Saturday, March 27, 2004
No history of any sort of violent offenses. First time offender. Substantial presence in the community. No risk of repeat offense. Not a threat to society. Serious error in judgment. Victim probably would have died had O'Brien stopped or not; the guy was hit by 2 different cars.
I came across a book titled Saint Thomas More's Prayer Book. It was a facsimile copy of his Latin Book of Hours and Psalter, but had this prayer at the end. I have updated the English a little bit so that it can be better understood by the modern reader. I have also standardized the word order to make it more usable.
This strikes me as a great prayer for a monastic, or a prisoner, or someone else who has lost all but is struggling to retain faith, or more precisely, has only his faith left to him.
Give me the good grace, Lord,
To set the world at naught.
To set my mind fast upon Thee.
To not hang upon the blast of mens' mouths.
To be content to be solitary.
To not long for worldly company.
To be concerned with the world less and less.
To rid my mind of all the world's busy-ness.
To not long for any worldly things.
To deem unpleasant even hearing the of the world.
To be gladly thinking of God alone.
To call piteously for His help.
To lean upon God for comfort.
To labor busily to love Him.
To know my own vileness and wretchedness.
To make myself meek and humble under the mighty hand of God.
To bewail my past sins.
To suffer adversity patiently for the purging of them.
To bear gladly my Purgatory here.
To be joyful of tribulations.
To walk the narrow way that leadeth to life.
To bear the Cross with Christ.
To have the last things in remembrance.
To have my ever-possible always before my eyes.
To make no stranger to me.
To foresee and consider the everlasting fire of Hell.
To pray for pardon before the Judge comes.
To have continually in mind the Passion that Christ suffered for me.
To give Him thanks continually for His benefits.
To redeem the lost time that I have wasted.
To abstain from vain discussion.
To eschew light and foolish mirth and merriment.
To cut off unnecessary recreations.
To set the loss of worldly substance, friends, liberties, and life, at naught,
If their loss means the gaining of Christ.
To think my worst enemies my best friends,
For the brothers of Joseph could never have done him so much good
With their love and favor as they did with their malice and hatred.
These attitudes are more to be desired by every man than all the
Treasure of all the princes and kings, Christian and heathen,
Were it all gathered and laid together upon one heap.
We see a strong similarity in the Scripture readings for today. In both readings people are plotting against someone. They want to kill the prophet because they cannot bear to face the truth he speaks. Their attacks are malicious and hateful and come from hearts that have grown cold.
In the Gospel, Nicodemus tries to call the chief priests and the Pharisees back to their senses but they can no longer hear what he is saying. In less than two weeks we will see how their hatred consumes them as they get their way with the Roman government and have Jesus crucified. Just as Jeremiah speaks today of himself being “like a trusting Lamb led to slaughter” so is the groundwork being laid for Jesus to become the lamb that was slain. Just as Jeremiah takes refuge in God, Jesus lets nothing stop him from doing the will of his father. Both Jesus and Jeremiah are innocent victims of people who choose violence as a way of life. How many innocent victims continue to be slaughtered on our city streets? How many innocent people shed their blood as victims of war and domestic violence?
In these last days of the Lenten Season it may be well for us to look at the role violence plays in our life. What do we do in the face of violence? How do we work for right relationships in our families, communities, Church and world so that we do not become violent people? Does our language betray us? There are prophetic voices in our day. Are we able to hear them? How do we respond?
Reflection by: Sister Marie Laurent Klein, C.PP.S. (O’Fallon, Missouri)
Friday, March 26, 2004
Second, I find it highly unlikely that Cardinal Ratzinger has been put in charge of an investigation of a monastery. The assertion that he is in charge of a Vatican investigation of the Boston mess is laughable. He most certainly is not. Would that he were!!!
I have a couple of other candidates with similar profiles: Cardinal Newman, and Monsignor Ronald Knox.
Thanks to Amy Welborn for the link.
Readings: Wisdom 2: 1, 1222; John 7: 12, 10, 2530
“I am completely certain that when you become aware of the kind of ship that I am on, and how the tribulations and the crosses, which I adore in my spirit, are increasing day by day, you will not forget me in your prayers and, in an even more particular way, you will not cease doing whatever you can for the benefit of our society.” St. Gaspar (To Msgr. Bellisario Cristaldi, January 12, 1826, Letter 1297, Resources 11, pg 9)
Thorns, crosses, troubles are nothing new in the history of the church. What does this all prove? It proves that ours is a work of God: this is the manifest sign of it. Would you expect the devil to sit by? He cannot get rid of our society: he is just trying to upset it.
I urge all to be tranquil, quiet, well-ordered, recalling that we are all here on this earth to exercise virtue, and God never ceases to provide us with tests. Being enclosed by walls and being associated with companions is not what upsets us; rather, it is ourselves who have the strange idea of selecting our own crosses instead of carrying the ones that God sends. In short, we simply have not sufficiently died to ourselves. At any rate, since all of us have the firm resolution of doing good, we shall not be wanting in the means of making progress. St. Gaspar (To Fr. Tommaso Meloni, June 17, 1827, letter 1638, Resources 11, pg 12)
Do today’s readings make you feel like we are coming close to Good Friday? It is only two weeks a way, and, yes, the readings are turning toward the cross. St. Gaspar teaches us that thorns and crosses are nothing new. They are a manifest sign that God is at work. The power of evil contends against the presence of grace, and God keeps us tranquil in the midst of battle. If one is to love, one is willing to enter into the struggle and sometimes pain that love entails. Anything else is to remain with the superficial.
In the Gospel, the people had a superficial knowledge of Jesus. They knew where he was born and who his parents were. This is not the kind of knowledge an intimate friend has. This is the kind of knowledge a gossiper has. We are called to a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus. This relationship calls us to carry one another’s burdens and to enter into the experience of communion. This kind of life is not without its crosses, yet if we avoid the cross, we remain on the surface and miss the depths of life and love.
Where is God calling me to go deeper?
Am I picky about what crosses I'll carry?
Do I think I know who Jesus is?
Reflection by: Rev. Jeff Keyes, C.PP.S. (Province of the Pacific)
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Domenico Bettinelli found it first.
Of course, Gibson's movie is not the Gospels. But it follows them closely enough that anti-Christian critics have begun, not so discreetly, to attack the Gospels themselves as politically incorrect while attacking the movie.
Have some fun clicking around. Most of the images enlarge when clicked, but not all do. I don't know if I have a favorite, yet.
Update: Since the Del Sarto painting I had linked to individually is included here, I deleted that post as unnecessary.
I have also added on the right links to Last Judgment Images and Crucifixion Images (and Textweek Sacred Art, generally) from the same source. This Textweek seems like an interesting resource.
"The only man who has ever heard the words, 'This day, thou shalt be with Me in Paradise,' was a convicted thief."
My question is, how can you be sure it is not supposed to be the Blessed Mother? Whether it is a nun or the Blessed Mother, this is beyond the pale.
Urban Outfitters finally gives in.
Maria, gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Ave, ave dominus
Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus fructus ventris
Ventris tuae, Jesus.
Ora pro nobis peccatoribus
Ora pro nobis
Ora, ora pro nobis peccatoribus
Nunc et in hora mortis
Et in hora mortis nostrae
Et in hora mortis nostrae
Et in hora mortis nostrae
March 25th is a Quarter Day in Great Britain, like St. John's Day (Midsummer), Michaelmas, and Christmas. Quarterly rents would be due on this day.
Under the old Julian Calendar, which Britain did not abandon until the 1750s, March 25th was when the year changed (though New Years was popularly observed on January 1st even in the Middle Ages).
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
But since it is "only" a Catholic Church statue...
I have seen it violated more than once, even by good priests.
I call it a new barbarian invasion and look to more than the faith-related aspects, to the traditional social norms (like universal English, etc.).
But I think he would agree with me that, this time, there can be no safe Skellig Michaels (now you know what I mean by that phrase, since I explained it last week).
May the Holy Ghost guide his ministry.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
O my God! Source of all mercy! I acknowledge Your sovereign power. While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain. Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in "wedding garments." Amen.
Few need that prayer more than I do.
Courtesy of Catholic.org.
But those two priests are the only ones I have even heard the word "indulgences" from in the last 30 years. They were never mentioned in my 8 years of Catholic grammar school, or in my four years of Catholic prep school (except in history class in connection with the Reformation).
Well, here is the Enchiridion of Indulgences, as of 1968 (so it is post-Vatican II) for your edification.
There is a lot of merit to be gained through the recitation of ordinary prayers and the performance of routine pious acts. One catch is that you have to intend to gain the indulgence. An easy way around that (without memorizing the Enchiridion) is, every morning, to remind yourself in prayer that, for whatever prayers you say that day and whatever you do, you intend to obtain whatever indulgences you become eligible for through those prayers or pious acts. That is enough.
But before you start keeping track of how many hundreds or thousands of years your acts have gained you out of Purgatory, recall that in 1967, the number of days, etc. that used to be attached to the indulgence was done away with, since no one really understood how that worked correctly. All you get now is a partial indulgence or a plenary indulgence.
Another catch is that what is required to gain the indulgence (plenary) is that you have to receive the Holy Eucharist and make a good confession within a specified period of time after the act for which you are gaining the indulgence, or before the act. You also have to pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.
And there is yet one more requirement for a plenary indulgence. In addition to the above, you also have to be without attachment to sin, even the everyday sins that make up a good part of the lives of many people.
The definition of "attachment" reminds me of "repentence" in regard to confession. To be forgiven the sin, you must have a resolve at the time of confession not to commit it again. The fact that you do indeed commit it again, two hours after confession, does not lessen the fact that at the time of confession, you had a resolve to break free from the sin.
Catholic.org tries to explain the doctrine here.
Still, if performance of the prayers or acts is connected with receipt of the Sacraments and the prayer for the Holy Father's intention, and without attachment to sin, there is a great deal of merit to be gained. Even partial indulgences have great benefits. And those are much easier to obtain.
Not only did someone drop the ball, but leaving Grahmann in place with his record of misused power leads one to suspect he has something on somebody calling the shots in Rome.
With the exceptions of Hubbard in Albany, Mahony in Los Angeles, and McCormack in Manchester, NH I can't think of a more deserving candidate among the active US bishops for ignominious early retirement than Grahmann. Talk about missed opportunities!
Thanks to Otto Da Fe for the link.
Monday, March 22, 2004
This story about what happened to Catholics distributing flyers supporting the defense of marriage outside the Franciscans' St. Anthony's Shrine (not monastery) in downtown Boston makes that pretty clear.
I am currently reading a book I meant to read two years ago, George Weigel's The Courage To Be Catholic. He makes the point in a couple of places that the orders are in worse shape than the diocesan priesthood in regard to the number of open homosexuals and those otherwise opposed to the moral teachings of the Church that have been admitted in the last 50 years.
Case in point.
Who knows? Reasonable people yoked together for life in a legally unbreakable bond will learn to fall in love all over again. I don't think God brings couples together without good reason or an expectation that they will stick it out come what may.
They will certainly learn how to work through their problems and not run away from them like frightened petulent children (often using the cover of a court's restraining order, granted on the flimsiest of pretexts, to cover the flight and deprive the husband of his rights to live in his own home with his own family). Even after husbands and wives have done terrible things to each other, or, more likely, done terrible things without giving any thought to the other, they might be surprised at what reservoirs of love and good will remain.
In light of what couples promise each other and God at the altar (to stick with it in sickness and health, in good times and bad, for richer for poorer, for better or for worse until death) they ought to learn to live with, if not accept and condone, a vast array of human frailties. There are the annoying habits, the off-putting things that people don't notice until they have lived together for a few years. There is the whole panoply of addictive behaviour, and the whole roster of sins to learn how to deal with. The worst of them, in my experience, is pride. I can't even begin to tell you in this forum the grief my own has caused in my own life.
With the help of a well-trained and experienced priest like Father Keyes and the other members of the Retrouvaille group, or similar groups, folks can work through anything with good will. God's grace is enough to bring even seemingly dead marriages back to life and love, even where there seems to be no hope in the world for love, even where every material factor seems to weigh against the chance of success.
And the Church in the US, Canada, and Western Europe has not helped society or the family by rubber-stamping annulment petitions. Most diocesan tribunals approve 90% or more of the petitions that come before them. Some sharp canon lawyers openly brag that there is not a single marriage that they cannot find grounds to annul. The Vatican has called on the local western dioceses time and again to not grant annulments so lightly, but has been talking to the hand. You see, the local churches bought into the theory that we are all meant to be happy, and that getting annulments over with quickly and easily allows us to "move on" (when of course we should not be moving on, but should be fixing the problem).
I frankly am starting to question the moral rightness of 90% of the annulments granted by the Church in this country. And if that annulment, while in accord with local church norms but still far removed from what the Vatican wants, is not really morally right, that leaves subsequent marriages sinful, even when blessed by the Church. Big can of worms that can probably only be solved prospectively.
Free and easy divorce was the first incremental step in unleashing the sexual revolution onto society. It came even before the courts found a right to artifical birth control (Griswold v. Conn.).
Society's greatest interest is in stability, not individuals' self-fulfillment. Free and easy divorce was the greatest mistake we have made, and set us down the road for birth control, abortion, ending laws against homosexual sodomy, gay adoption, gay marriage, and the next steps: polyamory, bestiality, eliminating or cutting back the age of consent, and removing the ban on incest.
What a Brave New World we started to enter when we made divorce easy for the GIs in World War II!
Thanks to Alicia the Midwife at Fructus Ventris for the link.
The fourth Gospel is one of signs and belief. Every verse and word is directed toward belief in Jesus. All the signs point to Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. The gospel for today, the curing of the son of the royal official, was the second sign (miracle) that Jesus worked in Galilee (the first being Cana).
In this gospel, a royal official comes to Jesus asking that his son live. We do not know what was wrong with the boy, but the text says he was near death. Jesus never meets the boy, but cures him at a distance. The conversation almost seems to occur ‘in passing’ as the two were walking along the road. Jesus tells the official that his son is cured, and only later, when he is returning home, is this confirmed by others who tell him the boy is better.
The key for me in this reading is that the official believes Jesus BEFORE he sees his son or hears from others that he lives. And then the official and his whole household become believers in Jesus. It is this double dose of belief that lies, I think, at the heart of this reading. The official believes without proof and then the household become followers. What great faith here. How strong is our faith, and are we always looking for proof, or is the Word of God enough for us?
Reflection by: Rev. James Urbanic, C.PP.S. (Kansas City Province)
Sunday, March 21, 2004
Here is some information on how to make one.
It is scanned (by someone else, not me) from a book I was looking at just about 6 days ago.
4 ounces sugar
4 ounces almonds, ground
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 ounces butter, softened
4 ounces soft brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
5 ounces all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
12 ounces mixed dried fruit
2 ounces mixed citrus peel
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon,
1 teaspoon apricot jam warmed
Beaten egg for glazing
Almond Paste: Mix together sugar and ground almonds, and add enough beaten egg to give a soft consistency. Add almond extract and knead for one minute or until the paste is smooth and pliable. Set aside, covered.
Preheat oven to 140°C (275° F).
Cake: Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, a bit at a time. Sift flour, salt and spice, and add to mixture alternately with dried fruit, mixed peel and zest of lemon. Mix well together.
Place half the mixture into a well lined 7 inxh (18 cm) tin and smooth top with a wooden spoon. Roll out 1/2 the almond paste into a circle and place on top of the cake mixture. Pour in remainder of cake batter and smooth top, hollowing the top slightly. Bake in a preheated oven 140°C (275° F), for one and a half to two hours. Remove and set on rack to cool. When cake is quite cold, brush top with slightly warmed apricot jam.
Roll out remainder of almond paste to fit top of cake. (Save scraps.) Lay it on top of the apricot jam. With the scraps of paste, form eleven small egg shapes, and place eggs around the edge. Brush entire top including eggs with a little beaten egg. Return cake to the oven for about 10 minutes at 180° C (350° F) for almond paste to brown.
The eleven eggs symbolise the eleven faithful Disciples of Christ.
This recipe from www.inmamaskitchen.com.
Why are we less glum today? Well, we have just a few days ago passed the half-way point in Lent. There is light at the end of the tunnel. It is time to start thinking seriously about Easter. Besides which, the new life that Easter embodies is starting to take shape. Willows are starting to break forth from their buds. The daffodils and tulips and forsythia are only a couple of weeks away.
A year ago, my late and lamented pastor said he could never keep Gaudete Sunday and Laetare Sunday straight. The Latin means just about the same thing, and both are "pink" Sundays. Many people probably have the same problem.
Part of the problem is that the Church even before the post-1965 revolution, mistranslated "Laetare" as "Rejoice", when in fact it only means "Be Happy", while "Gaudete" means "Rejoice." That is just an application of my schoolboy Latin.
I think there is a matter of degree dividing the extent to which one is expected to rejoice. After all, there is no Good Friday between Gaudete Sunday and Christmas. Since Lent is a more somber time than Advent, we rejoice on the pink Sunday of Advent, and are merely happy on the lenten pink Sunday. There is an ancient carol called "Gaudete". And since we sing carols at Christmas, Gaudete Sunday is in Advent. If all else fails, Laetare starts with "L," just like Lent.
Jesus’ parables are so relevant to experiences in life that the fictional characters in them seem to be real people. Perhaps the reason may be that these characters can easily be any one of us. Most realistic is the prodigal son. His story illustrates for us the meaning of reconciliation. The prodigal son wasted his inheritance and squandered his resources and advantages. The moral and physical deprivation of his lifestyle left him in rags and desperation, on the brink of starvation. Then he chose a different path: he decided to return home. He would ask to be treated as a servant and nothing more. Did he hope for a better fate? Probably not, considering the way he treated his father. From today’s readings, however, we should.
In the first reading, the Israelites’ years of wandering in the desert come to an end. The “disgrace of Egypt” is taken away. They taste the fruits of the Promised Land. Then, Paul tells the Corinthians that through Christ we are reconciled to God. Luke indicated the happiness of the father upon seeing the return of his son. The fact that the father insisted on an elaborate banquet to celebrate the return of his lost child should encourage us to prepare to be reconciled with confidence in God’s mercy. God, our Father, eagerly wishes to celebrate our repentance.
The young son’s repentance is our model. After having squandered his inheritance, he came to his senses. He abandoned his dissolute way of living and resolved to return to his father. He prepared to confess his sins and to make an act of contrition. Before asking to be forgiven, he resolved to change his life. We, too, should be working during the entire season of Lent to change our lives.
The first step is to examine our conscience, to come to our senses about the way we are living. We need to have an honest look at ourselves, as did the prodigal son, about what we have done and what we have failed to do in our relationship with God and his people. We need to ask ourselves where we are going in life. When we recognize what we must change, we should decide on the action that will turn our lives around.
Will it be as hard for the three-quarters of humanity–the developing world–to welcome us as it was for the elder son in the parable to celebrate the return of his prodigal brother? They have witnessed our profligate use of the world’s resources. They have seen our wanton disregard for the global common good. Despite our life-destroying choices, if we turn to our Father, we know welcome awaits us. We can choose to live a lifestyle based on gospel values. Will we try only when forced to? When will we finally choose to go home?
Reflection by: Rev. Mario Cafarelli, C.PP.S. (Atlantic Province)