Tuesday, August 04, 2020
Here is what The Golden Legend has to say about him.
And the Catholic Encyclopedia
It was Saint Dominic who first put the Rosary in the form we know it.
Saint Dominic, please pray for us!
Sunday, August 02, 2020
August 1st was the date of his death, and is his feast in the ordinary mode of the Latin Rite. In the extraordinary mode, his feast is August 2nd, presumably to avoid conflict with that of Saint Peter Ad Vincula.
His biography from the Catholic Encyclopedia
There is an excellent short biography (20 pages, lavishly illustrated) by Brother Matthew, MICM, of Saint Alphonsus in a 1998 back issue of From the Housetops that I currently have. It can be ordered here.
I cannot personally recommend his The Glories of Mary highly enough. It is not just a book that every Catholic should own, but one that every Catholic should study and take to heart.
A selection of his spiritual writings, and those of other Redemptorists, is available on the website of the Papastronsay Sons Of the Most Holy Redeemer (formerly known as the Transalpine Redemptorists).
I highly recommend his Visits To the Blessed Sacrament, as well.
His method for making the Stations of the Cross is the very best and most timeless ever. I speak as one who grew up with the ever-so-au-courant version with pictures of little kids burned by napalm in Vietnam and other images of the 1960s rather than with genuine Catholic tradition. The best version of Saint Alphonsus' Stations, convenient for carrying with you into church for the devotion, is available from TAN for only $1.50.
Saint Alphonsus, who suffered terrible arthritic pain and a curvature of the spine that left his chin impressed onto his chest for the last years of his life, is the patron of those suffering from arthritis.
He painted this crucifix:
This is one of his most urgent sermons:
Sermon for the Third Sunday After Easter, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:
THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
On the value of time.
"A little while, and now you shall not see me” -John, xvi. 16.
There is nothing shorter than time, but there is nothing more valuable. There is nothing shorter than time; because the past is no more, the future is uncertain, and the present is but a moment. This is what Jesus Christ meant when he said: 1' A little while, and now you shall not see me”. We may say the same of our life, which, according to St. James, is but a vapour, which is soon scattered for ever. “For what is your life? It is a vapour which appeareth for a little while” -James, iv. 14. But the time of this life is as precious as it is short; for, in every moment, if we spend it well, we can acquire treasures of merits for Heaven; but, if we employ time badly, we may in each moment commit sin, and merit Hell. I mean this day to show you how precious is every moment of the time which God gives us, not to lose it, and much less to commit sin, but to perform good works and to save our souls.
1. “Thus saith the Lord: In an acceptable time I have heard thee, and in the day of salvation I have helped thee” -Isa., xlix. 8. St. Paul explains this passage, and says, that the acceptable time is the time in which. God has determined to confer his favours upon us. He then adds: “Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” -II. Cor., vi. 2. The Apostle exhorts us not to spend unprofitably the present time, which he calls the day of salvation; because, perhaps, after this day of salvation, there shall be no salvation for US. The &time ' says the same Apostle, 'I is short: it remaineth that they that weep be as though they wept not; that they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as if they used it not” -1. Cor., vii. 29, 30, 31. Since, then, the time which we have to remain on this Earth is short, the Apostle tells those who weep, that they ought not to weep, because their sorrows shall soon pass away; and those who rejoice, not to fix their affections on their enjoyments, because they shall soon have an end. Hence he concludes, that we should use this world, not to enjoy its transitory goods, but to merit eternal life.
2. “Son”, says the Holy Ghost, “observe the time” -Ecel., iv. 23. Son, learn to preserve time, which is the most precious, and the greatest gift that God can bestow upon you. St. Bannerdine of Sienna teaches, that time is of as much value as God; because in every moment of time well spent, the possession of God is merited. He adds, that in every instant of this life a man may obtain the pardon of his sins, the grace of God, and the glory of Paradise.” Modico tempore potest homo lucrari gratiam. et gloriam”. Hence St. Bonaventure says, that no loss is of greater moment than the loss of time” -ser. xxxvil. in Sept.
3. But, in another place, St. Bernardine says, that, though there is nothing more precious than time, there is nothing less valuable in the estimation of men. “Nil pretiosius tempore, nil vilius reputatur” -ser. ii., ad Schol. You will see some persons spending four or five hours in play. If you ask them why they lose so much time, they answer: To amuse ourselves. Others remain half the day standing in the street, or looking out from a window. If you ask them what they are doing, they shall say in reply, that they are passing the time. And why, says the same saint, do you lose this time? Why should you lose even a single hour, which the mercy of God gives you to weep for your sins, and to acquire the divine grace? “Donec hora pertranseat, quam tibi ad agendam poenitentiam, ad acquirendam. gratiam, miseratio conditoris indulserit”.
4. O time despised by men during life, how much shall you be desired at the hour of death, and particularly in the other world! Time is a blessing which we enjoy only in this life; it is not enjoyed in the next; it is not found in Heaven nor in Hell. In Hell, the damned exclaim with tears: “Oh! that an hour were given to us”. They would pay any price for an hour or for a minute, in which they might repair their eternal ruin. But this hour or minute they never shall have. In Heaven, there is no weeping; but, were the saints capable of sorrow, all their wailing should arise from the thought of having lost in this life the time in which they could have acquired greater glory, and from the conviction that this time shall never more be given to them. A deceased Benedictine nun appeared in glory to a certain person, and said, that she was in Heaven, and in the enjoyment of perfect happiness; but that, if she could desire anything it would be to return to life, and to suffer affliction, in order to merit an increase of glory. And she added, that, to acquire the glory which corresponded to a single Ave Maria, she would be content to suffer till the day of judgment, the long and painful sickness which brought on her death. Hence St. Francis Borgia was careful to employ every moment of his time for God. When others spoke of useless things, he conversed with God by holy affections: and so recollected was he, that, when asked his opinion on the subject of conversation, he knew not what answer to make. Being corrected for this, he said: I am content to be considered stupid rather than lose my time in vanities.
5. Some of you will say: What evil am I doing? Is it not, I ask, an evil to spend your time in plays, in conversations, and useless occupations, which are unprofitable to the soul? Does God give you this time to lose it?” Let not”, says the Holy Ghost,” the part of a good gift overpass thee” -Eccl., xiv. 14. The workmen of whom St. Matthew speaks, did no evil; they only lost time by remaining idle in the streets. But they were rebuked by the father of the family, saying: “Why stand you here all the day idle?” -Matt., xx. 6. On the day of judgment Jesus Christ shall demand an account, not only of every month and day that has been lost, but even of every idle word. Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it on the day of judgment” -Matt., xii. 36. He shall likewise demand an account of every moment of the time which you shall lose. According to St. Bernard, all time which is not spent for God, is lost time.” Omne tempus quo de Deo non cogitasti, cogita te perdidisse” -Coll. I., cap. viii. Hence the Holy Ghost says:” Whatsoever thy hand is able to do, do it earnestly; for neither work nor reason shall be in Hell, whither thou art hastening” -Ecel., ix. 10. What you can do to-day, defer not till to-morrow; for, on to-morrow you may be dead, and may be gone into another world, where you shall have no more time to do good, and where you shall only enjoy the reward of your virtues, or suffer the punishment due to your sins.” To-day, if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts” -Ps., xeiv. 8. God calls you to confess your sins, to restore ill-gotten goods, to be reconciled with your enemies. Obey his call to-day; for it may happen that, on to-morrow, time may be no more for you, or that God will call you no more. All our salvation depends on corresponding with the divine calls, and at the time that God calls us.
6. But some of you will perhaps say: I am young; after some time I will give myself to God. But, remember that the Gospel tells us, that Jesus Christ cursed the fig tree which he found without fruit, although the season for figs had not yet arrived.“It was not the time for figs” -Mark, xi. 13. By this the Saviour wished to signify, that man at all times, even in youth, should produce fruits of good works; and that otherwise, like the fig tree, he shall be cursed, and shall produce no fruit for the future. “May no man hereafter eat any more fruit of thee for ever” -ibid., v. 14. “Delay not to be converted to the Lord, and defer it not from day to day; for his wrath shall come on a sudden” -Eccl., v. 8, 9. If you find your soul in the state of sin, delay not your repentance nor your confession; do not put them off even till to-morrow; for, if you do not obey the voice of God calling you to-day to confess your sins, death may this day overtake you in sin, and to-morrow there may be no hope of salvation for you. The Devil regards the whole of our life as very short, and therefore he loses not a moment of time, but tempts us day and night. “The Devil is come down unto you having great wrath, knowing that he bath but a short time” -Apoc., xii. 12. The enemy, then, never loses time in seeking to bring us to Hell: and shall we squander the time which God has given us to save our souls?
7. You say:I will hereafter give myself to God. But “why”, answers St. Bernard, “do you, a miserable sinner, presume on the future, as if the Father placed time in your power?” -serm. xxxviii. de Part., etc. Why do you presume that You will hereafter give yourself to God, as if he had given to you the time and opportunity of returning to him whenever you wish? Job said with trembling, that he knew not whether another moment of his life remained:” For I know not how long I shall continue, and whether after a while my Maker may take me away” -xxxii. 22. And you say: I will not go to confession to-day; I will think of it to-morrow. “Diem tenes”, says St. Augustine, “qui horam non tenes”. How can you promise yourself another day, when you know not whether you shall live for an hour? “If”, says St. Teresa, “you are not prepared to die to-day, tremble, lest you die an unhappy death”.
8. St. Bernardine weeps over the blindness of those negligent Christians, who squander the days of salvation, and never consider that a day once lost shall never return.” Transeunt dies, salutis et nemo recogitat sibi perire diem et nunquam. rediturum” -Serm. ad Scholar. At the hour of death they shall wish for another year, or for another day; but they shall not have it: they shall then be told that time shall be no more. What price would they not then give for another week, for a day, or even for an hour, to prepare the account which they must then render to God? St. Lawrence Justinian says, that for a single hour they would give all their property, all their honours, and all their delights. “Erogaret opes, honores, delicias, pro una horula” -Vit. Solit., cap. x. But this hour shall not be granted to them. The priest who attends them shall say: Depart, depart immediately from this Earth; for you time is no more. Go forth, Christian soul, from this world”.
9. What will it profit the sinner who has led an irregular life, to exclaim at death: Oh! that I had led a life of sanctity I Oh! that I had spent my years in loving God! How great is the anguish of a traveller, who, when the night has fallen, perceives that he has missed the way, and that there is no more time to correct his mistake! Such shall be the anguish at death of those who have lived many years in the world, but have not spent them for God. “The night cometh, when no man can work” -John, ix. 4. Hence the Redeemer says to all: “Walk whilst you have light, that the darkness overtake you not” -John, xii. 35. Walk in the way of salvation, now that you have the light, before you are surprised by the darkness of death, in which you can do nothing. You can then only weep over the time which you have lost.
10. “He hath called against me the time” -Thren., i. 15. At the hour of death, conscience will remind us of all the time which we have had to become saints, and which we have employed in multiplying our debts to God. It will remind us of all the calls and of all the graces which he has given us to make us love him, and which we have abused. At that awful moment, we shall also see that the way to salvation is closed for ever. In the midst of these remorses, and of the torturing darkness of death, the dying sinner shall say: Oh! fool that I have been! O life mispent! O lost years, in which I could have gained treasures of merits, and have become a saint I but, I have neglected both, and now the time of saving my soul is gone for ever. But, of what use shall these railings and lamentations be, when the scene of this world is about to close, the lamp is on the point of being extinguished, and when the dying Christian has arrived at that great moment on which eternity depends?
11. “Be you then also ready; for, at what hour you think not, the Son of Man will come” -Luke, xii. 40. The Lord says: “Be prepared”. He does not tell us to prepare ourselves when death approaches, but to be ready for his coming; because when we think least of death, the Son of Man shall come and demand an account of our whole life. In the confusion of death, it will be most difficult to adjust our accounts, so as to appear guiltless before the tribunal of Jesus Christ. Perhaps death may not come upon us for twenty or thirty years; but it may also come very soon, perhaps in a year or in a month. If any one had reason to fear that a trial should take place, on which his life depended, he certainly would not wait for the day of trial, but would as soon as possible employ an advocate to plead his cause. And what do we do? We know for certain that we must one day be judged, and that on the result of that judgment our eternal, not our temporal, life depends. We also know that that day may be very near at hand; and still we lose our time, and, instead of adjusting our accounts, we go on daily multiplying the crimes which will merit for us the sentence of eternal death.
12. If, then, we have hitherto employed our time in offending God, let us henceforth endeavour to bewail our misfortune for the remainder of our life, and say continually with the penitent King Ezechias: “I will recount to thee all my years in the bitterness of my soul” -Isa., xxxviii. 15. The Lord gives us the remaining days of life, that we may compensate the time that has been badly spent.” Whilst we have time, let us work good” -Galat., vi. 10. Let us not provoke the Lord to punish us by an unhappy death; and if, during the years that are past, we have been foolish, and have offended him, let us now attend to the Apostle exhorting us to be wise for the future, and to redeem the time we have lost.” See, therefore, brethren, now you walk circumspectly, not as unwise, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil,... understanding 'g what is the will of God” -Epli., v. 15, 16, 17. “The days are evil”. According to St. Anselm, the meaning of' these words is, that the days of this life are evil, because in them we are exposed to a thousand temptations are evil; and dangers of eternal misery; and therefore, to escape perdition, all possible care is necessary. “What”, says St. Augustine, “is meant by redeeming the time, unless, when necessary, to submit to temporal loss in order to gain eternal goods?” -de hom. 50, hom. 1. We should live only to fulfil with all diligence the divine will; and, should it be necessary, it is better to suffer in temporal things, than to neglect our eternal interests. Oh! how well did St. Paul redeem the time which he had lost! St. Jerome says, that though the last of the apostles, he was, on account of his great labours, the first in merits.” Paul, the last in order, but the first in merits, because he laboured more than all”. Let us consider that, in each moment, we may lay up greater treasures of eternal goods. If the possession of all the land round which you could walk, or of all the money which you could count in a day, were promised you, would you lose time? or would you not instantly begin to walk over the ground, or to reckon the money? You now have it in your power to acquire, in each moment, eternal treasures; and will you, notwithstanding, mispend your time? Do not say, that what you can do to-day, you can also do to-morrow; because this day shall then be lost to you, and shall never return. You have this day; but perhaps to-morrow will not be given you.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, please pray for us!
Saturday, August 01, 2020
The Feast of Saint Peter Ad Vincula is the Feast of Peter's Chains. Saint Peter, having been arrested, was held in custody, but miraculously was permitted to escape. Two links said to be from the chain that he was confined in are venerated at the church of Saint Peter Ad Vincula at Rome.
The Feast of Saint Peter's Chains was superimposed over the pre-Christian start of the harvest festivals (but with less success than with Christmas, Easter, and All Saints' Day). Though Lammas has lost much of its significance in the last hundred years, it has more cultural resonance than Saint Peter's Chains.
In Western Europe, the harvest is about 3 weeks earlier, on average, than in New England. We think of harvest time as September and October. But even in our own suburban gardens, aren't the first tomatoes ready about now? Raspberries and blackberries are a few days away. Sweet corn is about ready here. Apples will start ripening in a few weeks. Six weeks to fresh sweet cider!
While we are in agriculture mode, a rather rare thing for me, take a look at Mary Alexander's gardening tips.
Just because we are no longer an agricultural society does not mean that we need to lose touch with the traditional seasonal tempo of life.
This was also the beginning of the Autumn fair season. One still hears an Irish folk song called "The Oulde Lammas Faire."
At the Ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle long ago
I met a pretty colleen who set me heart a-glow
She was smiling at her daddy buying lambs from Paddy Roe
At the Ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!
Sure I seen her home that night
When the moon was shining bright
From the ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!
At the ould Lammas Fair boys were you ever there
Were you ever at the Fair In Ballycastle-O?
Did you treat your Mary Ann
To some Dulse and Yellow Man
At the ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!
In Flander's fields afar while resting from the War
We drank Bon Sante to the Flemish lassies O!
But the scene that haunts my memory is kissing Mary Ann
Her pouting lips all sticky from eating Yellow Man
As we passed the silver Margy and we strolled along the strand
From the ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!
There's a neat little cabin on the slopes of fair Knocklayde
It's lit by love and sunshine where the heather honey's made
With the bees ever humming and the children's joyous call
Resounds across the valley as the shadows fall
Sure I take my fiddle down and my Mary smiling there
Brings back a happy mem'ry of the Lammas Fair
For your edification in things edible and Irish, Dulse is a dried seaweed eaten as a vegetable, and Yellowman is a kind of toffee.
Think about it--there are 7 or 8 weeks to the Topsfield Fair and other fairs start before that. King Richard's Medieval Faire starts Labor Day weekend now. Many towns on the North Shore have their August festivals, probably the equivalent of the medieval fair near Lammas. Salem has its Heritage Days in August, a week-long festival of street fair, parade, and fireworks, along with ice cream "Scooper Bowls and Chowderfests. Beverly has Homecoming Week, and Newburyport has Yankee Homecoming this month.
Many towns in medieval and early modern Europe held large fairs on or near Lammas that brought people from far and near to the closest thing Europe then had to a mall. In medieval Europe, those fairs took on a much greater commercial significance than their descendants do today. The fairs were mobile, spending a few days in a given location (like a modern carnival).
The largest Lammas Fair that continues to this day is the Ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Lammas is the only resting point we have until the Feast of the Assumption in two weeks. It is our chance to assess how the summer is going, whether it will be an early autumn, or whether the heat will persist past Labor Day.
You don't need to be Haydn Pearson (The Countryman essayist in The New York Times 60 years ago) to notice that Autumn is on the way. Some sickly trees will start to change by the end of the month. In fact, one year I was shocked to see trees near the Prudential Center in Boston starting to turn yellow in mid July! Despite signs of the approach of fall, it may still be hot now and then, especially in early August. The "Dog Days," which began July 25th or so, may hold sway until the middle of the month. But the cooler days will start to be noticed more, especially after the fifteenth of August. By mid-month the growing shortness of the days will be evident.
With regard to the "Dog Days," a reader one year very helpfully sent this in for our edification (thank you very much!):
2) These Transitus days give us an extra bonus for feasting days of saints we love. St. Swithin's Feast is July 2, but "St. Swithin's Day" is July 15, his Transitus; and it is on the latter date that the weather depends. In France the weather saint is St. Medard (June 8), and the farmers know that "Quand it pleut a la saint-Medard, it pleut pour quarante jours plus tard."
In the USA, July 3 marks the beginning of Dog Days, and if it rains on this day, you'll have plenty of rain for the forty-day period of Dog Days. Plus the usual phenomena of dogs getting irritable and snakes biting more frequently, with especially powerful venom. My grandmother used to keep a dish filled with water in the yard for the dogs during Dog Days.
Autumn-themed decor started showing up in stores a few weeks ago. There were back-to-school displays (stacks of binders) in Walmart in June, a few days after school ended! And one weekend at the end of July, I saw in a TJ Maxx/HomeGoods store a startling array of fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving decorative items. What, no Christmas decorations yet? Well, yes. Lemaxx Christmas Village displays are popping up already in AC Moore and Michaels.
Unfortunately, I and my fellow ragweed allergy sufferers will start to be miserable in about 10 days, and will stay that way until the first hard frost in October. It has not bothered me as much in Salem or in Boston. Not much ragweed nearby to trouble me. But when I am in the suburbs, or in more rural areas, gosh do my sinuses act up!
May the Lord bless this harvest and provide ample food for all His people. As a practical matter, your local food pantry does not want you to bake a loaf of bread for them. But today, as we celebrate the harvest, it would be great to write a $10.00 check to them, so they can buy bread for ten families for the week.
Bread For Lammas
Since this is the day to celebrate first fruits of the wheat harvest, why not share a few recipes for bread? After all, grains are the staff of life, and are basic to our culture, indeed to all human survival. And the Bible is full of references to bread and its liturgical significance.
Our Lord decided upon bread as the form His Body would take for us.
The liturgical readings at Mass at this time of year focus on grain, wheat, bread, and the harvest.
And I must admit a terrific fondess for breads. Indeed, you might say that my body has never met a carbohydrate it did not take a serious liking to, and invite to stick around for life in a pleasant spot around my middle.
Vanilla Spice Bread
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 cups high-gluten bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1.Place water, milk, vanilla extract, brown sugar, white sugar, cardamom, coriander, vegetable oil, and salt into the pan of a bread machine in that order. Pour the flour onto the other ingredients, and sprinkle the flour with yeast. Set the bread machine to the Dough cycle; turn on the machine.
2.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x5-inch bread pan.
3.When the Dough cycle is completed, remove the dough from the machine, punch down if necessary, form into a loaf, and place into the prepared bread pan with the seam side down. Cover and let rise until doubled, 20 to 30 minutes.
4.Bake in the preheated oven until the loaf is golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to finish cooling on a rack.
Garlic Yeast Bread
2/3 cup water (70 to 80 degrees F)
2 teaspoons butter or margarine, softened
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
In bread machine pan, place all ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select basic bread setting. Choose crust color and loaf size if available. Bake according to bread machine directions (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed). Great for a roast beef sandwich.
Anise Almond Loaf
3/4 cup water (70 to 80 degrees F)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon anise seed
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1.In bread machine pan, place first eight ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select basic bread setting. Choose light crust color and loaf size if available. Bake according to bread machine directions (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed). Just before the final kneading (your machine may audibly signal this), add almonds.
Friday, July 31, 2020
Saturday, July 25, 2020
It is unusual to observe the feasts of two major unrelated saints on the same day, but today is also the feast of one of the most popular saints, Saint Christopher, the Christ-bearer, who is the patron of travellers.
Those in charge of the reform of the calendar thought they were doing us a favor when they decided that Saint Christopher was legendary, and removed him from the Ordo. But Catholics in the pews, the real John and Mary Catholics, have rejected this "reform" and remain attached to Saint Christopher. His medals are still for sale in just about every Catholic gift shop. And he remains very popular. He was martyred during one of the Roman persecutions of Catholics, that of the Emperor Decius.
Saint Christopher, please pray for us!
And of all the places I would like to go for a pilgrimage, Santiago de Compostella is right up there, right after Rome. A while back, I managed to put together an excellent array of images of this outstanding pilgrimage center. Even I am still impressed with these photos from various online sources.
Now, let us revisit Saint James the Moor-Slayer and his relevance to our times.
July 25th is such an important day, and Saint James has become such an important symbol for the faith. In legend, St. James became the first apostle of Spain. In theory, his remains lie buried at Santiago de Compostela (St. James of Compostela, "Iago" in Spanish meaning "James"). Santiago became the patron of Spain, and Compostela became the thrid most important pilgrimage place in Christendom, after Jerusalem and Rome.
It was during the Reconquista, when Spain was painfully, bit-by-bit, inch-by-inch recaptured from the Moslems over a period of centuries, that St. James allegedly appeared leading the Catholic armies of Spain against the Moslems. That is how he got the title Santiago Matamoros, Saint James the Moor-Killer.
This July 25th, we are marking the anniversary of the start of the Spanish Civil War, when the forces of Catholic Spain rallied again to end pagan depridation on the Catholic cultural heritage that is the strength of Spain. Members of my own Irish family played some small part fighting as soldiers in the cause of the Church in Spain in the 1930s.
Spanish nationalist coat of arms, including the Sacred Heart at the center
And today, all is not well again in Spain. It is not the enslaving Moors and the vile doctrines of armed Mohammedanism that are the greatest threat (though Spain, like the rest of Europe has too many Moslems living there and their birthrate is alarmingly high, threatening to overwhelm the native Catholic population and submerge Catholic Christendom into an Islamic state, if measures are not taken to stop the flow into Spain, and reverse it).
It is not the murderous Communists. Franco gave Spanish communism its richly-deserved death sentence in his 30 years in power.
It is the secularizing socialists, stripping Spain of all that is good and pure and pushing filth like gay "marriage," divorce, and abortion onto the Spanish people with the avidity of a drug pusher. And the Spanish people, degenerating from the solid examples of their fathers, are not blameless, since they elected this vile government that now misrules Spain.
And as Spain goes, so goes the US?
Spanish communists shooting at the Sacred Heart statue, which they later blew up, courtesy of Rorate Caeli
Catholic Spain needs a rallying point now. Carlist requites once went into battle against the communists and their thoroughly reprehensible international allies with the Sacred Heart, the Corazon Sagreda, pinned to their chests or in their berets. Why shouldn't the Sacred Heart again serve as a symbol for a revival of Catholic Spain?
And if the cause of Catholic revival is to take on specific meaning for Spaniards and others, why not a rallying cry: "For the Sacred Heart and Saint James!" "Por Corazon Sagreda et Santiago!"
But today, while Spain is a battlefield in the war with Islamofacism, the conflict between Christendom and Islamofacism is global. All of Christendom finds itself fighting against Islamofascism at almost every point of the globe where Islam and Christendom come into contact. The Sacred Heart is the traditional symbol of Catholic counter-revolution. But the Sacred Heart allied to the patronage of Saint James, who aided Spain in its battle against the Islamofacists of his day would be a very compelling and totally politically incorrect symbol of Christendom militant and unwilling to cave into the Mohammedans today.
In Afghanistan, we are still fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!
In Iraq, we are fighting al Qaeda In Iraq.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!
In Lebanon, Israel is fighting Hezbollah, and in Gaza, Hamas, both made up of militant Moslems, who, if they didn't have Israel to kick around, would be fighting us in Iraq. Even the supposedly "moderate" al Fatah Palestinian faction is part of the problem, allied as it is with Islamic Jihad and the Al Acqsa Martyrs Brigade. Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!
Iran threatens to develop, and maybe use, nuclear weapons. Iran and Syria are supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, and al Qaeda in Iraq.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!
In the Philippines, the Moro Liberation Front, essentially al Qaeda in the Philippines, is fighting the government, which is getting support from the US.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!
In Pakistan, and Indonesia, and Malaysia, we see Moslem groups, either part of or inspired by al Qaeda, attacking western, and specifically Christian, targets. In Pakistan, they bomb Christian hospitals and schools. In Indonesia, they blow up western tourist resorts.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!
In every Western nation, growing Moslem minorities threaten the peace, and often serve as recruiting grounds for Moslem terrorists. Look at the rail bombing in Spain which drove the solid previous Spanish government from power, and brought in this "surrender-to-the-terrorists-and-subvert-traditional-Spain" socialist government. In the UK, last July's rail and bus bombs were the work of Moslem terrorists. Numerous plots, all involving Moslems, have been thwarted here in the US since September 11th. Even France, so accomodationist to every enemy, was targeted by Moslem extremists, which caused weeks of destructive rioting by Moslem youths in the suburbs of Paris last fall.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!
In every country of the West, the destructive forces of liberalism and socialism threaten the fabric of Christendom. Growing secularization and moral relativism, feminism and egalitarianism are destroying traditional Western culture, and Christendom along with it. Today, the US is poised to elect as president an individual who represents this threat in the most stark manner we have ever encountered, out of mere ennui with the necessary war we wage, and some legitimate frustration with high prices for oil-based products. It would be the most feckless and irresponsible abdication of responsibility and leadership that the US has perpretrated on the West since the bug-out from Vietnam, and the worst blow it has inadvertently struck at Christendom ever. And western elites think this is the greatest thing that could happen.
I wrote that 7 years ago. It was all horribly correct, as we see the destruction of the West and Christendom, and especially traditional values under full scale assault both from within and from without.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!
SantIago Matamoros, pray for us!
Most Sacred Of Jesus, preserve us!
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Note, there has been much confusion, conflating this Mary with either the woman taken in adultery, or Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. I see that the error about her being the sister of Martha and Lazarus is perpetuated in my St. Joseph's Daily Missal (1959), and in the Roman Breviary. The best scholarship indicates that she is a distinct person, and not either of these other identities.
Saint Mary Magdalene, please pray for us!
Friday, July 17, 2020
Today is the feast day of the Blessed Carmelites of Compiegne. On July 17th, 1794 a number of Carmelites from that city were guillotined at Paris during the Reign of Terror. Their brutal execution and the manner in which they conducted themselves (mounting the scaffold singing Laudate Domino) helped end the terror. Within a week of their execution, Robespierre fell from power and was himself introduced to Madam Guillotine.
That is not merely post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning. The French public was genuinely shocked at the brutality of the executions of these holy women. And that shock led to a reaction against the Jacobins.
They are very worthy of admiration in my view on two counts. First they were members of the Carmelite order, for which I have a special reverence. The Carmelites were instrumental in bringing me back to an active faith and regular attendance. Secondly, they were martyred by the French revolutionaries in that orgy of blood known as the Terror. Anyone martyred for the sake of the Faith by the French revolutionaries, or the Spanish Communists, or the Russian, Chinese, Cuban, Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian Communists, or by the Moslems, or as part of the protestant rebellion, has a special place in my devotions and is a worthy example of the devotion we all ought to have for the Faith.
A few years ago, John at The Inn At the End of the World posted this about the Carmelite martyrs.