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Dying to self October 28, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic.
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A brief examination from Servant of God Sr. Elizabeth of the Trinity, a Carmelite nun, taken from Divine Intimacy:

As long as my will desires that which is alien to the divine will, has preferences for one thing or another, I remain like a child; I do not walk in lvoe aiwht giant strides.  The fire has not yet burnt away all the dross, and the gold is not yet pure.  I am still seeking myself.  O Lord, You have not yet done away with all my resistance to You.  But when the crucible has consumed all tainted love, all tainted pain, all tainted fear, the love is perfect, and the golden ring of our union is wider than heaven and earth.

But in order to attain this I must die daily to myself.  O Jesus, I wish to die, to decrease, to deny myself daily more and more, in order that you may grow and be exalted in me.  As a ‘little one’ I dewll in the depths of my poverty; I see my nothingness, my penury, my weakness; I see that I am incapble of progress, of perserverence; I appear to myself in all my destitution; I prostrate myself in my wretchedness, and recognizing my state of dire need, I spread it out before You, my divine Master…….As far as my will – not my feelings – is concerned, I set my joy in everything that can hubmle me, immolate me, destroy self in me, for I want to give place to You, O Lord…..I no longer wish to live by my own life, but to be transformed in You, so that my life may be more divine than human, and that, inclining unto me, the Father may recognize Your image, the image of His beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased.

And then, from Vera Sapientia, by Thomas a Kempis, Book II Chapter 1 paragraph 1:

So long as I am in the world I shall not be free from sin, and so long as I remain here I shall be a poor pilgrim and sojourner on the earth.  I brought nothing into the world, and I shall take nothing out of it; for I came into it naked, adn I shall depart from it in the same state, and shall leave it as a lodger of one night.  The whole present life is one short night [ a sentiment shared by Doctor of the Church St. Therese of Lisieux – ED].  My days are few and evil, and shall soon be at an end. 

The remembrance of man on earth is short, both to those who knew him and to those who knew him not; but the just shall be in eternal remembrance, because he shall be always united to God, who never dies.  He is therefore happy who does not place his hope in man, and does not over-rejoice in anything in the world or in its appearances, but who has his heart fixed on heaven, because everything here is vain and deceitful. 

Well, the Opus Dei folks would vehemently disagree with the last part, but I think there are many, too many, in the Church who see man and society as perfectable.  They often seek to wipe out human suffering and misery, to make everyone materially comfortable and, thus, in their view, happy.  Ultimately, this view of the Church elevates man and man’s condition to a very high degree.  It seeks to make the Church, even primarily, a vehicle of social change.  Seeing the Church is this manner is, to me, terribly reductive, and often tends to make God sort of a sidelight in the activities of the Church. 

Anyway, that’s not how I view the Church or my relationship with God.  I do serve others constantly, at work, at home, but I do not focus on that service, I focus on trying to serve God.  I fail always, in my fallen nature I am constantly referring back to myself, wanting to make myself some kind of demi-god.  I have way too much pride, but I pray that I may die to myself far more than I’ve been able to thus far.  I want to direct all my love through Jesus to God and then down to all the creatures I interact with.  I want to forget about the world and material possessions to the extent that I can, while recalling always my duties. I pray I may live a life that will draw others to worship the One True God.  And I pray that I will never turn someone away from God due to my pride and arrogance, but I probably have done that. 

Sometimes it’s hard to be an ardent defender of the Faith.  I always pray I am not at cross-purposes to God’s Will in anything I do.

How to make a Church very beautiful with paint (and statues and stained glass……) October 28, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic.
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……still, the point is, this doesn’t have to cost a bajillion dollars.  This is the parish of Msgr. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC.  I would be very gratified to worship there!

How would it be to have a spokes-priest for our Diocese have a parish like this?  I can only think of a few in our Diocese that come close – St. Thomas Acquinas is pretty nice, as is Christ the King.  Mater Dei and St. William are also pretty nice, but not like this one in Washington (yet?).  I think pastors might be surprised to find strong support for a remodeling along these lines.

Pope – Catholics MUST use their votes to support pro-life candidates… October 28, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, scandals, Society.
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…..and Catholics CAN NOT vote for those who support legalized abortion and/or euthanasia.  The Pope made these comments with regard to upcoming elections in Brazil, but the principle applies to elections anywhere.  The Pope also directed bishops to clearly guide the faithful according to these Catholic principles – Catholics cannot support any politician or any measure anywhere that would threaten the sanctity of life:

Bishops must guide their faithful to use their vote to oppose efforts to legalize abortion and euthanasia, Pope Benedict XVI told bishops from Brazil.“Dear brother bishops, to defend life we must not fear hostility or unpopularity, and we must refuse any compromise or ambiguity which might conform us to the world’s way of thinking,” the pope said Oct. 28 during a meeting with bishops from northeast Brazil.

… Pope Benedict told the Brazilian bishops that while direct involvement in politics is the responsibility of the laity “when the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls requires it, pastors have a serious duty to make moral judgments even in political matters [there is no “space” that is free from our obligations as Christians – not even the voting booth].”

… While some may claim they support abortion or euthanasia to defend the weak and the poor, “who is more helpless than an unborn child or a patient in a vegetative or terminal state?” he said.

“When political positions openly or covertly include plans to decriminalize abortion and euthanasia, the democratic ideal which is truly democratic only when it acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person — is betrayed at its foundations,”

The pope is being careful in his message to be completely clear: bishops and priests have the “obligation” to do this – to speak to the Catholic faithful about the importance of voting in a democratic election against any candidate who will “covertly” or explicitly expand abortion and euthanasia.

We all have our marching orders – Bishops ought to encourage the laity through the means of communications at their disposal to vote with a properly-formed Catholic conscience. Priests ought to encourage their parishioners – yes, from the pulpit – to vote with a properly-formed Catholic conscience.

And WE, the Catholic faithful, have a sacred obligation to take our Catholic conscience into the voting booth and vote down candidates who, in their support of abortion and euthanasia, betray the democratic ideal at its foundations, because (as the pope says) a true democracy is only realized when it “acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person.”

Well, I don’t know that too many of the readers of this little blog need much guidance in this area, but just in case, the Church believes that anyone who uses their vote to support a pro-abort pro-euthanasia pro-gay marriage whatever candidate is involved in the commission of a serious sin.  They are culpable, through their material support (a vote) for having contributed to acts attacking human life, be they abortions or policies that will lead to euthanasia, etc.  This is not a right wing/left wing, it’s a Truth thing, and  increased funding for social causes or because one party supports a war and another may perceived as not supporting that war quite so much are not somehow “offsets” that permit you to support the pro-abort candidate.  This is not opinion, this is Catholic doctrine repeatedly and clearly explained and emphasized. 

If you feel that this is wrong, that the Church is wrong on this, I would gently ask you to consider if your problem is really with me, or the Church, but with God, for that is from whom all this Truth revealed by Christ through His Church flows.

Let us pray all bishops and priests will follow the Pope’s exhortation and expend total efforts to guide the faithful on these critical moral issues.

Hating on the Church October 28, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, sickness, silliness, Society.
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Voris comments on the recent AP article decrying the “conservative” Catholic blogosphere.  If you go to the websites of some newspapers running that article, you will find the most vile anti-Catholic hatred you can imagine.  Many people hate the Church.  It is one of the most acceptable bigotries around.  And some of the strongest haters are former Catholics, the vast majority of which left a Faith they barely, if ever, knew:

BTW, at the link, which I fixed (thanks Fr. Jordan!), the Arizona Central site used the .html “catholic rage” to describe this article.  This is the pushback I was talking about.  There is an inherent bias in that .html tag, and it’s used many other places, from the Washington Post to the Grande Island Gazette.  Plus, the unhinged commenters pick up phrases like “Catholic taliban” and instantly parrot them.   Knowing Alinskyite tactics and how they work (pick a target, freeze it, frame it, destroy it), I have a hard time believing this AP writer just randomly chose to write a high profile article on faithful Catholic blogs.  As the reaction to the Tea Party movement has revealed (plus, an almost infinite number of other examples), if liberals feel they are losing an argument, they call in the hounds.