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St. Peter Julian Eymard on prayer June 10, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Papa, Saints, self-serving, the return, Virtue.
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Some gems, and some hard spiritual truths, from Vol. 2 of the Eymard Library, Holy Communion:

You will never see anyone become a Saint who does not pray. Do not be deceived by beautiful sentiments and by appearances. The devil can do wonders, too; he has great learning; he can assume the appearance of an angel of light. Do not rely on knowledge; it does not lead to holiness. Mere knowledge of the truth is powerless to sanctify. There must be love, too. Between holiness and the perception of truth a wide gulf yawns. How many a great genius has incurred the loss of his soul!

I will go further and say that the good works of zeal and charity do not sanctify by themselves. God did not make them the distinguishing mark of holiness. The Pharisees observed the law, gave alms, and consecrated tithes to the Lord. Yet the savior called them “whited sepulchers.” (Matt 23:27). We learn from the Gospel that prudence, temperance, and devotion may be joined with an evil conscience; witness the Pharisees who labored with zeal but whose works were devoid of the spirit of prayers.

Outward good works, then, do not make a soul holy[which causes me to reflect on Pope Francis’ comments even a bit more…….]  nor does penance or mortification. How much pride and hypocrisy may be hidden beneath shabby attire and a countenance emaciated by privation!

But when a soul lives by prayer, oh, there is no mistaking that sign! A person prays; consequently he has every virtue, is holy. What is prayer but holiness in action? All the virtues find exercise in it. Humility makes us acknowledge to God that we have nothing, can do nothing; it mkaes us confess our sins and, lifting our eyes to God, proclaim that He alone is holy and good. Prayer also gives exercise to faith, hope, and charity. Indeed, we make practice, in prayer, of every evangelical and moral virtue!……….

…….Yes, prayer is, itself alone, the practice of all the virtues. Without it nothing would be worthwhile or lasting. Charity itself withers away like a plant without roots unless it be invigorated and made fruitful by prayer.

What then? Prayer, in God’s plan, is nothing else but Grace. Have you not noticed that your most violent temptations are against prayer? [Maybe I’m not praying very well?  Mine are not, they are towards more prosaic, more base appetites. That is probably because I am not very advanced in the interior life.] The devil has so much fear of prayer that he would let us do any number of good works if he could only keep us from praying, or render our prayers ineffective. For this reason we must be on our guard incessantly, must foster the spirit of prayer within us all the time, and make prayer our first duty. The Gospel does not say we should prefer our neighbor’s salvation to our own; quite the contrary: “For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?” (Matt 16:26). The first law is to save oneself, and this can be accomplished only by means of prayer. Alas, we violate this law ever day! We willingly neglect ourselves for others, devoting ourselves to works of charity. For charity is truly easy and consoling; it exalts and honors us. But we fly from prayer because we are slothful; we cannot bear to apply ourselves to a practice so humiliating to nature, because it raises no chorus of approbation in the outer world.

————————End Quote———————

That last bit is definitely counter-cultural, and counter to many prevailing opinions in the Church today, which at times seem almost to denigrate prayer, and favor greatly those visible earthly, or material, works.  And while I think the great Saint Eymard might have taken his rhetoric to places we may find surprising, even uncomfortable, I think there is no greater need in the Church today than the need for much more and better prayer. I certainly count myself to share that need.  Earthly good works, works of charity, are absolutely essential, but what St. Eymard is saying, what I totally agree with, is that for the Christian, prayer must come first! Our first recourse should always be to prayer. There are certainly time for concrete works, for performing the necessary acts of our vocation in life, but all those things must be founded on prayer, prayer offered in the state of Grace to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  That is the ultimate means of enlivening/sustaining our vocations/apostolates and making certain they are fruitful and in accord with God’s Will.

“Without me, you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5)  And prayer is the means to reach Him.

This post is somewhat in reference to this.


No Latin Mass at St. Mark tonight June 10, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Latin Mass, North Deanery.
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The Nervous Urdu Latin Mass resumes next week at St. Mark in Plano.  June 17 at 7pm.

Homeschooling’s rapid growth, superior performance June 10, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, silliness, Society, Tradition, Virtue.
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I guess this came out last week, so forgive me if this is old news to you, but here is a very good article via Rorate that highlights many of the benefits of homeschooling, and explodes some of the negative myths (emphasis Rorate’s, I add comments):

As dissatisfaction with the U.S. public school system grows, apparently so has the appeal of homeschooling. Educational researchers, in fact, are expecting a surge in the number of students educated at home by their parents over the next ten years, as more parents reject public schools.

A recent report in Education News states that, since 1999, the number of children who are homeschooled has increased by 75%. Though homeschooled children represent only 4% of all school-age children nationwide, the number of children whose parents choose to educate them at home rather than a traditional academic setting is growing seven times faster than the number of children enrolling in grades K-12 every year.
As homeschooling has become increasingly popular, common myths that have long been associated with the practice of homeschooling have been debunked.
Any concerns about the quality of education children receive by their  parents can be put to rest by the consistently high placement of  homeschooled students on standardized assessment exams. Data  demonstrates that those who are independently educated generally score  between the 65th and 89th percentile on these measures, while those in traditional academic settings average at around the 50th percentile. In addition, achievement gaps between sexes, income levels, or  ethnicity—all of which have plagued public schools around the country—do not exist in homeschooling environments. [That is fascinating to me. Minority students and others who tend to perform poorly in public schools have much better outcomes when homeschooled.]
According to the report:
Recent studies laud homeschoolers’ academic success, noting their  significantly higher ACT-Composite scores as high schoolers and higher  grade point averages as college students. Yet surprisingly, the average  expenditure for the education of a homeschooled child, per year, is $500 to $600, compared to an average expenditure of $10,000 per child, per  year, for public school students. [And you can do it for much less than that.  I doubt we spend half that per child to do our homeschooling. We can do that by not belonging to any expensive program that requires buying new books every year, or which insists on third party grading of reports, etc.  The larger question is, why are public schools so incredibly inefficient, and, frankly, inept?  The more money that is spent, the worse the outcomes, nationally, become.]
The high achievement level of homeschoolers is readily recognized by  recruiters from some of the best colleges in the nation. Home-educated  children matriculate in colleges and attain a four-year degree at much  higher rates than their counterparts from both public and private  schools. Schools such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology,  Harvard, Stanford, and Duke Universities all actively recruit  homeschoolers.
Similarly, the common myth that homeschoolers “miss out” on so-called “socialization opportunities,” often thought to be a vital aspect of  traditional academic settings, has proven to be without merit.
According to the National Home Education Research Institute survey, homeschoolers tend to be more socially engaged than their peers and  demonstrate “healthy social, psychological, and emotional development,  and success into adulthood. [Look, for generations children were educated at home. Or, they were simply raised at home even if they didn’t get much education. That’s the default setting, if you will, of human experience. And, of course, those children turned into, by and large, competent adults.  Because they had been raised to be such! It has only been in the last 100-150 years that the phenomenon of universal compulsory public education has become widespread.  I would argue that it is fact the education of large groups of kids -with all the negative behaviors children can have, and the forced closeness to strangers for hours a day, etc., that is actually counterproductive of well adjusted adult behavior.  The idea that kids raised and educated at home by their parents will somehow not be socialized is idiocy, and nothing but special pleading by the public school establishment.]  
”From the report:Based on recent data, researchers such as Dr. Brian Ray (NHERI.org) “expect  to observe a notable surge in the number of children being homeschooled  in the next 5 to 10 years. The rise would be in terms of both absolute  numbers and percentage of the K to 12 student population. This increase  would be in part because…[1] a large number of those individuals who  were being home educated in the 1990’s may begin to homeschool their own school-age children and [2] the continued successes of home-educated  students.”
I strongly recommend homeschooling, certainly over public schools, and over just about any Catholic school I can think of.  Homeschooling makes overwhelming sense if you want to shield your children from all manner of destructive and unnatural vices and if you want to inculcate in them a religious faith, especially the Catholic Faith.  I was hostile to homeschooling in the beginning, but I have seen my error and now I am a fervent proponent.  One thing that makes me happiest is that all my kids are avid readers.  I know they have gotten that from homeschooling, and from seeing my wife and I read.

Oxford professor to “cure” you of your mental disorder: religious belief June 10, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, Basics, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society.
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I mentioned I’ve been reading The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solhzenitsyn. If it weren’t for Solhzenitsyn’s searing wit, the book would be incredibly depressing.  But it’s also been incredibly educational. I’ve actually had nightmares about the Kafka-esque existence that is life under communism, where the nightmare was real and went on for decades.

Stalin was brutal.  He thought nothing of the cold blooded murder of millions, be it by a bullet in a party purge or by starvation in the Ukraine.  After that monster died, the Soviets became more circumspect in their repression.  In reality, the repression remained, it just wasn’t so obtusely brutal. A favorite of the Brezhnev years was condemning those who fell out of the favor of the state to long stints in psychiatric hospitals, where they were basically imprisoned and made to suffer through hideous medical experiments.  They underwent constant aggressive propaganda and high-pressure interrogation sessions in order to “cure” them of their obvious insanity, because anyone who opposed the communist regime must be insane, right?  Because communism is the greatest politico-economic system in the history of the universe, right?  For some poor souls, this treatment went on for decades, and some truly were “cured:” that is, rendered basically vegetables by the abuse, experiments, and general maltreatment.  But, at least they stopped complaining.

The reason I say all this, is that I can see absolutely no difference between what the Soviets did (and Chinese do), and what this “Oxford researcher” is proposing, which is that one day, wrongthink in the form of “religious extremism” will be punished treated as a mental disorder:

Oxford University researcher Kathleen Taylor believes that neuroscience can begin to affect — with a view to, perhaps, curing — human beings of their most extreme beliefs.

She gave a presentation this week at the U.K.’s Hay Festival — the same festival in which Google’s Eric Schmidt warned that teenagers’ mistakes would live forever, thanks, in part, to Google.

As the Huffington Post reports, Taylor thinks that there are certain beliefs that might soon be treated as illnesses.

She said: “Someone who has for example become radicalized to a cult ideology — we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance.” [I have heard atheists describe the Church as a “dangerous cult.”  The Obama Administration listed Catholics as likely terrorists.  Is it possible Catholics could be targeted for “curing” one day?]

In her view, certain beliefs cause “a heck of a lot of damage.”

She referenced not only religious fundamentalism — specifically that of Islam — but also behavioral mores such as spanking children. [The only “good” Christian is the indifferentist lefty Christian. I bet opposition to sodomites being given state recognition as “married” falls under her oppobrium, too]

Obviously, this is only being proposed, and is most likely a long way from becoming reality. I wouldn’t panic just yet.  But, I also think the direction we are headed as a culture/nation – if it holds together and doesn’t implode in some fashion – is towards much greater “secular” science-worship, hostility towards Christianity, and increasingly invasive use of state power in a semi-totalitarian manner to punish those who hold the wrong sorts of beliefs.  Chief among those beliefs are traditional views of God and morality that faithful Catholics hold as a matter of faith. So, I don’t consider it at all implausible that, some way down the road in a future sexular pagan state, Catholics (and others, certainly) who annoy the ruling oligarchy could be locked up in mental institutions for doubleplusungoodthink.

I also note the irony that at the cutting edge of progressive “scientific” thinking is a return to an old idea of repression that was used decades ago in the former Soviet Union. I’m sure many of the scienticians that staffed Soviet mental hospitals convinced themselves they were “helping” others who were clearly mad for disbelieving the Soviet propaganda machine and were seeking to restore some sanity to the governance of Russia.  As CS Lewis said, there is no limit to the evil someone will commit when they are convinced what they are doing is “for the greater good.”  Millions of unburied corpses still moulder away in Siberia as a testament to that brave new world.

A beautiful, old school Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus June 10, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Bible, Ecumenism, error, family, foolishness, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Liturgical Year, sadness, scandals, secularism, Tradition.
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Yesterday was a very special day at Mater Dei Latin Mass parish in Irving. A Solemn High Mass was offered by Fr. Charles Vreeland, who has many connections ot the parish and who was ordained to the priesthood of Christ’s Holy Church on June 1. The Mass was the External Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. After Mass, a special Act of Consecration was offered by all who assisted at the Mass.  As I read the prayer, I could not help but think: why are prayers like this so rare nowadays?  Below is the prayer, along with a couple of photos from the Mass. I thought I had a couple more, but they apparently didn’t come out.  I highlight below parts of the prayer which I feel are either rare of different from so many of the “modern” prayers we hear.  I think this is significant because much has been lost in terms of how we pray as a Church:

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thine altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but, to be more surely united to Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy most Sacred Heart. 20130609_101142_resized

Many indeed have never known Thee; many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to Thy Father’s house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. [especially that hunger that is never sated outside the Bosom of Christ, spiritual hunger]

Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous beliefs, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.20130609_101140_resized

Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of islamism, and refuse not to draw them to the light and Kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of the race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life. [“His blood be upon us and our children…” (Matt 27:25)]

Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; [especially in this time and place]  give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: “Praise be to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever.” Amen.

I just thought that was an awesome prayer.  How often are such acts of consecration made in parishes around the country?  My personal experience would say, very rarely.  How often do we pray for the return of heretics (protestants), apostates, and the formal conversion to the Church of all those who are outside, especially Jews and Muslims?  There is a disastrously destructive belief widespread in the Church today that pretends that essentially everyone is saved. But that is not what Christ said, that is not what Scripture holds, that is not what 2000 years of constant Tradition have taught. What that Tradition says is that salvation outside the Church may be theoretically possible for some, but in practical terms the number of those saved outside formal union with the Church, persisting in the state of Grace, will be very, very few.  So we must pray for the conversion of all those outside the Church. But such is contrary to the “ecumenical” movement and the indifferentism that is seemingly omnipresent within it, so such prayers are very rarely heard indeed.

That should not stop us from praying so, however.  And one of my most fervent, most oft-repeated prayers is for the conversion of those I love who are outside the Church.  I pray God may be merciful and change their hearts.  The time is very late, the lamps are all burnt out, and the Bridegroom may call at any moment………(Matt 25:1-13).

Special TLM at Carmelite Chapel June 10, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Latin Mass, priests, religious, sanctity, true leadership.
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There will be a special TLM offered by Fr. Thomas Longua FSSP at the Dallas Carmelite Chapel on June 18 at 6pm.  All details below:

The Discalced Carmelite Nuns of The Monastery of

The Infant Jesus of Prague and St. Joseph

Invite you to a Special Memorial Mass

 on the Birthday and Ordination Anniversary of

The Servant of God, Father John A. Hardon, S.J.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 6:00 PM

TLM said by Father Thomas Longua, FSSP

Monastery of The Infant Jesus of Prague and St. Joseph

600 Flowers Avenue    Dallas, TX  75211 

Fr. Hardon was a good friend of the Dallas Carmel. He went there with some regularity, and knew some of the nuns, including the current Reverend Mother, rather well. They have a particular attachment to him there.  Fr. Hardon was one of the last, great Jesuits, an incredibly rare breed nowadays. Which is an incredible statement to have to make, but it is true.

I pray I shall be able to assist at this Mass next week.

And pray for Fr. Longua!  The 10th anniversary of his reception of the Sacrament of Holy Orders was last Friday, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  What an auspicious anniversary day!