where they will meet with three
sorts of persons: 1st, With persons obstinate in their
errors and sins; these may be said to be already judged and
condemned; they are to be sharply reprehended, reproved,
and if possible convinced of their error. 2d, As to others
you must endeavour to save them, by pulling them, as it
were, out of the fire, from the ruin they stand in great
danger of. 3d, You must have mercy on others in fear, when
you see them through ignorance of frailty, in danger of
being drawn into the snares of these heretics; with these
you must deal more gently and mildly, with a charitable
compassion, hating always, and teaching others to hate the
carnal garment which is spotted, their sensual and corrupt
manners, that defile both the soul and body. (footnote, DR bible)

Forbidden judgment is that which is eternal. My favorite example is "you will go to hell unless you leave the Catholic Church" - this pre-judgment of the final disposition of a man's soul, is similar to "You will go to hell if you (fill in the blank). The only way to go to hell is to die not in the state of sanctifying grace, and between commission of sin which destroys sanctifying grace, and death, there is the opportunity for mercy. Because of this, when Jesus said to love your neighbor, we need to remember that our neighbor is the one whom we will spend eternity in heaven with (provided we persevere to the end and get there!). Thus our neighbor may be our enemy today, as Saul was the enemy of St. Stephen as he was stoned, but together they intercede for us from heaven! Such an amazing transformation! Jesus prays "forgive them Father, they know not what they do" for the executioners who shed his blood, and they are among the first to be converted, to drink his blood! St. Augustine reminds us that Psalm 104 ends with "Destroy thou mine ememies from the earth" and we can pray this, because the only enemies we have are the enemies of God, and God destroys His enemies by making them His friends. God desires not the death of the sinner, but his conversion. May the desire of God's heart, animate ours.

(and that's my judgmental thoughts for the day...)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Conversion story

I have presented my conversion story several times since becoming a Catholic, but for some reason, I've never posted it publicly; till now. Since I have presented it at retreats under two different subject heads, I’ve posted both. They overlap some, but are written to different ends. May God grant you some benefit should you suffer to read one or both; and please, pray for me.

This link will take you to them.


Lacordaire: Conferences

The following is continued from Lacordaire's
"God: Conferences delivered at Notre Dame in Paris"

(series begins here)




The Church and the country thank you together for the example you have given to us in these days of great and memorable emotion (The Revolution of 1848). You have called us into this cathedral on the morrow of a revolution in which all seemed to have been lost; we have responded to your call; we are here peaceably assembled under these antique vaults; we learn from them to fear nothing either for religion or for country; both render thanks to you for having believed in this indissoluble alliance, and for having discerned in passing things those which remain firm and become strengthened even by the changeableness of events.

Doctrine is the science of destinies. We live, but why do we live? We live, but how do we live? We, and all that is passing around us, move by a motion that never ceases. The heavens move onwards, the earth is born along, the waves follow each other on the old shores of the sea; the plant springs up, the tree waxes great, the dust drifts along, and the mind of man, yet more restless than all else in nature, knows no repose. Whence and why is this? All motion supposes a starting-point, a term to which it tends, and a road by which it passes. What is then our starting-point? What our end? What our road? Doctrines must answer us: doctrine must show us our beginning, our end, our means; and, with them, the secret of our destinies. All science does not reach so far. The lower sciences teach us the law of particular movements; they tell us how bodies attract and repel each other; what orbit they describe in the undefined spaces of the universe; how they become decomposed and reconstituted, and numberless secrets of that restless and unremitting life which they lead in the fertile bosom of nature: but they do not make known to us the general law of motion, the first principle of things, their final end, their common means. This is the privilege of doctrine, a privilege as far above all the sciences as the universal is above the individual.

Now of these three terms which comprise the system of destinies, the one which doctrine should first reveal to us is doubtless the principle of things; for it is easy to conceive that upon the principle depends the end, that from the end and the principle proceeds the means. The principle of beings evidently includes the reason of the end assigned to them, as their principle and their end determine the means by which they are to attain and fulfill their vocation.

I ask then this supreme question, I ask it with you and with all time: what is the principle of things? Catholic doctrine answers us in these three first words of its creed: CREDO IN DEUM PATREM OMNIPOTENTEMI believe in God, the Father Almighty.

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
God: Conferences - Notre-Dame in Paris (1871)

next reading here

Streaming Gregorian Chant

Click the button above for 24/7 streaming Gregorian Chant. A nice resource!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Lacordaire: Conferences

The following is continued from Lacordaire's
"God: Conferences delivered at Notre Dame in Paris"

(series begins here)



But where shall we find a basis in order to found doctrine and appropriate it to ourselves? Where shall we find terms of comparison and means of verification? We shall not need to seek far. God has placed near to us the instruments destined by his Providence to lead us toward himself. He has given them to us in nature and in intelligence, in conscience and in society. This is the quadruple and unique palace which he has built for us; quadruple in the diversity of its constructions, unique in the relations which they hold to one another, and in our indivisible abode therein. As God is whole and ever present to every part of the universe, man is whole and always present to nature, to his intelligence, to his conscience, to society; he draws from them a life which constantly receives light from their reverberation, and which never leaves him in the solitary gloom of himself. Nature speaks to his intelligence, his intelligences responds to nature, both meet in his conscience, and society places the seal of experience to the revelations of all the three. Such is our life, and there all doctrine finds its verification. A doctrine contrary to nature, intelligence, conscience, or society, is a false doctrine, because it destroys our life; a doctrine in harmony with these is a true doctrine, because it strengthens and enlarges our life, and because our life, taken in its totality, is heaven and earth, matter and spirit, time and space, man and mankind, whatever comes from God and bears with it a demonstration of him and of ourselves.

It behooves me then to show you the conformity of Catholic doctrine with nature, intelligence, conscience, and society; and to draw from that comparison, unceasingly rising before you, rays of light which will lead us to the depths of the invisible and the immensity of the supernatural. This will form the last part of our conferences, and although it must necessarily employ several years, I cannot divest myself of a feeling of sadness in thinking that the day draws nearer when I must separate from you, and when I shall see no longer, save from a distance in the feebleness of remembrance, those great assemblies in which God was with us.

Nevertheless some consolation is blended with the feeling of our coming separation; the consolation of the man who reaches his end, who has finished a career, and who foresees the hour when he will be able to say with St. Paul, I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course (2 Tim iv. 7). Share with me this sadness and this joy; for our conferences belong to you as much as to me: they form a monument which has risen up from your hearts and from mine as from a single principle; and some day, if it please God to grant us the repose of old age, we shall each alike be able to say, on recalling the times which we loved: I formed part of those conferences of Notre Dame which held our youth captive under the word of God.

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
God: Conferences - Notre-Dame in Paris (1871)

next reading here

Sophia is HOME!

This just arrived.

I know, I’m way overdue with my emails, I’m so sorry. I have GREAT news. Sophia is HOME !!! All the therapy she needs now can be done from home, with outpatient treatment done at the Elk’s. We don’t think Sophia quite knows that “she’s back home” because we don’t think she remembers anything about the hospital, surgeries, etc. But she’s again surrounded by all the things that make her happy, and all the things that we know will speed up her recovery. As I had mentioned on other emails, being home does not mean she’s “back to normal”, and she still needs our prayers. Her brain is not “back to normal”, she’s still confused, she doesn’t remember things (she will ask for food, and you’ll tell her she just had lunch but she doesn’t remember, or she’ll imagine that she just did something like “going up the attic”); and we still don’t know how well she sees. Yesterday we were having he draw, we were happy to see that she recognized all the colors. But at certain point she was going to draw a face and when she started drawing the eyes she started crying because she said she needed to draw the pupils but she couldn’t see. It broke our hearts. She gets tired easily and asks to be in bed, she wants to sleep a lot. I don’t want to sound pessimistic, we are thrilled that she’s home, and we celebrate each little thing she’s able to do now. I just want to give you a realistic picture, since “being home” to me, usually means everything is fine. We are thrilled with the new things she’s able to do though. Every day she’s getting a little stronger. She can walk pretty much by herself now, and we help her go up and down the stairs every opportunity we have to build up strength on her legs. She’s eating by herself and she has quite an appetite!! Veronica is doing much better with the 3 shots a day she needs to give her, and I think eventually Sophia will stop fighting the medications (6 things in the morning and 6 at night so hopefully it’ll become a routine for her). Yesterday we took her to enjoy the sun outside, we were just sitting in the backyard, trying to keep her awake, to see if she’ll start sleeping longer at night. Scott and Veronica are trying to get used to new things and new routines, but what a difference being home makes. Matias is so happy, he talks non stop. I’ll be sending you new pictures as soon as I get some. I will also start spreading out the emails more; I won’t be filling your inboxes anymore. I have been asked by many of you to continue the updates, so I thought maybe once a week I’ll send you a photo and a summary. I’ve been praying many prayers of thanksgiving; our Lord has been so good to Sophia and to all of us. He has showered us with blessings, and you are one of those blessings that we are so thankful for. Thank you for being there for Sophia and the rest of our family through all of this. God bless each and every one of you, Daniela

The Renaisance Chancel Choir of St. John's Cathedral, will offer sung Choral Vespers at 6PM, Wed Mar 21, for the intention of Sophia's healing. ALL are invited!

Friday, March 16, 2007

How can I resist

If love has such a power to arouse more love, why do I not love Thee, my God, with my whole heart? How can I resist the great force of Thy love? How can I be deaf and insensible to the voices of all creation that call me to this love? The cold, hard stone gives off sparks if it is struck with a piece of steel. Will my heart be so obdurate that in spite of all the blows of all creation not even a spark of love will fly from it? If there is nothing else in the world more powerful for igniting fire, why does not the fire of Thy divine love inflame my heart?

If thou, my God, art a fire of infinite love, why is not my heart inflamed when it is in Thy presence? What coldness is this that Thy fire cannot ignite it? O King of glory, do not permit such a monstrosity in the world that I should not be inflamed by that great fire. Inflame this cold heart, my Lord, this heart colder than snow and harder than ice, so that I may love Thee with all my strength as Thou dost command and dost deserve to be loved. Make this love burn always and for all eternity. Amen.

Louis of Granada, Summa of the Christian Life, Volume 1, Chapter 8

Snares and dangers

To this multitude of snares and dangers (of the world) is added yet another misery which makes them even greater: the blindness and darkness of worldly persons, which if fittingly symbolized by the darkness recorded in the land of Egypt during the time of Moses [Ex 10:21] So dense was this darkness that for three days no man could see his neighbor nor move out of the place where he was. Such is the darkness which the world suffers, only it is much worse. What greater blindness for so many men to believe as they do and yet to live as they do? What greater blindness that to think so much of men and take so little notice of God? To be so solicitous about the laws of the world and so negligent about the laws of God? To work so energetically for the body, which is but dust, and so little for the soul, which is an image of the divine Majesty? To store up so many riches for this life, which may end tomorrow, and lay aside nothing for the next life, which will endure forever? Knowing for certain that we must die and that the moment of death will determine our state for all eternity, what greater blindness than to live as carelessly as if we were to remain on earth forever? What greater blindness that to forego the heritage of heaven for the satisfaction of a passion; to have such regard for possessions and so little for conscience; to want all one’s things to be good but not to worry whether one’s life is good? Men have eyes sharper than lynxes for the things of this world but are blinder than moles in regard to the things of heaven.

Louis of Granada, Summa of the Christian Life, Volume 2, Chapter 2

Retreat readings

The Chapter retreat on March 23-25 will focus on reading the new Apostolic Exhortation, SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS

Print and bring a copy, or printed copies will be available.

Conversion of the Sinner

The order which God observes in the conversion of souls is the same which He observes in the sanctification of the world, which first received the Ten Commandments and the Old Law and then the Gospel. The world had to experience the rigor of the Law before it could enjoy the peace and consolation of the Gospel. The work of the Law was to instill a fear of God, but the work of the Gospel is to console and encourage. But he who wishes to receive the spirit of love must first experience the fear of the Lord. He who wishes to know the consolation of the Gospel must fist pass through the fear of the Law.

Sometimes God changes this order and draws sinners to Himself with blessings and sweetness, lest they falter under the blows of discouragement and the fear of penance. But after they have been strengthened by the pledges of His mercy, He sends them sorrow and fear, which are later followed by peace and consolation. In other words, first is given the milk of spiritual sweetness and then the tribulation and the bitterness of contrition. When this has been done, the soul receives the pledges of the new love and grace which the Lord sends it as the first-fruits of glory.

It should be noted that this same order which is generally observed to lead the sinner to grace, is generally observed to lead a soul from one grace to another. For when the Lord wishes to lead a soul to higher things, He first prepares the soul with tears, desires, fears, afflictions of spirit, and pains of body. He desires that winter should precede the summer of the flowers and fruits of His graces. And the greater the graces which are to come, the greater the sufferings which precede them. Therefore, one should not become discouraged when he sees himself in this condition; rather, let him take this as a sign of the great mercies which God is preparing to bestow on him.

Ven Louis of Granada, Summa of the Christian Live, Volume 3, Chapter 46, The Conversion of the Sinner

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Next retreat is on!


Father Carlos Enrique will bring the Monstrance and Host to the Chapter House after the 8AM mass at Our Lady of the Valley, Caldwell, on Friday, March 23. Adoration will run continuously until Sunday afternoon, March 25 to be closed by Deacon Collins of St. Paul's, Nampa. All are invited to attend, at all hours. This is primarily a silent retreat, as was the last one, with common prayer (Liturgy of the Hours, Rosary, Divine Mercy). Spiritual readings will be available as well.
Limited overnight accomodations are available, please check with Bonnie Fitzpatric, OPL, Chapter Secretary (442-7139). The Chapter House, being unfinished, is somewhat primitive, and may be cold, depending on the weather. Meals will be taken at the neighboring home, which is solar powered and heated and not as primitive!
Map and directions are on the right hand Chapter Links list.

With the 40 Hours Devotion at Sacred Heart the following weekend (Mar 30-31), opportunity does knock twice!

Christian Hope - Louis of Granada

But now we come to the consideration of a point that is very lamentable, namely, the perversity of the human heart which, even as it relies on this great virtue of hope, nevertheless perseveres in its sin. If you were to ask any of these shameless people how they can hope to be saved, they will reply that they will be saved through faith in Christ and hope in His sacred passion. Christ's passion is truly the greatest stimulus to hope and the greatest motive for fear of God, but these wicked persons pervert it and make it an excuse for continuing their sin, when in reality it is supposed to make souls love and serve God. This has been and continues to be one of the greatest deceptions of the devil, who strives to compete by his evil ways against the greatness of God's goodness. God manifests His great goodness by drawing good out of evil, but the devil endeavors to make even good things serve an evil purpose. Thus, he makes Scripture, which was given to us for the enlightenment and government of our life, a source of error and perversion for heretics, distorting the divine words in order to use them as a basis for his lies. So also, he has craftily used the divine mystery of the Cross as an excuse for sin. Al men, however evil they may be, desire to be saved, even when they refuse to enter upon the path of virtue. But these evil men have looked upon the Cross for consolation and sometimes have used it as an excuse for their evil deeds, saying that Christ as already atoned for them. It is as if one were to say that the Son of God came down to earth and suffered in order that men might become evil and slothful and enemies of every virtuous work.

Since Scripture declares that the remedy for our spiritual health consists in the performance of good works and that our perdition lies in the performance of evil deeds, how is it possible that the devil can blind the intellects of so many men so that they believe that merely by trusting in the passion of Christ and without putting their hand to the plough, they can hope to be saved?

Ven Louis of Granada, Summa of the Christian Life, Volume 2, Chapter 20, Christian Hope

Legion of Mary

Last night I received a well-aged copy of the Legion of Mary Handbook; I have carried in my wallet for 10 years, the following excerpt from the handbook.

Attacks on the Church on the score of evil-doing, persecution, and lack of zeal could be argued indefinitely, and hopelessly confuse the issue. An element of truth may underlie some charges, and thus add complication to confusion. To satisfy the hostile critic on these and all other minor points of dispute is completely impossible, even if great erudition is enlisted in the task. The course to be taken by the legionary must be that of persistently reducing the discussion to its very simplest elements: that of insisting that God must have left to the world a message – what men call a religion: that such religion, being God’s voice, absolutely must be one, clear, consistent, unerring, and must claim divine authority.

These characteristics are to be found only in the Catholic Church. There is no other body or system which even claims to possess them. Outside the Church, there is only contradiction and confusion, so that, as Cardinal Newman crushingly puts it: “Either the Catholic religion is verily the coming of the unseen world into this, or that there is nothing positive, noting dogmatic whither we are going.”

There must be a true Church. There can only be one true Church. Where is it, if it is not the Catholic Church? Like blows, ever directed to one spot, this simple line of approach to the Truth has overwhelming effect. Its force is manifest to the simplest, is unanswerable in the hearts of the more learned, though he may continue to talk of the sins of the Church. Remind such a one briefly but gently that he proves too much. His objections tell at least as much against any other religious system as they do against the Church. If he proves the Church to be false by proving that Churchmen did wrong, then he has only succeeded in proving that there is no true religion in the world.

The day has gone when a Protestant would claim that his own particular sect had a monopoly of the truth. Nowadays he would more modestly content that all Churches possess a portion or facet of the truth. But a portion is not enough. That claim is equivalent to an assertion that there is no known truth and no way of finding it. For if a Church has certain doctrines that are true and therefore others that are untrue, what means are there for recognizing which is which; when we pick, we may take the ones that are untrue! Therefore the Church which says of its doctrines: “Some of
these are true”, is no help, no guide for the way. It has left you exactly where you were without it.

So let it be repeated until the logic penetrates: There can be but one true Church; which must not contradict itself, which must possess the whole truth; and which must be able to tell the difference between what is true and what is false.

hat tip to Anita at V-For Victory

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pray for Anita's family

Little Anita Vazquez of Argentina, 15 months old, with a brain tumor, passed away on Sunday. Please, pray for her family. Rest in peace, little angel!



This was sent very late last night.

Today we have nothing but wonderful news. This morning they did a full MRI. The ventricles are very close to being back to NORMAL size. They did the test with dye looking again for any remaining cells from the tumor, and found NOTHING. And last but not least, the blood clots are practically all gone !!!!! This was a shock, nobody was expecting it. As I have told you before we knew that the blood clots would probably remain there for many months, and in 50% of cases those types of blood clots, as they were told, stay there for life. Imagine what a relief it was to find out they are pretty much gone. Sophia remained awake longer than usual today, she did great with the occupational therapist, knew the answers to all the questions, from her teacher’s name to how old she was, etc, etc. She ate by herself, and talked on the phone with Matias. She’s supposed to eat as many calories as possible, so I had brought her a chocolate-peanut butter shake from Jamba Juice (550 calories a shake!) and Veronica said she finished it! Later she had a big dinner, and when I talked to Veronica she was having a cookie :). Yes, our prayers are being heard! Some of us may have gone through some days when we were wondering why God wasn’t answering our prayers; but as Mother Angelica reminds us “God is answering your prayer in many ways through many voices and even through His Silence. Listen to Him. His answer may not be the answer you want or expect right now, but He is telling you something at this very moment Open your heart to Him and let Him in.” God bless you all, Daniela

what an awesome birthday gift; thank you, gracious Lord. Should I be surprised that you use a child to bring our hearts together, overcoming time and distance?


Simon-Peter's post on suppression and the YouTube M60 glowstick video is why I'm posting this "don't do this at home" gif.

Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.

1 Pt 1:7. That the trial of your faith (much more precious than
gold which is tried by the fire) may be found unto praise
and glory and honour at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sophia update: preparing for home care!

Rather remarkable news; may God be praised!

I will have more news later since today they are doing a CAT scan, but I wanted to let you know that everything is still looking very good J !!! Yesterday the physical therapist worked with Sophia, had her sit down, to strengthen her upper body, had her walk, hold a cup, drink while sitting by herself, etc. Dr. Cherny gave Scott and Veronica quite a bit of information about what will need to be done after going home. If she eats well this week, and everything continues to stay stable, she may be able to go home by the end of the week !!! There will be a lot of work to be done, physical therapy at the Elk’s, working with several specialists, speech therapist, neuro-psychologists, etc, and a lot to do with her at home. But that’s okay, they’ll be at home, and that will make it so much better. Yesterday they taught Veronica and Scott how to give shots J, they gave them a pack of syringes with saline solution to practice so watch out, don’t come anywhere close to Veronica J! I’ll send a quick update after we hear the results from today’s CAT scan. Let’s continue praying for Sophia’s recovery, that she’ll be able to be more awake so that she can eat enough and get the okay to go home. Thank you! God bless each and every one of you, Daniela

Prayer request from the Dominican Sisters in Iraq

The following prayer request came by way of the province.


Dear Sisters,
It is my practice to talk regularly to Sister Maria Hanna, the prioress general of my congregation, to assure the safety of our sisters. Yesterday she informed me that a truck bomb exploded very close to our mother house in Mosul about 6:15 p.m. on March 6, while all the sisters were praying in the chapel. The sound of broken glass from the windows crashing against the walls and the ground was horrible. Flying dust prevented vision.

At first they thought that the bomb car was in the convent courtyard. After making sure everyone was safe, this sisters moved from the chapel to see what had happened. All the doors were damaged and opened. The wooden ones were broken and all the windows broken. There was glass everywhere. The
curtains were in shreds on the ground, all the furniture and the books in the library were upside down. Sister Maria s bedroom was the most heavily damaged. The sisters were obliged to stay awake the last night because the building was completely open and insecure.

The sisters were grateful to the Providence that saved them from this real danger, and as a sign of thanksgiving to the Lord, they went back to the chapel to complete their prayer and to celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving, because a priest was there by chance.

Sister Maria said to me, “Isn’t that a miracle! I am sure that prayer does miracles! We feel we are more courageous; myself and all the sisters depend on the prayer of our sisters, brothers and friends. Please tell them to keep praying.”

Of course, there was a big damage and horror in the region around the convent, too. At this time we don t know the extent of the causalities and damage in the neighborhood. Thank you again for your prayer, and thanks be to the Lord for all His mercy.
With much love and prayers

Monday, March 12, 2007

My birthday gift from the Pope

Sacramentum Caritatis

But I can't unwrap till tomorrow...
hat tip to Tom at Disputations!

EDIT March 13, 2007
Document is at a different place, so I changed the link...


Bishop Robert Vasa, Diocese of Baker



61. It is the Pastor’s responsibility to assure that all those who serve in the Parish in the various capacities as Catechists, Liturgical Readers, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and Cantors assent to the Affirmation of Personal Faith. Since Youth Ministers, DRE’s, Catholic School Teachers and other Pastoral Associates likewise exercise a teaching ministry, albeit in some cases more indirectly, they too are required to make a statement of assent.

62. Those already serving in various parochial ministries who are unable or unwilling to make this personal affirmation are asked to take some additional time to consider the matter, seek counsel with their Pastors and are then either to make the affirmation or inform their Pastors that they are no longer able to serve as they have done in the past.

63. This will undoubtedly be difficult and painful for some of those who feel very strongly that such an affirmation is unjust and unnecessary or who believe that their disagreements with the Church are somehow in accord with a more enlightened vision of the Church. Nonetheless, I believe it would be wrong for me to allow those holding to erroneous views to continue in ministerial roles. To do so would be hesitating, as Saint Gregory notes, to say openly what is right because of a fear of losing the favor of men.

64. My dear ministers, please know that when I assign you to various, truly Sacred Duties the faithful people of the Diocese have a right to expect that I approve and condone that which you hold to be true and good and holy. I cannot represent to them something which I have not attempted conscientiously to ascertain. For your part, when you are commissioned to serve in the name of the Church, the other faithful truly do look to you to present to and for them those things, in a clear and undistorted fashion, which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God. Genuine service to them requires that you not, at the same time, reject the very things which that same Catholic Church teaches.

65. It is the Pastor’s responsibility to ascertain, to the best of his ability and in a fashion he deems most appropriate, the assent of those who serve under his direction. In some cases individuals have voluntarily signed documents attesting to their assent. This is noteworthy and commendable. In other instances a simple verbal affirmation to the Pastor that one has no difficulties with the teachings of the Church as presented in The Catechism of the Catholic Church is sufficient.

66. An affirmation that one follows the teachings of the Church as one "understands" them, or "in accord with one’s own conscience" or "as interpreted by some theologians" is not sufficient. The Pastor must be convinced of the sincerity of those making the Affirmation of Personal Faith and so indicate on the form to be submitted to the Diocese.

67. When individuals make, or have made, public statements opposing some element of Catholic teaching they maynot be admitted to roles of service noted above unless they make a retraction of their former statements in a forum commensurate to or broader than the one in which they voiced their dissent. In these instances, especially, the Pastor must be convinced of the sincerity of the applicant in accepting the teachings of the Church and in making retractions.

68. Forms will be provided to each Pastor on which he is to list those of various categories whom he wishes to propose for service in the Church. On that form the Pastor affirms that all those listed fulfill the requirements identified in Diocesan Statutes and in Giving Testimony to the Truth. The pastoral vigilance of the Bishop is thereby appropriately delegated to the Pastors who are reminded of their duty to fulfill this munus regale with all conscientiousness.

Sophia update - with pictures

From Sophia's aunt this morning (click picture to see larger image):

It’s amazing what a difference one night can make. I went home from the hospital at almost midnight Saturday night, feeling discouraged, and left Veronica and Scott with the same feeling, and tired !. On Sunday, when we went back to the hospital after mass, Sophia didn’t have any of the cords that tangled her body the day before and she looked like she was feeling much better!. I told Veronica my own theory J: this was actually God, quieting me down, after the 5 hours of praying (in Spanish, in English, and more Hail Mary’s than I could count!) and my dealings with Him while “babysitting” Sophia the night before J J! Veronica and Scott had requested for doctors to remove the feeding tube, again, and to give them a chance to feed her instead. Sure enough, that was a relief for Sophia, who had been feeling miserable with that on her nose, and trying to pull it out at any opportunity she got. Even though she remained quite sleepy for most of the day, she seemed more relaxed and when awake, she had her Pedia-Sure chocolate shakes quite well, she ate a cookie and she even went for a wagon ride. It was so beautiful and warm outside that Veronica and Scott asked Dr. Cherny if they could take Sophia outside, so we all went and took tons of pictures, capturing the first day in a month when she got to breathe fresh air and got some warm sun rays. Hopefully she’ll be able to stay awake enough during the day, to eat the minimum amount of calories required to stay without a feeding tube, and to start physical therapy and gain some strength back. We were thinking that she started being that sleepy at about the time we found out about the blood clots, so Dr. Cherny thinks that might be the cause of that. They are pushing her to wake up more now. The cause of the allergies is not known yet. They changed the medication that they thought could be doing it, but it will remain in her body for 5-6 days so we should know some time this week. Yesterday the fever was gone, but if it comes back Dr. Cherny said they would do more blood cultures to check for infections. By the evening, we all helped move her into her new room in the general pediatrics area, and out of PICU, hoping we don’t ever have to do the move back !!! I’m enclosing some pictures we took when she had some of her best moments. Let’s pray that we continue to see improvement, let’s not forget the doctors and nurses that have been so incredibly loving and dedicated to Sophia and the family, and of course let’s continue praying for Scott, Veronica and Matias! THANK YOU. God bless each and every one of you, Daniela

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sophia update - waiting...

This morning's update:

Good morning,

Sorry I didn’t send anything yesterday, there hasn’t been much change but I didn’t want to let another day go without sending you a few lines. After the surgery Sophia has remained pretty sleepy and when she wakes up she’s quite agitated. She pulled the tubes from her arm (they had to put them on her foot) and last night she pulled her feeding tube ! so they had to giver her morphine to calm her down and put the tube back. She developed a rash from one of the medications. They thought it was from the anti-seizure one so they changed that and today the rash is better. Today they are going to do another CAT scan. She remains in PICU. They expect her to continue to be sleepy today because of the morphine, but hopefully after this, she’ll start waking up, and moving forward ! Let’s pray that the CAT scan will come back normal, and that she’s on her way to showing improvement. Mom and dad really need to see a sign that things are getting better !. Thank you all for your continuous prayers, love and support. God bless each and everyone of you, Daniela

Friday, March 09, 2007

Lent with Lacordaire

Another fine post of Lacordare at RORATE CÆLI

the world contradicts the Doctrines, the Spirit, and the Church of Jesus Christ

Dicit illis Iesus: Numquam legistis in Scripturis: Lapidem quem reprobaverunt ædificantes, hic factus est in caput anguli: a Domino factum est istud, et est mirabile in oculis nostris? (From the Gospel for the Friday in the Second Week of Lent, Matthew xxi, 42: Jesus saith to them: Have you never read in the Scriptures, "The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the cornerstone, by the Lord this has been done; and it is wonderful in our eyes"?)

I ask you, princes of nations, you who command by intelligence, wealth, or power; I ask you to make a man humble and chaste, a penitent, a soul who judges his pride and his senses, who despises himself, who hates himself, who struggles against himself, and either as the proof or as the means of his conversion, humbly avows the errors of his life. I ask but this from you: can you accomplish this? Have you ever done so?

Ah, if a king, radiant in the majesty of the throne, were to call you into his cabinet, and press you to confess your faults at his feet, you would say to him: Sire, I would rather confess them to the man who makes shoes for my feet! If the most famous philosopher of his age were to use all his eloquence to persuade you to kneel and confess your sins to him, you would not even deign to turn away from laughing in his face. Pardon these expressions, ... they would be ill-placed on other occasions; here, they are just and grave.

And, yet, what kings, philosophers, and nations are unable to obtain, a poor priest, a man unknown, the most obscure among men, accomplishes daily in the name of Jesus Christ. He sees souls touched by their misery, coming to seek him who does not know them, and tell Him in all sincerity the degradation of their passions. It is the door by which men enter into Jesus Christ, by which they rest in Him, by which the Church herself enters; for the Church is but the world penitent; and that single word reveals to you the whole miracle of her foundation and perpetuity, as it will also explain to you the force of active and passive contradiction which is in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ contradicts all doctrines, because His doctrine is holy and the world is corrupt; He contradicts every spirit, because His Spirit is holy and the world is corrupt; He contradicts all nations, because His Church is holy and the world is corrupt; and, for the same reason, the world contradicts the doctrines, the Spirit, and the Church of Jesus Christ.

It was then with justice (in a certain sense) that, in the first proceedings directed against Christians, by the orders of Nero, they were convicted, according to Tacitus, of "hatred against the human race". They hated, in fact, all that the world esteemed; they pursued all its ideas and all its affections, in order to destroy them utterly; and although they did this out of love for the world, the world was not bound to understand and thank them for it.

Even charity, so new as it was, clothed itself in hostile colours, and the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross, that masterpiece of love, appeared rather like an insult than devoutness.

All [of this] was contradiction, because all [of it] was God; and in order to prove that nothing of this was of man, Jesus Christ was forever to be recognized by this sign, as it was said of Him at the moment of His first appearing among men: "This Child is set up as a sign of contradiction." And He Himself, recalling the prophecies, said to His enemies: "The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is wonderful in our eyes." The prophecy is still accomplished daily: princes, nations, savants, sages, the experts, the builders, all reject the stone; they declare it to be unfit or worn out by time; they will accept it no longer; and yet it still is "the cornerstone, and it is wonderful in our eyes."

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
Conférences de Notre-Dame de Paris (1846)

Whole series of Lacordaire posts at RORATE CÆLI is here