I haven’t visited Dom Lorenzo Scupoli in some time. He has some excellent meditations on the Four Last Ends. This one is on the advantages gained by souls who contemplate their own death on a regular basis. I found this very good, I pray you do, too!
1. Contemplation of death enables us to judge properly and prevents our being imposed upon in all affairs. With nothing we came into this world, and with nothing shall we leave it. Why then should we consume our very lives in the accumulation of riches?
No one is to accompany us out of this world and to our final judgment; why then are we so fond of creatures?
The stench and corruption of the grave in which the pampered body is the prey of the lowest vermin shows us the folly of carnal pleasures…..
2. ……..It is our best instructor through life, laying down but one simple rule, which is the direction of all our acts to one last end. This consideration drives away all the petty troubles which punctuate this life with unfailing regularity; it steadies us on the course and sustains us on the journey.
3. It teaches us to know ourselves, one of the essential points of true wisdom.
4. It teaches us to despise all that this world can offer, and is the solace of all true servants of God.
5. It is like ice, and helps to chill and deaden the fire of concupiscence; it is a bridle which curbs our sensual appetites.
6. It is a continual source of humiliation, a specific remedy against pride and vanity.
7. It is an excellent preservative against sin. “In all thy works be mindful of thy last end, and thou shalt never sin.”(Eccl VII:40).
8. It brings exasperated minds back to peace and reconciliation. Whoever considers seriously that a certain and unavoidable death will one day bring him before the Judge Who shows no mercy but to those who show mercy to others, he will easily be induced to forgive.
9. It is an antidote against the pleasures and vanities of the world…..
10. It teaches us a provident economy with regard to our salvation, by setting before our eyes the transitory character of this life, and the necessity of laying up a treasure of good works while it is in our power to do so.
11. It induces us to embrace penances with a cheerful spirit.
12. It encourages us to persevere in the way of penance with unshakable firmness.
We live in a culture that is absolutely terrified of growing old, being old, etc. 65 year olds want to be like 28 year olds, wearing skinny jeans and partying. I think much of this is due to a great, latent fear of death, a fear so great many people have quite willingly bought into the grave error of universal salvation. So now Catholic funereal Masses are more instant canonizations than they are Requiems imploring prayers for the departed souls. How many souls languish in Purgatory as a result?
If they are that lucky. Given the omnipresence of grave sin, Purgatory might not be nearly so populated as it once was. I pray I’m wrong. But there is much to be said for contemplating death, the extinguishing of this life, and our judgment before the all-powerful Lord. “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of Almighty God.” Indeed, it is. And we would be very well to contemplate all the four last things, to better prepare ourselves for the end that inevitably awaits all of us.
A far better thing it is to know Jesus
After 1300 years, Islam has not been driven from Europe July 23, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, Christendom, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, history, persecution, sadness, Saints, scandals, secularism, Society, Tradition.
I titled the post in the somewhat provocative way that I did, in light of two recent and very good posts by Fr. Carota on the role Saints played in helping drive the scourge of islam – for that is how it was always seen by Catholics everywhere, at least until very recently – from Europe. Fr. Carota discusses Saint Lawrence Brindisi and the Crusade against islam in Hungary at the beginning of the 17th century in this post. Some excerpts of the role that great Saint played in helping stem the muslim tide in Hungary in 1601:
30 years later, [30 years after the magnificent victory won at Lepanto, in which Our Lady of Victory miraculously led Catholic forces to victory over a much larger Turkish fleet, and which was revealed via a prophecy to Pope St. Pius V hundreds of miles away] Pope Clement VIII asked St. Lawrence of Brindisi, a Capuchin friar, to go to Germany to organize their princes into a crusade against the muslim attacks going on in Hungry. He was very successful and organized the crucial resistance needed to save Europe….[Brief mention of protestant treachery, common in all the later wars against islam, intervenes, I exclude. Sadly, there was also occasional Catholic treachery, as with the case of Louis XVI allying with the Turks against the Holy Roman Empire in 1683]
…..The Battle of Stuhlweissenburg Hungry took place on October 11, 1601. St. Lawrence led the battle on a horse carrying a large cross in front of the troops. Again on October 14th of that same month, these Catholic forces, with St. Lawrence leading, had to fight the muslims in another battle and won.
St. Lawrence, when leading the troops in front into battle, was miraculously saved from all injury and claimed that all the success came from God and Mary. The Catholic troops, numbering 18,000 men, way out numbered by 80,000 muslims. The Turks, after suffering the loss of 30,000 men, withdrew their army behind the Danube. [The muslims dominated the Balkans and Greece for over 3 centuries, from the late 1400s until the mid 1800s]
Whenever the crusades were led by holy people and all those envolved prayed and fasted, they had success. Whenever they were unjust or doing evil sins, they lost.
Great point. Christianity is presently being mauled by islam on so many fronts because the Church is so weak, lacking in piety, and divided right now.
Fr. Carota discusses, very briefly, a long arc of Crusades against islam in Europe from 1456 to the 1700s in this post. He notes how St. Juan de Capistrano led the Crusade against islam in 1456, helping keep the Ottomans out of much of modern Serbia and Hungary through much of the 15th century. Some great art accompanies, which I cheerfully (but gratefully) rip off. Father notes that the “final defeat” of the muslims in Europe did not occur until the Battle of Peterwardin Vojvodina in 1716. This battle did recover Belgrade, but it left much of southeastern Europe in muslim hands.
But good Father Carota, who I respect immensely and who made my week a few days ago (private), misses out on long struggles to overcome Ottoman rule in Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, much of modern Romania, and other locales throughout much of the 18th and 19th centuries. Greece, cradle of so much of Western Civilization, did not become independent – in part -until 1832, and did not recover Macedonia until 1913! In fact, the Balkan wars of 1913 were the culmination of nearly two centuries of efforts by Christians to overthrow muslim rule in southeastern Europe.
However, until this very day, islam still occupies a toehold in southeastern Europe in what is called Eastern Thrace and what was the most glorious city in Christendom for over a millenium (and the bulwark against the encroaching muslim), Constantinople. Greece seized much of East Thrace after WWI, but lost the territory in fighting against the new nation of Turkey.
Ever since the first wild eyed Mohammadans crossed the Strait of Gilbratar and conquered Spain, Islam has been in Europe. Note that many radical muslims still lament, and get extremely angry, whenever they think of the Crusader States in the Holy Land that existed from ~1096-1291. That was an intolerable affront to islam and “proof” of Christian militancy, even if all those lands were Christian for centuries before they were converted by islam’s usual method – the sword. In terms of overall victimhood, since that is such a popular way of viewing things these days, Christians have borne far more attacks, invasions, raids, piracy, and general cruelty from islam than the reverse – by a huge margin.
But today, for the first time ever, Europe is very willingly and happily allowing tens of millions of muslims into the heart of Europe as immigrants. This is being done because Europeans have so contracepted and aborted themselves into near sterility that there aren’t enough Europeans to keep the economies of those states going, absent mass scale immigration from the south. Muammar Gaddafi himself said that in 50 years, islam wouldn’t need to invade or attack Europe, Europe would be predominately muslim! That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. In 50 years, if present trends hold, Europe will be between 35-40% muslim. But of course, these populations are not evenly distributed, and even now, there are places in France, Britain, Germany, and other nations where western women dare not go without wearing the hijab. One might argue that substantial portions of these nations are muslim already.
What will happen when Europe, the heart of Christianity, is nearly half muslim? What is being done to strengthen the Church for this ultimate challenge? Who will man the ramparts? Who will be there to preach Jesus Christ to all these millions of lost souls?
Lord, send us new Saints in the mold of the ones of old! Your Church faces threats unlike any in history! Please help us! Send us new Saint Lawrence Brindisi’s, new Saint Juan Capistrans, to help us! Have mercy on us all! May we become those Saints!
Are you an Ultramontanist? July 22, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, the return, Tradition.
The good Boniface at Unam Sanctam Catholicam has a post asking a most pertinent question in the present environment in the Church – are you an ultramontanist? This does not mean you accept the Dogma of papal infallibility. That is not what the ultramontanism run amok in the present context means. I will let Boniface explain:
There is a lot of talk these days about a kind of pervasive Ultramontanism in the Neo-Catholic world; not Ultramontanism in the classical sense, for understood classically, Ultramontanism, like the term “Integralism“, was just a phrase denoting Catholicism affirming the infallibility of the pope.In current parlance, we are not talking about fidelity to the Holy Father, but rather a kind of crass, undiscriminating Ultramontanism that is best characterized by the embarrassing spectacle of Neo-Catholic apologists tripping all over themselves to affirm every single prudential decision of the pope as not only good, but the best possible decision. In the judgment of the modern Ultramontanists, every utterance of the pope, no matter how banal or off the cuff, is treated as a profound insight; every administrative act or symbolic gesture he makes are examples of brilliant leadership; every prudential judgment and non-authoritative teaching treated as infallible truth. [thus the incredible claims that some would accept a papal claim that black is actually white, or 2+2=5]No matter what they might say, there is a very easy test to see if the person you are talking with actually subscribes to the kind of crass Ultramontanism I have described above. Ask them to:First, cite one prudential action of the pope which you disagree with. [Kissing the koran]Second, cite one action or statement of the pope that you agree with, though you admit that good Catholics can be in disagreement about. [Pope Benedict's quoting of the Emperor Michael II Paleologos against the cruelties of islam was actually an act of charity, not a controversial interfaith blunder. But you can believe it was a blunder if you want. Heretic.]If you or your interlocutor cannot do either of these two things, they are Ultramontanists, no matter what they might say to the contrary.
I think it’s a pretty good test. And I feel very strongly that unchecked ultra-ultramontanism is seriously unbalancing the Church. But it is a favorite pastime of many prominent American Catholics, including most of the top Catholic bloggers. The danger we have seen is when obedience and fealty to the papacy as an institution and understanding of the narrow limits of papal infallibility morphs into ultra-ultramontanism, we tend to see very wild swings in emphasis, and even belief and practice, from one papacy to the next. And that only exacerbates the already existing crisis in the Church, spreads confusion and scandal, and leads more souls to fall away – or at least increases the risk of some falling away.
And the even larger problem is that, in spite of all the canonizations, recent popes have taken a number of prudential actions, and even some actions or more import than mere prudence, that are very difficult to reconcile with Tradition and in fact represent great novelties in the life of the Church. Those novelties have tended entirely in one direction, towards progressivism/modernism/indifferentism. And thus we have the crisis. So it is not a far reach to say that ultra-ultramontanism is playing a big role in precipitating the crisis in the Faith, and preventing effective action to promote the timeless Truth Christ has revealed through His Church in opposition to the crisis.
And then we have TFG. That’s the problem taken to a whole different level.
UPDATE: There is also a reverse corollary, regarding sede vacantism. One could just sort of flip the questions around.
I saw on VideoSancto that some months ago, Fr. Cassian Folsom OSB of the Benedictines of Norcia gave a retreat at The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Still River, MA. Now, these are the Slaves that are in full regular canonical unity and whose bishop has offered Mass at their chapel (TLM only, ever) several times. But, they are, of course, descended from Fr. Leonard Feeney’s group – in fact, they are one of several offshoots of Feeney’s original group. While there are branches of the original St. Benedict Center who are either still under some ecclesiastical penalty or who have not fully regularized, this group is not one of those. In fact, the Slaves of the ‘official’ St. Benedict Center take part regularly in diocesan events like the 40 Days of Life.
I will post two of the videos from that series of talks at the bottom of the post. But I think it needs to be noted that Fr. Folsom is not a traddy. He’s certainly orthodox, his order is sort of walking the line the Franciscans of the Immaculate trod, having both the Novus Ordo very reverently in Latin, but also the TLM with some regularity (goodness, I pray they are small enough to avoid attention for the duration of this pontificate). But I don’t think Fr. Folsom is an “extremist” on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus or any other matter. He’s a good, orthodox, traditional leaning priest, and his order is the same.
So I take it as kind of an endorsement of the Slaves that Fr. Folsom would preach a retreat there. Under different circumstances, I would not have any surprise at this, but I have noted that many traditional Catholics most definitely retain an animus against this order, even though it has been fully regularized. There seems to be an assumption that if there was some error in the past, it somehow must remain. I have been surprised – shocked might be the better term – at how strongly opinions run against what seem to me very good nuns, brothers, and priests. This is an order that throughout the crisis has never once offered the Novus Ordo. But that does not appear to win them much support. I have seen that even though they do a great deal of good work, a good number of traditional priests, within the Fraternity and elsewhere, strongly counsel young men and women to avoid this order. I really don’t know why that is.
Now, I will admit to some bias. I have had the pleasure of meeting several of the nuns of this order and I like them a great deal. I have never heard any error or extravagant opinion pass their lips. I even tried deliberately to pry on the matter of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, and while they certainly support this Dogma, there was a recognition of the broader understanding of this Dogma that most solid traditionalists hold (baptism by blood and desire). I cannot say I was even close to exhaustive in examining this matter, but there was certainly no obvious error.
So what gives? There are so few traditional orders for women, and yet this one is frequently treated like a pariah. Is there some real evidence of remaining error, or is it just lingering suspicion, or? And if the latter, how is that charitable?
I would appreciate some input on the questions as posed. I do not want a re-hashing of the whole Feeney affair, nor do I want blanket statements that “they’re just bad,” or things to that effect. How are they bad? What do they believe that is wrong? Etc.
I’m sure you guys will help me out, and some – some – heat in the comments will be tolerated so long as it remains on topic.
Video on St. John Cassian and prayer:
Video on Lectio Divina:
And like all religions, it has creeds, dogmas, liturgies, expiation, errors, and heresies. Sexular paganism is not a religion to be trifled with, nor is it one that engages in happy, endless dialogue. It is the most aggressively, forcefully expansionist religion the world has seen since islam burst forth in the 7th century, and it brooks no competition. Between the savage rock of militant islam, and the irresistible force of sexular paganism, the Church is meant to be crushed.
The guy below almost gets it, but then falls apart at the end. He does not seem to have the Faith to guide his understanding of events, and thus falls for the propaganda he’s been exposed to since infancy:
From the dawn of the modern age, religious thinkers have warned that, strictly speaking, secular politics is impossible — that without the transcendent foundation of Judeo-Christian monotheism to limit the political sphere, ostensibly secular citizens would begin to invest political ideas and ideologies with transcendent, theological meaning. [I would say it goes back way before the modern age. Christianity is a religion encompassing every aspect of life, but so is every other religion! It is only in the "modern age" that people have bought the fantasy that they could compartmentalize their religion into a little box they open on Sunday. What that has meant in practice is that religion has shrunk as the secular state has grown, until.......]
Put somewhat differently: Human beings will be religious one way or another. Either they will be religious about religious things, or they will be religious about political things. [Exactly. Because we were created that way]
With traditional faith in rapid retreat over the past decade, liberals have begun to grow increasingly religious about their own liberalism, which they are treating as a comprehensive view of reality and the human good. [This has been going on much longer than a decade, silly]
[Now the wheels come off....] But liberalism’s leading theoreticians (Locke, Montesquieu, Jefferson, Madison, Tocqueville, Mill) never intended it to serve as a comprehensive view of reality and the human good. On the contrary, liberalism was supposed to act as a narrowly political strategy for living peacefully in a world of inexorably clashing comprehensive views of reality and the human good.
The key to the strategy was the promulgation of the pluralistic principle of toleration.
And that is where the endarkenment philosphes, in their arrogance, got things disastrously wrong.
The men above, and others not listed, deliberately wanted to curb “religious extremism” (read: the influence of the Church). They set about creating a “tolerant” state that would do just that. Of course, “extremism” to one is being faithful to another. And the philosphes tended to find any public witness offensive – they were in fact the far left of their time. So the notions they encouraged – government indifferent to religion, trying to greatly curb religious influence on government – in fact created a situation that simply flipped the paradigm in Church-state relations from the Church occasionally having the whip hand to the state always – always – being the dominant power. As time has gone by, as acceptance of the secular liberal state has advanced, Christianity has been forced into retreat. But man being a fundamentally religious creature, instead of religion really going away, the very good and holy religion of Christianity has been replaced by a neo-paganism.
Many traditional Catholics have argued that this result was inevitable. That any nation/culture not founded explicitly as Catholic and with Jesus Christ as its visible head would eventually become a competitor, and even enemy, of the Church. Our secular pagan superstate certainly seems headed irreversibly in that direction, and has for some time. The folly was in ever thinking that right, moral, and just government divorced from Jesus Christ could even be maintained. It cannot.
And so Jefferson, Locke, et. al., are the direct intellectual forebears of today’s sexular pagans. Jefferson laughed at Christianity, generally, and yet he is the true “father” of our government. It seems hard to argue that where we are at today, as a nation, is an aberration. It seems more likely to look back in admiration at how long this nation was able to cling to its Christian heritage in spite of the derangement of its founding.
So, it would seem we are in for a very rough ride. But God overcomes all.
And He will, but in His good time.
Videos on the Mass July 18, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Liturgy, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
I am out of time but here are two great videos on the Mass. First, the Mass as Perfect Prayer of Petition, and how to behave at Mass so as not to deprive your neighbor of Grace:
Solemn Requiem Mass for JL July 18, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Liturgy, priests, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
We were blessed to assist at the Solemn Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of a Mater Dei parishioner last night. It was a great gift to be able to offer this spiritual work of mercy.
God rest his soul. Requiescat in Pace.
Not sure how my camera caught this effect, but I liked it. There was not much smoke in the air.
I also shot this video of blessing the catafalque.
I do not think there could be any better way to be sent into eternity than through a Mass such as this.
JL’s large family may be assured of our prayers. Already underway. I am so sorry for your loss, and sorry I could not do more to help.
Evolutionary biologist rejects…..evolution – UPDATED July 17, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Christendom, error, foolishness, General Catholic, secularism, Society, Tradition.
Wonders never cease. But these kinds of conversions are less rare than the media/culture would make you think:
He raises interesting points. I will try to update this post later with my response to some of them if I can, but for now, enjoy, and see what you think.
Evolution is the prime error – or extremely dubious theory – upon which so much modern sexular paganism and its rejection of Christianity hangs. Darwin removed purpose as the basis of existence, and turned existence into a meaningless crap shoot. Secularists lap that up for some reason, even if classical philosophers can shoot it so full of holes it’s laughable. As another video I posted showed, evolution is one of the prime dogmas of the new sexular pagan religion. They can’t prove it, they can’t even explain it well, but upon it so much else hangs.
And if you disagree, you’re a damnable heretic. Burn!
UPDATE: I wanted to add a bit more to this discussion that I didn’t have time to address yesterday. Intelligent Design as a theory both is and isn’t completely satisfactory. I say that because there is a huge disparity in what adherents to intelligent design propose. Some try to fit intelligent design into a literal interpretation of Genesis chapters I-X, while others try to meld it into a way to explain the origin of species while accepting a 16 billion year old universe. And that latter part is where the trouble comes in. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I do know that trying to reconcile evolutionary theory with the Faith gave birth to the modernist heresy, and has led many millions from the orthodox Faith into outright apostasy or, at the very least, extremely disordered beliefs and practices.
At present, I am so highly dubious of evolution and all allied theories on the origin of the universe that I basically dismiss them, totally. I accept Genesis I-X as a literal description of how life began on earth. But I am a little leery of some of the explanations of the primarily protestant Intelligent Design. I really like the work of the Kolbe Center best of all in this field.
Noah at Unam Sanctam Catholicam has an interesting and edifying post up regarding the great, mystical benefits of the Brown Scapular given by Our Lady of Mount Carmel to Saint Simon Stock. As Noah notes, there remains in the Church among some priests and certain laity a kind of opposition to the Scapular. I myself have experienced this. When I was first converting, the first really on fire, semi-orthodox priest I found that really reached out to me was a charismatic Catholic. Under the influence of his demi-protestant version of Catholicism, he did not have much devotion to the Blessed Mother. He was, in fact, rather embarrassed by devotion to the only perfect pure-human who has ever lived. He had Rosary beads on his Franciscan habit, but would pray them by saying “Jesus” over and over, and that’s it. When I spoke to him about devotion to the Blessed Mother, he said it wasn’t really “helpful,” and that the Church was “moving in another direction.”
From the standpoint of the current crisis, a certain opposition to the glorification of Our Lady and Her prerogatives played a large role in the controversies during and after Vatican II. There was a very substantial fight during the Council between the forces who wanted to honor Our Lady with her own document and name Her Mediatrix of All Grace, and those who wanted to take a more minimal stance. Well, guess who won? The document on The Blessed Mother got rolled into Lumen Gentium, she wasn’t formally defined as Mediatrix of All Grace, but She was named as such in the document.
There has since the Council continued to be a faction of the Church that retains a certain ambivalence towards the Blessed Mother. A large part of this ambivalence can be traced to the creeping influence of protestantism in the Church through the ecumenical and charismatic movements. This is an enormous tragedy, for in a strong sense we have no greater advocate, and no greater friend, in Heaven than She. Of course, all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity are as far above Our Lady as the stars are from the earth, and remain the sole object of worship for all faithful souls, but St. Alphonsus, St. Thomas Aquinas, and many other Saints have proved that having a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother is at least morally necessary for salvation, if not absolutely so. Because Mary is the path to the Son.
To get to the point of the post, I wish I could assist Noah in compiling miracles associated with the Brown Scapular, but I do not recall any direct experience of such. I do believe the Green Scapular played a big role in getting me clean, but that’s a slightly different story. My devotion to the Blessed Mother has grown immensely over the years, and I feel I have a close relationship with Her. She is a great friend and helper.
Now, some content from the post, including the great benefits of the Scapular [I add comments]:
indulgences help alleviate the sufferings of the holy soul or pay our debt due to sin and the reminder of Gods presence deters us from committing sin. Even if people choose to be doubters of the great promise of salvation of the brown scapular, they cannot deny these facts.
Prayer Request July 16, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Latin Mass, sadness, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
Would you, in your charity, pray for the repose of the soul of Jaime Leano? A couple years back I tried to help him get a job at my company but we were not hiring (in fact, since then, we’ve had 8 rounds of layoffs). I think he had a hard time finding work. He passed away very suddenly early Monday morning. His Requiem Mass will be at Mater Dei at 6:30 pm tomorrow (Thursday, July 17) night.
Thank you. God bless you.