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The Imitation of Christ, Book 1 Chapter 7 Avoiding Vain Hope and Pride April 28, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, The Imitation of Christ.
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As part of a continuing series excerpting Thomas a’ Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ:

He is vain who puts his trust in men or in creatures [Jer 17:5, Ps 114:2]

Be not ashamed to serve others and to appear poor in this world for the love of Jesus Christ [2 COR 4:3]

Confide not in thyself, but place thy hope in God [Ps 72:28]

Do what is in thy power, adn God will be with thy good will.

Trust not in thine own knowledge , nor in the cunning of any man living, but rather in the grace of God, who helps the humble and humbles those who presume on themselves.

2. Glory not in riches, if thou hast them, nor in friends, because they are powerful, but in God, who gives all things, and desires to give Himself above all things [1 COR 1:31]

Boast not of the stature nor beauty of thy body which is spoiled and disfigured by a little sickness.

Do not take pride in thy ability or talent, lest thou disp9lease God, to whom belongs every natural good quality and talent which thou hast.

3. Esteem not thyself better than others, lest, perhaps, thou be accounted worse in the sight of God, who knows what is in man.

Be not proud of thy own works: for the judgements of God are different from the judgements of men; and often times that displeaseth Him which pleaseth men.

If thou hast anything of good believe better things of others that thou mayst preserve humility.

It will do thee no harm to esteem thyself the worst of all; but it will hurt thee very much to prefer thyself before any one. 

Continual peace is with the humble; but in the heart of the proud is frequent envy and indignation.

Pope announces effort to re-evangelize US and Europe April 28, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.
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Pope Benedict XVI, the most falsely maligned person in the world at present, has announced a new effort aimed at re-evangelizing Europe and North America.   The new effort is intended for:

countries where the Gospel has been announced centuries ago, but where its presence in their peoples’ daily life seems to be lost. Europe, the United States and Latin America would be the areas of influence of the new structure.

Well, count me on board.  Pope Benedict seems very serious about this new evangelization.  From recent pronouncements regarding the use of new media, to efforts to engage in truly meaningful ecumenism, Pope Benedict has been engaging in numerous efforts to try to invigorate the faith in places where it was once a prominent part of life but has been steadily withering of late.  This is really key – as the recent poll showed, most American Catholics no longer feel that the Faith plays an important role in their daily lives, and in Europe, the situation is far worse.   Ever been to a Catholic Church in Europe?  If they haven’t transitioned to a museum status, asking for a donation to even enter, they are virtually empty during Mass.  My wife wanted to pray at St. Bartholemew’s in Plzen one afternoon and was told it was $10.  Nice.  It’s not because the staff want to be jerks (although, that could be part of it), it’s because no one goes on Sunday and they have to raise money somehow to keep the church open.  It’s beyond sad. 

I’m glad for this new effort.  I’m heartened by all the efforts Pope Benedict is undertaking, but I realize that this will be the work of decades, if not centuries.  A faith can be lost in a culture in a few short years, and building it back up is back-breaking labor.  Thanks, progressivism!

New English Mass Translation takes a big step forward April 28, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic.
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The new translation of the Mass for English speaking countries has been approved at the Vatican.   The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments has given the formal approval, but ultimate implementation of the new translation remains unclear.  It is thought by many that Advent 2011, a year and half from now, will see the introduction of this new and greatly improved translation. 

A need for a much better translation, better reflecting the meaning and intent of the original Latin, has been recognized for 20 years, and active work on the new translation has been underway for over 10 years.   Many in the Church have felt the current translation was done in too much haste.

We should now expect to see many efforts at catechesis ongoing at the diocesan and parish levels in order to prepare the laity for the new translation.   When the current translation was introduced, such catechesis was completely lacking, which led to some shocked and dismayed people.  With plenty of lead time regarding the implementation of this new translation, I would expect to start seeing pastors and various staff beginning to discuss the upcoming changes and preparing people for this new translation within the next 6 months or so.  The USCCB does have much of the new translation available on their website. 

The Liturgy is the life of the Church.  All the English speaking people deserve the best, most accurate translation possible.  Plus, the new translation will convey the beliefs of the Church, expressed through the liturgy, in a subtly different way, which will hopefully help the people of the Church to view the Mass as the profound, transcendent experience it is.  Those who are most strongly aligned with the hermeneutic of rupture have been rather against this new translation.  They recognize that this new translation will be more conducive to recognizing the Mass as a mystical, Sacrificial experience, and this will over time affect the laity and their views of the Church.

The Faith of our Fathers April 28, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic.
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I’m a farmer.  Well, kind of.  One day in the not too distant future, I will own 440 acres of northwest Kansas farmland. My dad grew up on that farm, and it’s  my intention to keep it in the family for at least one more generation.  No one has owned that land except my family, ever.  One of my great-great grandfathers was “kidnapped” by Cheyenne indians during the homestead era, and fed a delicacy – skunk gravy.  He said it was good.

But that’s beside the point.  The point is, I have travelled to Phillipsburg, KS, about 60 miles north of Hays, many times in my life.  The last several times I travelled up there, I kept noticing what looked like a huge Church about a 1/2 mile south of I-70 between Russell and Hays.  The last time I was up there, I convinced my traveling party to turn off and see about this Church.  I’m glad I did.  In the tiny town of Victoria, KS, there is a huge Church, called ‘The Cathedral of the Plains,’ although it is not the seat of any bishop. 

Victoria, KS was initially settled by a group of English aristocrats who thought they could have some adventure and possibly add to their wealth by attracting settlers to the Kansas prairie – this was back in the 1870s.  They failed, miserably, and wound up going back to England with their tales rather between their legs.  A few years later, however, a more sturdy group of settlers arrived.  Not too many Americans are aware that during the 16th-17th centuries, a number of Germans left what is now Germany and settled in other parts of Europe.  Many relocated, if it can believed, to the bend of the Volga in southern Russia.  Unfortunately, these Germans were almost as persecuted by the Czar as they had been in Germany, and some of those very stout people, who were natural farmers, emigrated to Kansas in the 1880s or 90s.  A group of them wound up in the area around Victoria.  They did what German immigrants of that time did almost everywhere, they settled, started farming, and they built.  What they almost invariably built, first, from Quihi, Texas to Victoria, KS, was a church.

And what a church.  Actually, not just one, but three, large, very beautiful churches.  All these good Catholic Germans scrimped and saved and built a house of worship to honor God and to provide their children with that mystical, transcendent experience that they hoped and prayed would instill a deep faith in them.  The crown jewel of these churches is St. Fidelis, the Cathedral of the Plains, in Victoria

Think about this for a moment.  These people were farmers – they were not, and are not, rich.  The total population around Victoria has never been more than about 2000 people at any one time.  But, these folks built a church worthy of the grandest city, of the richest men, and the thing is, this didn’t happen a long time ago, this church has been improved on and added to and made more beautiful as the years have gone by.  This has been an ongoing effort for generations.  The results are amazing

I think there is a lesson to be had here.  These simple people, aided by various orders to provide religious direction, have built an incredible place for honoring God and offering the Sacrifice of the Mass.  If we really believe that Heaven comes down to earth, and perhaps that we get lifted up a bit, during the Consecration and the Liturgy of the Faithful, isn’t this the kind of place where such an august Sacrifice should take place – the finest, most beautiful structure we can build?  Perhaps we should think on St. Fidelis the next time our church needs to build a new facility, or needs more donations just to continue ongoing operations.  I know this is a very sensitive subject, but we have been very blessed that many who have gone before us have been willing to sacrifice, sometimes greatly, to provide a faith legacy to hand on to later generations.

Of course, I think pastors and other Church leadership should also think on St. Fidelis in tiny Victoria, KS, if they are in position to build a new church or remodel and existing one.  Yes, building a church like St. Fidelis is expensive, but is it, perhaps, worth it?  Not every church needs to be quite so grand, but need every church, especially those in suburbia, be so banal?  Should our churches not possess those architectural and stylistic elements which serve to highlight the sacrificial nature of the Mass, and the very special role that priests play in that?   Is this not an important part of the new liturgical movement?