Saturday, September 23, 2006
Here is another of those embarrassing "I grew up in the 1970s" confessions about my prior ignorance of the Faith. Though he died a year before I started first grade, I had no idea who Padre Pio was until about 1997, when I first started shopping extensively (weekly) at the gift shop (excellent selection of Catholic books from TAN and Ignatius) at the Carmelite Chapel at the North Shore Shopping Center in Peabody. I don't think he had ever been mentioned in my hearing. He was absolutely not on my radar screen. Well, here is a brief biography that partially makes up for my ignorance.
Now Saint Pio's Post Communion Prayer, "Stay With Me, Lord" is part of my morning prayer routine.
Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have Thee present so that I do not forget Thee. Thou knowest how easily I abandon Thee.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Thy strength, that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me, Lord, for Thou are my life, and without Thee, I am without fervor.
Stay with me, Lord, for Thou art my light, and without Thee, I am in darkness.
Stay with me, Lord, to show me Thy will.
Stay with me, Lord, so that I may hear Thy voice and follow Thee.
Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love Thee very much, and always be in Thy company.
Stay with me, Lord, if Thou wishest me to be faithful to Thee.
Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I wish it to be a place of consolation for Thee, a nest of Love.
Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes, death, judgement, and eternity approach. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not fall by the wayside and for that, I need Thee. It is getting late and death approaches. I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need Thee, my Jesus, in this night of exile!
Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers, I need Thee.
Let me recognize Thee as Thy disciples did at the breaking of bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion may be the light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.
Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to Thee, if not by Communion, at least by grace and love.
Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but, the gift of Thy Presence, oh yes, I ask this of Thee!
Stay with me, Lord, for it is Thee alone I look for. Thy Love, Thy Grace, Thy Will, Thy Heart, Thy Spirit, because I love Thee and ask no other reward but to love Thee more and more.
With a firm love, I will love Thee with all my heart while on earth and continue to love Thee perfectly during all eternity.
O God, Who hast commanded us to honor our father and mother, look in the tenderness of Thy mercy upon the souls of George, my father, and Kathryn, my mother, and forgive them their sins, and grant unto me the joy of seeing them again in the glorious light of everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord.
V. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord.
R. And may perpetual light shine upon her.
V. May she rest in peace.
An Irish boy was leaving,
leaving his own native home,
Crossing the broad Atlantic,
once more he wished to roam;
And as he was leaving his mother,
while standing on the quay,
She threw her arms around his neck
and these were the words she said:
A mother's love's a blessing,
no matter where you roam,
Keep her while she's living,
you'll miss her when she's gone;
Love her as in childhood,
though feeble, old and grey,
For you'll never miss your mother
'til she's buried beneath the clay.
And as the years go onward,
I'll settle down in life,
I'll find a nice young colleen,
and make her my sweet wife;
And as the kids grow older
and climb around my knee,
I'll teach them the very same lesson that
my mother once taught to me.
A mother's love's a blessing,
no matter where you roam,
Keep her while she's living,
you'll miss her when she's gone;
Love her as in childhood,
though feeble, old and grey,
For you'll never miss your mother
'til she's buried beneath the clay.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Oriana Fallaci, the Italian journalist who was not afraid to tell the truth about Islam and the threat it poses to Christendom, died very recently, and was buried in Florence on the 17th. I missed that one, but Lane Core did not. Requiescat in pace.
God bless him, coming back like that after a brain aneurysm! I have always been a big fan of his work.
And in other great baseball news, last night David "Big Papi" Ortiz tied Jimmie Foxx's record for most home runs during a single season for a Red Sox player (50). And this after a heart palpitation scare that more than stirred Boston fans' anguished memories of Reggie Lewis.
I have always wondered why, strategically, Libya was not included in the Axis Of Evil. And it would be a quick and easy operation overrunning it. Three heavy divisions could sweep aside the Libyan army and occupy the country in a matter of less than 2 weeks. Heaven knows the Khadafy regime deserves to be swept away, and Khadafy himself deserves to draw Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein as cell mates.
This is what The Golden Legend has to say about St. Matthew the Evangelist and Apostle.
The Calling of Saint Matthew, by Caravaggio c. 1600.
On the college level, BC (3-0) goes up against a North Carolina State team that desperately needs a win, as they have started the season at 1-2.
On the professional level, the Patriots' (2-0) offensive line has shown weakness, allowing Tom Brady to be sacked far too much. And the Denver Broncos will be looking to exploit that.
And St. John's Prep's (2-0) situation is kind of odd. They are supposed to (according to the schedule I published a couple of weeks ago) be playing Saturday at 1pm on the road against Springfield Commerce. That is a long road trip for a high school team. But oddly, the Globe says they are also playing Leominster. You don't play two football games on the same day in two widely seperated places. Something is wrong with the Globe's schedule, or some sort of glaring error has been made.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox, after taking 3 out of four from the Yankees last weekend, are limping to the finish, losing 2 in a row to the Twins, killing what miniscule hope remained for a dramatic charge to the AL Wild Card berth. Now the hot gossip is that Keith Foulke might end up back in the closer role next season, with Jonathan Papelbon moving to the starting rotation. Schilling, Wakefield, Papelbon, Beckett, Clement. it could be good, or it could be terrible. It would be better with a legitimate, proven, but not too old 20-game winner added in place of one of the last two.
I'm not sure whether to add this to the permanent links on the right. For now, I think I will just let it sit here. If it turns out to have some substance to it, maybe it will make my links.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
He makes Deval Patrick look sane and moderate.
Via Whispers In the Loggia
For an explanation of the Ember Days, check this from Holy Trinity's website.
And this from The Golden Legend.
Here is what I consider an excellent regimen for an embertide holy hour:
1) Sign of the Cross
2) Act of Contrition
4) Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity
5) Prayer Before A Crucifix
6) Invocation Of St. Michael the Archangel
7) Apostles' Creed
8) Prayer of St. Thomas More
9) Prayer of St. Terese of Avila To Redeem Wasted Time
10) Dies Irae
11) The Jesus Prayer (repeated nine times)
12) Prayer For the Souls In Purgatory
13) Aspiration Prayer For A Happy Death (A Subito)
14) Litany of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows
15) Stabat Mater Dolorosa
16) The Seven Penitential Psalms
17) The Seven Prayers of Saint Gregory
18) The Divine Mercy Chaplet
19) The Sign of the Cross
Former "leftist conscience" of the Clinton Administration (as if they needed one!) Deval Patrick won the Democrat nomination for governor last night, easily outdistancing establishment Democrat Tom Reilly and George Soros-Wannabe Chris Gabrieli.
About all the Republican governors of Massachusetts since 1990 have accomplished has been negative: preventing tax hikes. They have not had the power to get further tax cuts. How could they when the 40-seat state Senate has around 5 Republicans, and the 160-seat House has under 20? They don't have anything like a majority, and they don't even have enough votes in etiher house to sustain a veto.
And they have all been from the "moderate" wing of the party. "Moderate" in Massachusetts means you don't want violent criminals let out to prey on the population in a bacchanalia of gang and drug violence, and you don't want taxes raised to the point where middle-income people have to shave their hair and sell it to pay the DOR. But it also means that they have never seen a terribly destructive social innovation (gay "marriage". civil unions, abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning) that they are not enamored of, and willing to flout the GOP base to curry favor with the media over.
All these "moderate" Republican governors have had is the power to go over the heads of the legislature to the electorate. And with the Secretary of State and Attorney General both Democrats, the offices which control what goes to the voters as an initiative petition, the ability to go over the heads of the legislature to the voters directly has been severely limited. We see that amply reflected in the gay "marriage" amendment saga.
That is all that people who don't want to give the Democrats complete control of Massachusetts have to rally around. Keep their hands out of our wallets. That is it. With regard to everything else, Muffy will be just as bad as Patrick, just as egregiously wrong on the vital social issues, just in a less effective and more "moderate" way.
There are no conservative hopes in Massachusetts. I don't think there have been since the early-mid 1980s. They are the grave with Edward J. King, Gordon Nelson, and Ray Shamie, and in oblivion with Edward F. King. Looking at the next generation of political "leaders" those people sitting now on city and town councils and school committees, there is nothing but leftist Democrats as far as the eye can see.
New Hampshire is looking better and better.
I see Howie Carr is on the same wave length as I am.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
And if that were not enough, fall foliage seems to have jumped to an early start this year. You can monitor our foliage via The Foliage Network (among my New England links on the right anyway). I had a shock on Labor Day weekend, when I saw trees near the Prudential Center not only yellow, but shedding gusts of leaves in great torrents.
Football that counts is being played. The days have been growing noticeably shorter, both in the morning with later sunrises, and in the evening, with much earlier sunsets. The summer lethargy is being shed. The cobwebs of vacation are clearing. The kids are now not only back in school, but re-adjusting to the new routine. And if you can pick apples, and drink fresh cider, you can make mincemeat ahead of time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
All of that combines to stimulate, even in city and suburb-bred New Englanders like me, that fall feeling, that desire for home and hearth, that prelude to Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is time for walks amidst falling leaves, foliage trips to the Lakes and White Mountains, or the Coast of Maine, and serious thinking about food. A chap can sit out with his pipe during the day, and not be bothered by heat or humidity, or cold. And then there is the stunning panorama or a New England autumnal sunset.
As a child, I know I used to call the last 4 months of the year "the Brrrs"; "Septembrrr" (for its chilly mornings waiting for the school bus when the sun is barely up) "Octobrrr" (for its chilly nights, with frost on the pumpkin), "Novembrrr" (because it can start seriously snowing then), and "Decembrrr" ('cause Jack Frost is nipping at your nose and everyone is jonesing for a White Christmas).
No other place on earth is like New England in the fall. No place else has the pleasant, cool weather for so long, or the startling brilliance of our foliage, or the unique vistas that allow for panoramic views of mountainsides carpeted in vermilion, scarlet, green, and lemon, the picturesque rocky shore front with bright red maples. No where else can you feel the hair on the back of your head rise, as you drive past a 1720 farmhouse decorated with cornstalks and pumpkins, stirring up an eddy of leaves as your car passes, or trace an ancient dry-laid stone wall that once marked meadow from orchard, but is now just a relic reminding you of Robert Frost.
We relish our falls here in New England. And though most of us have lost touch with our roots, where conservatism is deep (just think of John Adams, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Orestes Brownson, and even Calvin Coolidge) we remain New Englanders, and take pride in the treasure that is a New England Autumn. Without further ado, I bring it to you now:
And if you liked this photo essay, here is the one I did last year.
Actually, I posted two autumn photo essays last year. Here is the second one.
Martyrdom of Saint Januarius, by Girolamo Pesce 1727
This is the facade of the Duomo, the Cathedral of Naples where the bones, and the blood vial, of Saint Januarius rest. We explored the Doumo here last year as a Catholic Cultural Heritage Images installment.
The reliquary in which the blood vial of Saint Januarius rests.
I had just mentioned former Massachusetts Governor Edward J. King in yesterday's blog about today's primary election. What a shock it was to see his name again in the paper this morning, it being the sad news of his death. Governor King had suffered a fall at his home in florida this past winter, and had been hospitalized a few times since. He had surgery to correct injuries incurred in the fall recently, and died yesterday of complications, at the age of 81. This is a sad loss of a fine businessman, family man, Catholic, and excellent leader of the Commonwealth. Requiescat in pace.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Best Title Ever for a piece of Music
Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor On the Bedpost Overnight?
Most Underrated Guitarist
Music that moves me to Tears
The Old Man and A Mother's Love's A Blessing
Most Unusual Lead Instrument in a Piece of Music
mandolin in the Vivaldi concerto used in the movie, The War of the Roses.
Coolest Name for a Rock and Roll Band
Guns and Roses
Worst Genre of Music Ever
RAP, which to me just means Retards Attempting Poetry
Best Guitar Jam
I have no idea. I don't really like guitar and don't pay attention to much modern music.
Music that has ever scared your kid
I suppose I could take the easy way out, since I don't have kids. But the music that makes me tremble in fear and loathing is played most every Sunday in most Catholic parishes in the US: the works of Marty Haugen and David Haas.
National Anthem that gets the Blood Pumping
God Save the King, especially the suppressed final stanza that calls on God's help to crush the rebellious Scots.
I tag anyone who feels like playing.
So that leaves his lieutenant governor, Kerry Murphy Healy, whose big accomplishment is that she is some rich guy's trophy wife (she is almost univerally called Kerry "Muffy" Healy). All you need to know about her is that she is a liberal Republican, unacceptably to the left of me on every social issue. She was born Catholic, but left the Church. No great loss there.
There is an independent in the race, whose presence will almost certainly push the corner office to the Democrats in November. Christy Mihos made his reputation as a renegade on the Mass Turnpike Board. And he earned some grudging respect for getting under Fat Matt Amorello's skin. But, like Healy, he is liberal on everything that counts: abortion, gay "marriage," stem cells, and so on. No help there.
And then there are the Democrats. They have been falling all over each other in their efforts to prove who is more in favor of gay "marriage" than the others. So you know there is no one to vote for there.
For the record, the Democrat candidates are Attorney General Tom Reilly. Reilly is a publicity-seeking hack and career state Democrat pol. He would be considered the "normal" or establishment Democrat candidate. And that means his every social, economic, law and order impulse is totally wrong for Massachusetts, the nation, and the world. So he, like most other Democrats, is basically a socialist. And an extreme social liberal.
Then there is former Clinton Assistant Attorney General Deval Patrick. Back in the Clinton Administration, he was sometimes one of the leftist true believers of that messed up bunch. His views on everything are worse than Reilly's. He is basically the Commie Pinko candidate. There is no common ground between me and him at all. We are on totally different planets. Me on earth, him on planet Malcolm MarX.
Then there is Chris Gabrielli, who ran for lieutenant governor 4 years ago under Shannon O'Brien, the wholly-owned subsidiary of the labor unions. His background is in business, where he made himself a fortune. But he is another liberal Democrat. His views on social issues rule him, also, out of consideration. I like to think of him as a slightly less extreme example of George Soros, without as much money. That puts him in perspective.
So, what will happen?
There is no conservative candidate in the race. In tomorrow's primary, since Muffy Healy is unopposed in the Republican primary, she gets a pass, as does Mihos. Tomorrow, everyone except the 285 registered Republicans (all except me being over the of age 87) in this state will be voting in the Democrat primary. Reilly has more name recognition. Gabrielli has more money. Patrick has more looney leftists supporting him. If he gets out his moonbat base, Patrick wins. And after all, it is not as if his base does anything that might interfere with voting, like work.
If the turnout is low, Reilly stands a chance to prevail on name recognition, but his campaign has been flat, and uninspired. This should have been Reilly's race to lose. And he is going into this primary trailing in the polls.
No matter who wins, Massachusetts loses big time. We have not had a really good governor, conservative on social issues, on economic issues, and tough on violent criminals, since Ed King between 1979-1983. You remember Ed King, Ronald Reagan's "favorite Democrat" (who now lives in Florida, and made the inevitable switch to the GOP years ago). All the Republicans who have held the office since 1990, Bill Weld, Paul Cellucci, Jane Not-So-Swift, and Mitt Romney, have been liberal empty suits, who, at best, tried to keep taxes down. But they didn't do one flipping thing to build a Republican Party in this state.
Almost certainly, come January, a Democrat will be taking the oath of office as governor. Which will give them complete control of all branches of Massachusetts government. Add to control of the governor's office and the state executive bureaucracy, all othe other state-wide constitutional offices, predominant control of both houses of the state legislature (by the most ridiculously lopsided margins), control of almost all the city and town councils in the state, control of the entire congressional delegation, and most of the judgeships. It will be as if Pope's Dunciad had come to life here in 21st century Boston. William Butler Yeats had it right in his famous poem, The Second Coming.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
We shall know more of our doom tomorrow. Tomorrow night, we shall know what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Beacon Hill to be born.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
It began yesterday morning, when the Saint John's Prep Eagles handily beat Central Catholic 27-17. Saint John's Prep has been getting a lot of coverage from the Globe this year, and I suspect this year's team is very good and may go far. They are now 2-0 on the season.
The BC Eagles are not exactly making things look easy, as they took 2 overtimes and a disputed call that needed to be reviewed via replay to beat Brigham Young University 30-23. This was their second double-overtime win in a row. They are 3-0 on the season. But BC continues to get no respect from the national "bawl" establishment. They are now ranked 20th (up from 23rd) but 7 teams that are 2-1 are ranked ahead of them, including the Clemson team they beat last week!!!
The Patriots play the Jets in a match-up of division rivals currently tied for first place (they are both 1-0) this afternoon. The Pats are favored going in. The game starts shortly.
Even our sorry Red Sox (now 11.5 games back, and 8 games out of the Wild Card race) managed to split a double-header with the Yankees in New York yesterday. They are playing another double-header today, and at this moment are tied 2-2 in the early innings of the first game.
Monday Morning Update:
Well, the Pats made it a clean sweep, beating the Jets 24-17, for undisputed control of first place in the AFC East. And even the Red Sox showed some life, winning both games of the doubleheader (and 3 out of 4 in the series) from the Yankees. In New York, of all places. Too bad this flash of brilliance came so long after the season was already in the garbage can.
The Introit for this Sunday, which now goes under the name of the Sunday of the widow of Naim, because of the Gospel read on it, gives us a sample of the prayers we should address to our Lord in our necessities. Last Sunday we heard our Jesus promising to provide for all our wants, on the condition that we would serve Him faithfully, by seeking His kingdom. When we present our petitions to Him, let us show Him the confidence He so well deserves from us; and we shall be graciously heard.
Holy Church resumes the lesson of St. Paul, where she left it last Sunday. The spiritual life--the life produced in our souls by the holy Spirit, in place of the former life of the flesh--is still the subject of the apostle's teaching. When the flesh has been subdued, we must beware of supposing that the structure of our perfection is completed. Not only must the combat be kept up after the victory, under penalty of losing all we have won, but we must also be on the watch, lest one or other of the heads of the triple concupiscence take advantage of the soul's efforts being elsewhere directed, to raise itself against us, and sting us all the more terribly, because it is left to do just as it pleases. The apostle warns us here of vain-glory, and well he may; for vain-glory is, more than other enemies, always in a menacing attitude, ready to infuse its subtle poison even into acts of humility and penance; hence the Christian, who is desirous to serve God, and not his own gratification, by the virtues he practises, must keep up a specially active vigilance over this passion.
Let us think for a moment of the madness that culprit would be guilty of, who having his sentence of death commuted for a severe flogging, should take pride in the stripes left in his body by the whip! May this madness never be ours! It would seem, however, as though it were far from being impossible, seeing how the apostle, immediately after telling us to mortify our flesh, bids us take heed of vain-glory. In fact, we are not safe on this subject, excepting inasmuch as the outward humiliation, inflicted by us on our body, has this for its principle, that our soul should voluntarily humble herself at the sight of her miseries. The ancient philosophers, too, had their maxims about the restraint of the senses; but those among them who practised those admirably worded maxims found them a stepping-stone for their pride to mount up mountains high in self-conceit. It could not be otherwise; for they were totally devoid of anything like the sentiments which actuated our fathers in the faith, who, when they clad themselves in sackcloth and prostrated on the ground, cried out from the heartfelt conviction of the miseries of human nature:`Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy! for I was conceived in iniquities, and my sin is ever before me!'
To practise bodily mortification, with a view to get the reputation of being saints, is it not doing what St. Paul here calls sowing in the flesh, that in due time--that is, on the day when the intentions of our hearts will be made manifest--we may reap, not life and glory everlasting, but endless disgrace and shame? Among the works of the flesh mentioned in last Sunday's Epistle, we found contentions, dissensions, jealousies, all of which are the ordinary outcome of this vain-glory, against which the apostle is now warning us. The production of such rotten fruits would be an unmistakable sign that the heavenly sap of grace had gone from our souls, and that in its stead there had been brought the fermentation of sin; and that now, having made ourselves slaves as of old, we must tremble because of the penalties threatened by God's law. God is not mocked; and as to the confidence which generous fidelity of love imparts to those who live by the Spirit, it would, in the case we are now supposing, be but a hypocritical counterfeit of the holy liberty of the children of God. They alone are His children, whom the holy Spirit leads in charity; those others are led on by the flesh, and such cannot please God.
If, on the contrary, we would have an equally unmistakable sign which is quite compatible with the obscurities of faith, that we are really in possession of divine union, let us not take occasion from the sight of others' defects and faults to be puffed up with pride, but rather from the consideration of our own miseries, be indulgent to everyone else. If others fall, let us give them a helping and prudent hand. Let us bear one another's burdens along the road of life, and then, having thus fulfilled the law of Christ, we shall know (and oh! the joy there is in such knowing!) that we abide in Him, and He in us. These most thrilling words were made use of by our Lord to express the future intimacy He would have with those who should eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood in holy Communion; and St. John, who has recorded them in his Gospel, takes them and uses them in his Epistles, and (let us mark the deep mystery of the application) applies them to all who, in the Holy Ghost, observe the great commandment of loving their neighbours.
Would to God we could ever have ringing in our ears the saying of the apostle: Whilst we have time, let us work good to all men! For the day will come (and it is not so very far off) when the angel, carrying the mysterious book, and having one foot on the earth and the other on the sea, shall make his mighty voice as that of a lion heard through the universe, and, with his hand lifted up towards heaven, shall swear by Him that liveth for ever and ever, that time shall be no more. Then will man reap with joy what he shall have sown in tears; he failed not, he grew not weary of doing good while in the dreary land of his exile; still less will he ever tire of the everlasting harvest, which is to be in the living light of the eternal day.
As we sing the Gradual, let us remember that the only praise which gives God pleasure is that which goes up to Him from a soul where reigns the harmony of the several virtues. The Christian life, which is regulated by the ten commandments, is the ten-stringed psaltery, on which the Finger of God, the Holy Ghost, plays to the Spouse the music that He loves to hear.
This is the second time during the year that holy Church offers this Gospel to our consideration; we cannot be surprised at this, for the fathers selected by her as its interpreters tell us, on both of these occasions, that the afflicted mother who follows her son to the grave is the Church herself.
The first time we saw her under this symbol, of a mother mourning for her child, was in the penitential season of Lent. She was then, by her fasting and prayer (united as those were with her Jesus' sufferings), preparing the resurrection of such of our brethren as were dead in sin. Their resurrection was realized, and we had them, in all the fullness of their new life, seated side by side with us at the Paschal Table. What exquisite joy, on that feast of feasts, inundated the mother's heart, as she thus shared in the triumphant gladness of her divine Spouse! Jesus was, by His one Resurrection, twice over the conqueror of death--He rose from the grave, and He gave back the child to the mother. The disciples of this risen Lord, who follow Him closely by their observance of the evangelical counsels, they, and the whole multitude that associated themselves with the Church, glorified Jesus for His wonderful works, and sang the praises of God who thus vouchsafed to visit His people. The mother ceased to weep. But since then the Spouse has again left her, to return to His Father; she has resumed her widow's weeds, and her sufferings are continually adding to the already well-nigh insupportable torture of her exile. And whence these sufferings? From the relapses of so many of those ungrateful children of hers, to whom she had given a second birth, and at the cost of such pains and tears! The countless cares she then spent over her sinners, and that new life she gave them in the presence of her dying Jesus--all this made each of the penitents, during the Great Week, as though he were the only son ofthat mother. What an intense grief, says St. John Chrysostom, that so loving a mother should see them relapsing, after the communion of such mysteries, into sin which kills them!`Spare me,' as she may well say, in the words which the holy doctor puts into the apostle's mouth.`Spare me! No other child, once born into this world, ever made his mother suffer the pangs of child-birth over again!' To repair the relapse of a sinner costs her no less travail than to give birth to such as have never believed.
And if we compare these times of ours with the period when sainted pastors made her words respected all over the world, is there a single Christian still faithful to the Church, who does not feel impelled by such contrast to be more and more devoted to a mother so abandoned as she now is? Let us listen to the eloquent words of St. Laurence Justinian on this subject.`Then,' says he,`all resplendent with the mystic jewels wherewith the Bridegroom had beautified her on the wedding-day, she thrilled with joy at the increase of her children, both in merit and in number; she urged them to ascend to ever greater heights; she offered them to God; she raised them in her arms up towards heaven. Obeyed by them, she was, in all truth, the mother of fair love and of fear; she was beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array, She stretched out her branches as the turpentine-tree, and beneath their shadow she sheltered those whom she had begotten against the heat, and the tempest, and the rain. So long, then, as she could she laboured, feeding at her breasts all those she was able to assemble. But her zeal, great as it was, has redoubled from the time she perceived that many, yea very many, had lost their first fervour. Now for many years she is mourning at the sight of how, each day, her Creator is offended, how great are the losses she sustains, and how many of her children suffer death. She that was once robed in scarlet has put on mourning garments; her fragrance is no longer perceived by the world; instead of a golden girdle, she has but a cord, and instead of the rich ornament of her breast, she is vested in haircloth, Her lamentations and tears are ceaseless. Ceaseless is her prayer, striving if, by some way, she may make the present as beautiful as times past; and yet, as though it were impossible for her to call back that lovely past, she seems wearied with such supplication. The word of the prophet has come true:``They are all gone aside, they are become unprofitable together; there is none that doth good, no, not one!'' . . .The manifold sins committed by the Church's children against the divine precepts show that they who so sin are rotten members, members alien to the body of Christ. Nevertheless the Church forgets not that she gave them birth in the laver of salvation; she forgets not the promises they then made to renounce the devil, and the pomps of the world, and all sin. Therefore does she weep over their fall, being their true mother, and never losing the hope of winning their resurrection by her tears. Oh what a flood of tears is thus every day shed before God! What fervent prayers does this spotless virgin send, by the ministry of the holy angels, up to Christ, who is the salvation of1 sinners! In the secret of hearts, in lonely retreats, as well as in her public temples, she cries out to the divine mercy, that they, who are now buried in the filth of vice, may be restored to life. Who shall tell the joy of her heart, when she receives back living, the children she mourned over as dead? If the conversion of sinners is such joy to heaven, what must it be to such a mother? According to the multitude of the sorrows of her heart, so will be the consolations, giving joy to her soul.'
It is the duty of us Christians, who by God's mercy have been preserved from the general decay, to share in the anguish of our mother, the Church; we should humbly but fervently co-operate with her in all her zealous endeavours to reclaim our fallen brethren. We surely can never be satisfied with not being of the number of those senseless sons who are a sorrow to their mother, and despise the labour of her that bore them. Had we not the holy Spirit to tell us how he that honoureth his mother is as one that layeth up to himself a treasure, the thought of what our birth cost her would force us to do everything that lies in our power to comfort her. She is the dear bride of the Incarnate Word; and our souls, too, aspire to union with Him. Let us prove that such union is really ours by doing as the Church does; that is, by showing in our acts the one thought, the one love which the divine Spouse always imparts to souls that enjoy holy intimacy with Him, because there is nothing He Himself has so much at heart; the thought of bringing the whole world to give glory to His eternal Father, and the love of procuring salvation for sinners.
Let us unite with the Church, our mother, in singing now in the Offertory the realization, in part at least, of her expectations; let not our lips ever be shut up in senseless silence when we have our God bestowing favours on us.
And I can't plead that I was sick, or dead, or in durance vile. Just too busy with work and limited in computer time. I haven't even been reading other blogs these past ten days.
On the positive side, I have added a few images to the Our Lady of Sorrows album at Recta Ratio 3 Yahoo Group, the one devoted to images of Our Blessed Lady. But that is about all I have managed.
This week should be a little better, at least early in the week.