Saturday, March 28, 2009

'nuff said

"The common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights--for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture--is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination." Pope John Paul II

Friday, March 27, 2009

Because self-renunciation is not easy...

"Obedience is the burden of the strong" – Pius XII, Allocution to the Discalced Carmelites, 1952

Rejecting the superstition of REIKI

The following was posted by Fr. Powell O.P. at Dominie, da mihi hanc aquam
Reiki: Not Science, Not Christian

The following document (excerpted) was issued today by the USCCB's committee on doctrine. It directly condemns the practice of Reiki in Catholic facilities.

Let the temper tantrums begin!

Committee on Doctrine
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

A) The Origins and Basic Characteristics of Reiki

4. Reiki is a technique of healing that was invented in Japan in the late 1800s by Mikao Usui, who was studying Buddhist texts. According to Reiki teaching, illness is caused by some kind of disruption or imbalance in one's "life energy." A Reiki practitioner effects healing by placing his or her hands in certain positions on the patient's body in order to facilitate the flow of Reiki, the "universal life energy," from the Reiki practitioner to the patient. There are numerous designated hand positions for addressing different problems. Reiki proponents assert that the practitioner is not the source of the healing energy, but merely a channel for it. To become a Reiki practitioner, one must receive an "initiation" or "attunement" from a Reiki Master. This ceremony makes one "attuned" to the "universal life energy" and enables one to serve as a conduit for it. There are said to be three different levels of attunement (some teach that there are four). At the higher levels, one can allegedly channel Reiki energy and effect healings at a distance, without physical contact.

B) Reiki as a Natural Means of Healing

5. Although Reiki proponents seem to agree that Reiki does not represent a religion of its own, but a technique that may be utilized by people from many religious traditions, it does have several aspects of a religion. Reiki is frequently described as a "spiritual" kind of healing as opposed to the common medical procedures of healing using physical means. Much of the literature on Reiki is filled with references to God, the Goddess, the "divine healing power," and the "divine mind." The life force energy is described as being directed by God, the "Higher Intelligence," or the "divine consciousness." Likewise, the various "attunements" which the Reiki practitioner receives from a Reiki Master are accomplished through "sacred ceremonies" that involve the manifestation and contemplation of certain "sacred symbols" (which have traditionally been kept secret by Reiki Masters). Furthermore, Reiki is frequently described as a "way of living," with a list of five "Reiki Precepts" stipulating proper ethical conduct.

C) Reiki and the Healing Power of Christ

8. Some people have attempted to identify Reiki with the divine healing known to Christians. They are mistaken. The radical difference can be immediately seen in the fact that for the Reiki practitioner the healing power is at human disposal. Some teachers want to avoid this implication and argue that it is not the Reiki practitioner personally who effects the healing, but the Reiki energy directed by the divine consciousness. Nevertheless, the fact remains that for Christians the access to divine healing is by prayer to Christ as Lord and Savior, while the essence of Reiki is not a prayer but a technique that is passed down from the "Reiki Master" to the pupil, a technique that once mastered will reliably produce the anticipated results. Some practitioners attempt to Christianize Reiki by adding a prayer to Christ, but this does not affect the essential nature of Reiki. For these reasons, Reiki and other similar therapeutic techniques cannot be identified with what Christians call healing by divine grace.

9. The difference between what Christians recognize as healing by divine grace and Reiki therapy is also evident in the basic terms used by Reiki proponents to describe what happens in Reiki therapy, particularly that of "universal life energy." Neither the Scriptures nor the Christian tradition as a whole speak of the natural world as based on "universal life energy" that is subject to manipulation by the natural human power of thought and will. In fact, this worldview has its origins in eastern religions and has a certain monist and pantheistic character, in that distinctions among self, world, and God tend to fall away. We have already seen that Reiki practitioners are unable to differentiate clearly between divine healing power and power that is at human disposal.


10. Reiki therapy finds no support either in the findings of natural science or in Christian belief. For a Catholic to believe in Reiki therapy presents insoluble problems. In terms of caring for one's physical health or the physical health of others, to employ a technique that has no scientific support (or even plausibility) is generally not prudent.

11. In terms of caring for one's spiritual health, there are important dangers. To use Reiki one would have to accept at least in an implicit way central elements of the worldview that undergirds Reiki theory, elements that belong neither to Christian faith nor to natural science. Without justification either from Christian faith or natural science, however, a Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki would be operating in the realm of superstition, the no-man's-land that is neither faith nor science. Superstition corrupts one's worship of God by turning one's religious feeling and practice in a false direction. While sometimes people fall into superstition through ignorance, it is the responsibility of all who teach in the name of the Church to eliminate such ignorance as much as possible.

12. Since Reiki therapy is not compatible with either Christian teaching or scientific evidence, it would be inappropriate for Catholic institutions, such as Catholic health care facilities and retreat centers, or persons representing the Church, such as Catholic chaplains, to promote or to provide support for Reiki therapy.

Most Rev. William E. Lori (Chairman)
Most Rev. John C. Nienstedt
Most Rev. Leonard P. Blair
Most Rev. Arthur J. Serratelli
Most Rev. José H. Gomez
Most Rev. Allen H. Vigneron
Most Rev. Robert J. McManus
Most Rev. Donald W. Wuerl

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Value of Obedience

Found this quote in Divine Intimacy by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen O.C.D.
St. John of the Cross has said, "God wants from us the least degree of obedience and submission, rather than all the works we desire to offer Him" (Spiritual Maxims, I, 13). Why? Because obedience makes us surrender our own will to adhere to God's will as expressed in the orders of our superiors; and the perfection of charity, as well as the essence of union with God, consists precisely in the complete conformity of our will with the divine will. Charity will be perfect in us when we govern ourselves in each action - not according to our personal desires and inclinations - but according to God's will, confirming our own to His.

The Will of God is expressed in His commandments, in the precepts of the Church, in the duties of our state of life; beyond all that, there is still a vast area for our free choice, where it is not always easy to know with certitude exactly what God wants of us. In the voice of obedience, however, the divine will takes on a clear, precise form; it comes ot us openly manifest and we no longer need to fear making a mistake. Indeed, as St. Paul says, "There is no power by from God" (Rm 13:1), so that by obeying our lawful superiors, we can be certain that we are obeying God. Jesus Himself, when entrusting to His disciples the mission of converting the world, said, "He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me" (Lk 10:16).

He teaches us here that ecclesiastical superiors represent Him and speak to us in His Name. Furthermore, St. Thomas poins out that every lawful authority-even in the natureal order, such as the civil and social spheres-when commanding within the just limits of its powers manifests the divine will. In this very sense, the Apostle does not hesititate to say, "Servants, be obedient to them that are your lords ... as to Christ ... doing the will of God from the heart" (Ep 6:5-6).

One of the greatest obstacles to full conformity of our will to God's is our attachment to our own desires and inclinations. Obedience, because it asks us to be governed by the will of another, is the bset was of accustoming ourselves to renounce our own will, of detaching us from it, and making us cling to the divine will as revealed in the orders of our superiors."

Little children are told what they can and cannot do, and even what they are to do, but instead do something else and say to parents, "looky what I did!" expecting parents to be pleased. How like little children we are, knowing what we should do, doing what we prefer to do.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Regulation, Part III: The New Dictatorship of Money

Author Michael Greaney, of the Center for Economic and Social Justice, writes cogently on the madness sweeping our nation:

Regulation, Part III: The New Dictatorship of Money
By any standard of measurement, the decision of the Federal Reserve to "pump" $1.2 trillion into "the financial system" (meaning the stock market) is enough to terrify anyone who has a modicum of common sense left. ("Fed to Pump $1.2 Trillion Into Markets," Washington Post, 03/19/09, p. A1.) Such a move, a serious indication of stark, raving financial and economic insanity, is virtually guaranteed to begin finishing off what is left of the U.S. economy. Clearly motivated by political rather than economic or financial considerations, the decision is custom-made to destroy whatever confidence remains in the dollar.

The only question is how this situation was allowed to develop in a country presumably run for the benefit "of the people, by the people, and for the people." The answer is actually simple, once we free ourselves of the shackles imposed by the Great Defunct Economist, John Maynard Keynes.

By adhering to the letter rather than to the intent of the law, the federal government and the Federal Reserve have, between them, shifted the backing of the currency. The backing of the currency (or equity shares, or any other type of financial instrument) is what financial experts call the "underlying," with the additional word "asset" understood. The "underlying" of the currency has changed from "qualified industrial, commercial, and agricultural paper" (i.e., hard assets representing existing production and the present value of future production), to the federal government's ability to collect taxes. The currency has thereby shifted from being asset backed, to being debt backed.

This has had the expected effect. The value of the dollar has been falling for decades, prices have been rising, ownership of the means of production has become increasingly concentrated, basic industries have been leaving the country, and fewer and fewer people are able to make a decent income solely by selling their labor.

There are many other factors that have caused this situation, of course, but the virtual monopoly over the creation of money currently enjoyed by the federal government in unacknowledged alliance with the Federal Reserve has all but ensured that the great mass of people will be cut off from access to the means of acquiring and possessing private property. Further, freed from the necessity of having to tax in order to raise the money it needs, the federal government has acquired more and more power over the lives of American citizens, calling to mind the warning voiced by Pope Pius XI in 1931 in his "encyclical" Quadragesimo Anno ("On the Restructuring of the Social Order"), which itself echoed those issued by Henry C. Adams in his 1898 study, Public Debt: An Essay in the Science of Finance. As Pius XI declared,

105. In the first place, it is obvious that not only is wealth concentrated in our times but an immense power and despotic economic dictatorship is consolidated in the hands of a few, who often are not owners but only the trustees and managing directors of invested funds which they administer according to their own arbitrary will and pleasure.

106. This dictatorship is being most forcibly exercised by those who, since they hold the money and completely control it, control credit also and rule the lending of money. Hence they regulate the flow, so to speak, of the life-blood whereby the entire economic system lives, and have so firmly in their grasp the soul, as it were, of economic life that no one can breathe against their will.
We don't need to be Catholic, or even believe in any God, gods, or goddesses to see the common sense of what Pius XI said and the dangers inherent in ignoring his warning. We need only substitute "State bureaucrats" for the "trustees and managing directors of invested funds which they administer according to their own arbitrary will and pleasure" to realize the danger of allowing the federal government — or any government, for that matter — to have such enormous control over money and credit, and thus complete mastery over the economic life's blood of every man, woman, and child in the country.


Regulation, Part II: The Federal Reserve Ponzi Scheme
Most people will immediately think of the Madoff scandal when the latter case is mentioned. They fail to realize, however, that the United States government is far more guilty than Madoff of issuing paper with nothing behind it, to the tune of more than $10 trillion. Compared to what the federal government has managed to pull off, Madoff is a piker.

Regulation, Part I: Two Views of Regulation
Consistent with the dignity of the human person, regulation should be designed to reinforce the system itself and encourage desired results, not run counter to the whole idea of a system itself and try to force desired results, whether or not the capacity exists to achieve the desired goal. The system itself must be designed to be self-regulating, not have control imposed from the outside. Unfortunately, what we've seen develop in government as well as law and economics is the belief that people must be forced to do whatever people in power want them to do, thereby attaining some bureaucrat's or academic's idea of utopia.

And this is just "too rich"

We Have Seen the Future . . . And It Doesn't Work

The second means of job creation is for the State to subsidize jobs directly by paying businesses to hire people for whom the business would otherwise have no use. The funds for a direct State subsidy can only come from increasing taxes on the rich (in which case you take money away from the rich to hand back to the rich so they can afford to hire people they don't need to hire), or by increasing the deficit.

Thus, in the Weird World of Keynes, unless you want to stifle job creation by taking away the money the rich have to invest, increased government spending can only come by increasing the deficit. Why? Keynes believed that it is impossible to finance capital formation out of "future" or "forced" savings, that is, by extending capital credit to be repaid out of the future profits of the new capital itself.

According to Keynes, then, money to stimulate demand, subsidize jobs, or decrease the deficit cannot come from the rich, because in the Keynesian universe the savings and income of the rich are the only source of financing for new capital. If the government taxes away the wealth of the rich to decrease the deficit, the rich can't invest their savings in new capital formation, and no new jobs will be created. If the government taxes away the wealth of the rich in order to subsidize job creation, all that is accomplished is that the State takes money away just to hand it back — the situation remains the same, and no new jobs will be created, because the State simply restores the status quo: businesses reduce jobs to meet their tax bills, and then hire the people back to fill subsidized positions.

Viva San Giuseppe!

well, not being Italian, this was a delight to receive this morning:

Good Morning Mark and Happy St. Joseph’s Day!

I will attend a feast at a local restaurant with one of my friends at noon today.

I thought you might enjoy reading about the St. Joseph’s Day Feast and the wonderful tables prepared on this day.

Some of the first few links on the bottom of this page are not working, but those further on are enjoyable if you have the time.
God Bless you on this special day!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Holy Father to start reading internet?


An unforeseen mishap for me was the fact that the Williamson case came on top of the remission of the excommunication. The discreet gesture of mercy towards four Bishops ordained validly but not legitimately suddenly appeared as something completely different: as the repudiation of reconciliation between Christians and Jews, and thus as the reversal of what the Council had laid down in this regard to guide the Church’s path. A gesture of reconciliation with an ecclesial group engaged in a process of separation thus turned into its very antithesis: an apparent step backwards with regard to all the steps of reconciliation between Christians and Jews taken since the Council – steps which my own work as a theologian had sought from the beginning to take part in and support. That this overlapping of two opposed processes took place and momentarily upset peace between Christians and Jews, as well as peace within the Church, is something which I can only deeply deplore. I have been told that consulting the information available on the internet would have made it possible to perceive the problem early on. I have learned the lesson that in the future in the Holy See we will have to pay greater attention to that source of news.[italics mine] I was saddened by the fact that even Catholics who, after all, might have had a better knowledge of the situation, thought they had to attack me with open hostility. Precisely for this reason I thank all the more our Jewish friends, who quickly helped to clear up the misunderstanding and to restore the atmosphere of friendship and trust which – as in the days of Pope John Paul II – has also existed throughout my pontificate and, thank God, continues to exist.

Yes, Holy Father, some Catholics support you and your office unreservedly, and some will look for every excuse to attack you. You will discover this, reading the internet. It seems, why be surprised? It has nothing to do with Bishop Williamson, who is merely an excuse to renew the attack. They have hated you from the beginning...

If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, 'No slave is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me also hates my Father. If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But in order that the word written in their law might be fulfilled, 'They hated me without cause.' (John 15:18-25)

Continuing, The pope also has this to say:

The Church’s teaching authority cannot be frozen in the year 1962 – this must be quite clear to the Society. But some of those who put themselves forward as great defenders of the Council also need to be reminded that Vatican II embraces the entire doctrinal history of the Church. Anyone who wishes to be obedient to the Council has to accept the faith professed over the centuries, and cannot sever the roots from which the tree draws its life.
In our days, when in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel, the overriding priority is to make God present in this world and to show men and women the way to God. Not just any god, but the God who spoke on Sinai; to that God whose face we recognize in a love which presses "to the end" (cf. Jn 13:1) – in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. The real problem at this moment of our history is that God is disappearing from the human horizon, and, with the dimming of the light which comes from God, humanity is losing its bearings, with increasingly evident destructive effects.
From the Vatican, 10 March 2009
© Copyright 2009 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lenten retreat

The Bl. Margaret of Castello Chapter will be holding its second annual Lenten Retreat March 20-22, at the Chapter House in Homedale, and St. Paul Catholic Church in Nampa. This retreat will include a pilgrimage trip from Homedale to St. Paul in Nampa, in order to gain the plenary indulgence granted during the year of St. Paul.

Below is the schedule for the weekend.

Friday, March 20th

  • 2:30pm Stations of the Cross on the road to our Cross

  • 3:00pm Mercy Chaplet at the Cross

  • 3:30 to 5:30 Silent study with our Bibles on Romans provided by John Keenan

  • 5:30 to 7:00 Meal and socializing

  • 7:00pm Evening Prayer and preparation for Mass

  • 8:00pm Mass with Fr. Flores

  • Adoration following through the night.

Saturday, March 21st

  • 8:00am Breakfast at Gayle's

  • 9:30am Gather at Chapter House

  • 10:00am Presentations begin on the Book of Romans (Chapters covering mortification and suffering)

  • Lunch Break sometime

  • 3:00pm Mercy Chaplet

  • 3:30 Meet at St. Hubert's in Homedale for caravan to St. Paul's in Nampa

  • 5:00pm Mass at St. Paul's

  • Dinner following in Dempsy Hall

  • We're planning on doing Evening Prayer before we eat.

  • Saturday night "Wine & Star Gazing" at the Dominican Property

Sunday, March 22nd

  • Breakfast and Socializing til 12:00noon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Duty to Die in Idaho! Legislature Close to Passing Futile Care Bill

Wesley Smith has written about a bill in Idaho, S1114, which is an authorization of back-door euthanization of patients against their will and the will of the lawful decision maker.

Duty to Die in Idaho! Legislature Close to Passing Futile Care Bill

Idaho Futile Care Bill: Doctors Can Unilaterally Decide to Push People into the Grave

Unless it can be stopped, it looks like the insurance companies are getting what they want, the ability to tell physicians to kill their patients. This has been coming for a long time.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Church teaching enjoins all Catholics - even legislators

Church teaching enjoins all Catholics - even legislators
By Bishop Robert Vasa

The headline from Vatican City dated February 18, 2009 as reported by the Catholic News Agency (CNA) should have been neither shocking nor surprising but in many ways, it was both.

The story had been circulated that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be received by the Holy Father after his usual Wednesday Audience and this was accurate. There was a fear that somehow the Holy Father’s meeting would signal some kind of approbation of her erroneous thinking about life issues. The news story was very direct: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s photo-op with Pope Benedict XVI turned sour when the Pontiff used the 15-minute meeting to reaffirm the teachings of the Catholic Church on the right to life and the duty to protect the unborn.” Certainly this would have been “sour” for House Speaker Pelosi and perhaps it may have been a bit “sour” for other erroneously minded “pro-choice” Catholics but I find it difficult to describe it as “sour” in itself. For most in the Pro-Life Community, the news, far from being deemed “sour,” was received as a bit of fresh air, indeed even as “sweet.”

No one of us can afford to take any kind of gaudium or delight in the fact that the Speaker of the House was rather sternly rebuked. Rejoicing in this is to rejoice in her embarrassment and that lacks charity. It would also be uncharitable to rejoice that the gravity of the Speaker’s error necessitated such a reprimand by the Holy Father. Yet, in this, there is a cause for a suitable kind of rejoicing. One of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is to admonish the sinner and we can rejoice that this Spiritual Work is being exercised. We can be confident that the Holy Father did not do what he did in order to embarrass or vilify House Speaker Pelosi. We can be confident that he spoke and acted as he deemed was good and necessary for both the admonishment of the sinner and the instruction of the ignorant, another Spiritual Work of Mercy. This second Work of Mercy is further exercised on behalf of any of those who have been misled by some of Speaker Pelosi’s statements. The clarity of the Holy Father’s words also serve as a bit of counsel for the doubtful, yet another of the Spiritual Works of Mercy.

The news story continued: “No photo of Speaker Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and the Pope will be forthcoming since the meeting was closed to reporters and photographers. The two met in a small room in the Vatican just after the pope’s weekly public audience.” The fact that there were no photographs allowed could be interpreted to mean that the Holy Father did not want the media to send mixed messages, one in words and the other in pictures. I have no doubt that the Holy Father was nothing but extremely gracious when Madame Speaker met with him and a photograph of that graciousness could be used to put a different spin on the seriousness of the meeting. The disallowing of photographs puts an exclamation point at the end of the Official Press Release.

There is yet another Spiritual Work of Mercy which is operative here and it is one directed at all those who have grave concerns about the diminution of reverence for human life in our culture. The Holy Father’s decision and action stands as a great source of encouragement and even comfort to those who work so ardently in the Pro-Life trenches. The Spiritual Work is that of comforting the sorrowful. A vast number of increasingly discouraged Catholics, who are in many ways suffering and sorrowful over the ongoing legal disregard for our pre-born brothers and sisters, were greatly comforted and encouraged by the courage and clarity of the Holy Father.

The CNA news story then quoted the Official Statement of the Holy See’s press office: “Following the general audience the Holy Father briefly greeted Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, together with her entourage. His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in co-operation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.”

I think this is quite clear. It is even clearer when one looks more carefully at the operative verb, that simple word “enjoin.” The Church’s teaching “enjoins” all Catholics and especially legislators to create just laws which protect innocent human life. The dictionary defines enjoin quite strongly: “to direct, prescribe, or impose by order typically authoritatively and compellingly and with urgent admonition.” Thus the Holy Father is not issuing here a gentle reminder or a subtle suggestion, he is reiterating a directive with an urgent admonition. While this admonition was issued on the occasion of the House Speaker’s visit to the Vatican and while it was clearly issued for her benefit, it was not directed solely to her but rather also to all Catholics. It should serve for us all as a call to Lenten repentance.

Since I have covered four of the seven Spiritual Works of Mercy it is a good time to complete the roster with the final three. These final three are particularly appropriate for our Lenten reflection for they do not look at the weaknesses or shortcomings of others but rather at our own. How about bearing wrongs patiently or forgiving all injuries as a pair of focused Spiritual Works for Lent 2009? There is a lifetime of work in simply trying to achieve some measure of success with regard to these two.

Finally, one that we can all relatively easily participate in, to pray for the living and the dead.

In light of the present discussion there are many possible beneficiaries of our prayers and we generally remember the major ones in our petition prayers at Mass. There we always remember Pope Benedict XVI. There we also pray for government leaders and our personal petition for them should always include: “That they work to create a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development. We pray to the Lord.”

© 2009, Catholic Sentinel online edition

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Newsletter posted

I've completed the third issue of "Truth Be Told," the newsletter of the Laity of the Province of the Holy Name of Jesus.

This issue contains a focus on the bioethical issues which pertain to that time of life between conception and birth. This issue also contains my first attempt at a full-length original article.

God's blessings to you all,
Fraternally in St. Dominic,

Mark Gross, Editor
Truth be Told

PS: The newsletter has been sent to the usual posting location, but if it is not available there yet, it can be found here as well:

Barking moonbat alert!

Fr. Philip Neri Powell O.P., in his post "Rebels Without a Clue," has some insight into an unfolding rant and reaction to a Vatican visitation to religious sisters:
Here's my deadly serious challenge to Sr. Sandra and her ilk: Leave. Simply, leave. Go to another ecclesial communion that will celebrate your wingnut religiosity. If the Roman Catholic Church is so horribly oppressive, so unjustly bigoted, so irrecoverably patriarchal, and these features cause you so much distress and anguish, then leave! But see, you won't leave. Why? Because you have an ODD relationship with Church authority. If you join the Episcopalians, a group that will embrace you and all your moon-batness, if you join the Episco-pagans, you become the establishment. You become the norm, the regular. . .and since you are constitutionally incapable of forming a positive identity, you will cling for dear life to your oppositional-defiant identity in the RCC. You need the Pope. You need the hierarchy. You need the haunting spectre of an Evil Vatican Visitation. You need the orthodox sisters of the CMSWR. You need bloggers like me writing posts like this. . .ah well.

More at First Things

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Canonization of new Dominican saints slated for Oct 11, 2009

Consistory for Canonization

Archbishop Amato, recalled that Blessed Francisco Coll was born in Gombrèn (Gerona) in 1812. That he joined the Order of Preachers and in 1830 made his solemn profession. As soon as he was ordained deacon, Francisco was forced to abandon his beloved convent of Gerona because of the nefarious civil laws in Spain. When he was ordained in 1836, in accord with his “exclaustrated” religious superiors, he offered his pastoral services to the Bishop of Vic. He immediately became a great evangeliser for both the clergy and other faithful through the preaching of spiritual exercises and popular missions. He founded the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Anunciata in 1856 for the evangelization and education of the most needy. He continued his preaching tirelessly until his death on April 2, 1875. Archbishop Amato recalled the day of his beatification by the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, on April 29, 1979.

As regards Blessed Mary of the Cross Jugan, Archbishop Amato offered a biographical outline. He recalled her birth during the French Revolution in 1792 in Cancale, Brittany. Like Francisco Coll she lost her father when she was still very young. She dedicated herself selflessly to a job in order to earn some money and help her mother in the upkeep of her brothers. The Archbishop underlined her gift of self to God, an intention she formulated at the beginning of a mission in 1816. She worked in a hospital in Saint-Servan, joined the Third Order of the Heart of Mary founded by Saint John Eudes, and worked as a housekeeper at Miss Lecoq’s home. Her contact with the Brothers of the Order of St. John of God in Dinan led her to the foundation of a Congregation aimed at the service of the poor. She was elected Superior in 1842. However, the following year her work was centred on begging in order to help the needy, and the laying of the foundations for new communities. From 1852 onwards she retired to the novitiate house in La Tour, France. She died aged 86 in 1879. At time of her death, her Congregation had 2488 members. She was beatified by John Paul II, on October 3, 1982.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The spirit of mortification

Continuing from Divine Intimacy:
The true spirit of mortification embraces, in the fist place, all the occasions for physical or moral suffering permitted by divine Providence. The sufferings attendant on illness or fatigue; the efforts required by the performance of our duties or by a life of intense labor; the privations imposed by the state of poverty – all are excellent physical penances. If we sincerely desire to be guided by divine Providence in everything, we will not try to avoid them, or even to lighten them, but will accept wholeheartedly whatever God offers us. It would be absurd to refuse a single one of those providential opportunities for suffering and to look for voluntary mortifications of our own choice. Likewise, it would be foolish for those in religious life to omit the least exercise imposed by the Rule in order to do a penance of their own choosing.

It is exactly the same in the moral order. Do we not sometimes try to avoid a person whom we do not like, but with whom the Lord has brought us into contact? Do we look for every means of avoiding a humiliation or an act of obedience which is painful to nature? If we do, we are running away from the best opportunities for sacrificing ourselves and for mortifying our self-love; even if we substitute other mortifications, they will not be as effective as those which God Himself has prepared for us. In the mortifications offered to us by divine Providence, there is nothing of our own will or liking; they strike us just were we need it most, and where, by voluntary mortification, we could never reach.

In order to arrive at sanctity, a certain specified amount of voluntary penance is not required of all; this varies according to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the advice of superiors, and each one’s physical strength. All, however, must have that truly deep spirit of mortification which can embrace with generosity every opportunity for renunciation prepared or permitted by God.

Oh Lord, Lent after Lent, I have looked for what to give up that will be of benefit to me and pleasing to You; and all this time You have been providing the richest opportunities for renunciation in the very events of life. In the very words which turned my heart to You, "Not my will, but thine be done," is the renunciation, the mortification you showed us how to offer. deo gratia