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St. Alphonsus – don’t always seek counsel/direction of parents when pursuing vocation August 12, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Christendom, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, reading, religious, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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I found the following excerpts from Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori’s The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection very interesting.  As always, Liguori always quotes many other Saints, so Aquinas, at least, shares the opinion that parents and family are often impediments to our spiritual good, and should not always be consulted when one feels called to a religious vocation.  In fact, at times, we may have to either keep family in the dark, or even fight them, in order to do what we discern as God’s will for us.  I thought some readers might find the following helpful:

It is certain that in the choice of a state in life, children are bound to obey parents.  Thus the Doctors, in common accord, teach with St. Thomas, who says: “Servants are not bound to obey their master, nor children their parents, with regard to contracting matrimony, preserving virginity, and the like.”  Nevertheless, with regard to the state of marriage, F. Pinamonti in his treatise on religious vocation, is justly of the opinion of Sanchez and others, who hold that a child is bound to take counsel of his parents, because in such matters they may have more experience than the young. But speaking of religious vocation, the above-mentioned Pinamonti wisely adds that a child is not bound at all to take counsel of his parents, because in this matter they have not any experience, and through self-interest are commonly changed into enemies, as St. Thomas remarks: “Frequently,” he says, “our friends according to the flesh are opposed to our spiritual good.”  For fathers often prefer that their children should be damned with themselves, rather than saved away from them. Whence St. Bernard exclaims: “O hard father, O cruel mother, whose consolation is the death of their son, who wish rather that we perish with them than reign without them!”

…….If, then, following one’s vocation, it would be a great error to ask the counsel of parents, it would be greater one still to ask their permission, and to wait for it, for such a demand cannot be made without an evident danger of losing their vocation, as often as there is a probable fear that parents would exert themselves to prevent it.  And, in fact, the Saints, when they were called to leave the world, left their homes without given their parents so much as an intimation of it.  Thus acted St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis Xavier, St. Philip Neri, St. Louis Bertrand.  And we know that the Lord has even by miracles approved of these glorious flights..…..

…….Therefore, my very dearly beloved brother, if you are called by God to leave the world, be very careful not to make your resolution known to your parents, and, content to be thus blessed by God, seek to execute it as promptly as you can, and without their knowledge, if you would not expose yourself to the great danger of losing your vocation.  For, generally speaking, relatives, as as been said above, especially fathers and mothers, oppose the execution of such resolutions; and although they may be endowed with piety, interest and passion nevertheless render them so blind that under various pretexts they scruple not to thwart with all their might the vocation of their children……..

———–End Quote———–

Edifying advice as always from the Great Moral Doctor.  I have seen the above myself on several occasions, parents in particular seeking to block the vocation of their children when they become aware of it.  I have never understood that, as I would feel blessed beyond belief to be informed by one of my children that they felt called to the religious life. One of my daughters at present feels she may have such a calling, and I am enormously proud of her interest.  I just pray there will be enough spaces in traditional religious orders for her to find a spot, there being so few, and she being so drawn to the Traditional Mass!

Of course, I have also known parents who have encouraged their children’s calling to the religious life, and have been edified by their behavior.  I pray I may better emulate those parent’s virtue and piety, to provide a better example to all my children!   To think of having a child, your child, leading such a holy life, walking the path of so many Saints, and leading such a prayerful life……I can’t imagine being opposed!  It’s just unthinkable to me!  But I know many parents do interfere with their children’s call, perhaps even unintentionally, so I think St. Alphonsus’ guidance is worth meditating on and adopting if you are a young person feeling that glorious call.

It is critical to remember that our highest duty as individuals is to see to the salvation of our soul.  Anything that gets in the way of that must be rejected or overcome.

Pro-life prayer vigil outside the new Planned Barrenhood mill in South Dallas Sat Aug 16 August 12, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, awesomeness, contraception, Dallas Diocese, Ecumenism, General Catholic, horror, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society, Virtue.
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There will be a major pro-life prayer vigil, apparently interfaith, outside the new Planned Barrenhood mega-mill set to open soon in South Dallas.  Banned Parenthood is opening this new facility so they can continue to perform abortions, ostensibly in conformance with last year’s HB2, which made minimum health and safety requirements for abortion mills mandatory.  All other mills in Dallas, it is my understanding, will be closing Aug 31, since the law goes into effect Sept 1 (save for Curtis Boyd’s abattoir).

The vigil starts at 10a, so it probably won’t be much above 95 at that point.  Comparatively temperate.  The mill is at 7989 West Virginia Dr in Dallas near Methodist Hospital (I certainly hope Methodist didn’t give privileges to the abortionists.  My brother works there).

There will also be an “informational meeting” at Christ for the Nations conference center at 350 W. Kiest in Dallas at 11:30.  There will be a former Planned Parenthood employee laying down the evils of that organization, as if my readers needed any more evidence.  I’ll be skipping that.  But we may try to go to the morning vigil.

All info here—–>>>>> South_Dallas_Vigil_8-16-14

Interesting that Texas Alliance for Life is involved.  They have been controversial with some pro-lifers in some of their stances.


The great Carmelite practice of charity…… August 12, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, disconcerting, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Papa, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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……from Divine Intimacy is very deep and very clear.  I thought it might make an interesting point of comparison to the “ten steps to happiness” we’ve heard much about of late:

Jesus has said “He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me” (Matt X:27); hence, the precept of charity commands us to love God above all things.  However, this precept can be interpreted in two ways.  To love God more than any creature to the point of being ready to give up everything rather than offend God gravely is the first degree of charity.  It is indispensable for all who desire to be friends of God and to possess His Grace, and therefore, it is required of all.  But in a more profound sense, to love God above all things means to prefer Him to everything else, not only to what might be an occasion of mortal or venial sin, but even to all that does not fully correspond to His good pleasure.  This is the degree of perfect charity toward which every soul aspiring to intimate friendship with God must tend. This degree requires absolute renouncement and absolute purity, that is, the total absence of every shadow of sin or attachment to creatures [now think about numbers 1,4,6, and 9 from yesterday’s list].  The exercise of perfect charity requires, therefore, a work of total purification, a work that is accomplished only by charity; “Charity causes emptiness in the will with respect to all things, since it obliges us to love God above them all.” (Saint Juan de la Cruz, Ascent of Mount Carmel, II, 6,4).

We should be convinced that here on earth the practice of charity is closely united with that of renouncement, each being proportionate to the other; the more perfect and intense is charity, the more total is the renunciation required; but this is so precisely that the soul may attain to loving God with all its strength: “The strength of the soul,” says the mystical doctor, “consists in its faculties, passions, and desires, all of which are governed by the will.  Now when these faculties, passions, and desires are directed by the will toward God, and turned away from all that is not God, then the strength of the soul is kept for God, and thus the soul is able to love God with all its strength” (Saint Juan de la Cruz, Ascent of Mount Carmel, 16,2).  This is the great function of renouncement in respect to charity: to free the powers of the soul so entirely that they can be wholly employed in loving and serving God alone.  If we really want to love God with our whole heart, we must be very generous in renunciation and detachment.  This in itself is an exercise of love because it disposes the soul for perfect charity.

————-End Quote————–

I don’t want to dwell on this excessively.  Jesuit and Carmelite spirituality have always been quite different.  That is fine in and of itself, in Our Lord’s house, there are many rooms.  But Jesuit spirituality went very much off the rails starting in the early 20th century and has never recovered.  All religious orders are infected with modernism to one degree or another, and most all of them have drifted in varying degrees of severity from their founding charism, including the Carmelites.  That has been a continual trend in the Church since there have been religious orders, there have been cycles of growth, decay, reform, renewal, decay, etc, for centuries.  But I don’t know if there has ever been quite so sudden and total collapse as that which has afflicted the Jesuit order, literal bulwark of the Church for over 3 centuries, over the past 100 years.

Jesuit were always an order very much in the world, if certainly not of it.  But I have to wonder the degree to which the highly disordered spirituality which is embraced by almost all Jesuits didn’t play a role in that “10 steps to happiness” or whatever it was.  Such a list would be dismaying from a sandal wearing overripe hippie religious…….but from a pope!  It seems very, very difficult to reconcile that list with the Carmelite, but also broadly Catholic, understanding of charity, how to advance in the interior life, drawing closer to God, etc, expressed above.  It is almost as if speaking of two very different religions.

I’ll leave it at that for now.  I’m probably in enough trouble as it is!


Does the situation in Iraq call for US military intervention? August 12, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, General Catholic, horror, paganism, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, shocking, sickness, Society, Spiritual Warfare, the enemy.
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CatholicVote sent out an e-mail this morning that seems to argue for US military intervention in Iraq.  I assume they mean over and above the rather piddling response made thus far in the form of a few very limited airstrikes.

I’ve sort of brought up the subject before on my blog, but I thought I would address the topic directly – is this ongoing genocide in Iraq, largely the result of previous, disastrous US policy decisions, rise to the level of demanding some significant response from the United States and other Western nations?   That the ongoing crisis is a direct result of US actions is, I think, unarguable.  From the initial and badly mistaken decision to invade in 2003, to the public revocation of support for most of the ante bellum political leadership of the Mideast giving rise to the “Arab Spring,” (which spring has in reality been a cold winter of islamic hate and radicalism from Tunisia to Iran), to this administration siding with the rebels in Syria and even arming them, no matter how radical they were, and then the precipitous and completely self-serving decision by Obama to pull all troops out of Iraq, which left that false, cobbled together “nation” tottering on the brink of calamity…..the stage was set pretty well by the US, Britain, and the West generally for this unspeakable agony.

Pope Francis has now weighed in more forcefully (if belatedly) against this genocide, and key figures in the Curia seem to be saying that this genocide is a situation that calls for military intervention:

Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, who serves as the Pope Francis’ ambassador to Baghdad, told Vatican radio that American strikes are “something that had to be done, otherwise [ISIS] could not be stopped.”

Additionally, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s envoy to the United Nations in Geneva, told Vatican Radio that “military action in this moment is probably necessary.”

so over 100,000 Christians have fled their homeland “horrified and panicked” with “nothing but the clothes on their backs,” said Patriarch Louis Sako, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church.

Patriarch Sako appealed to Western nations to intervene:

“To summarize the situation of the Christian villages around Mosul up to the borders of Kurdistan Region: the churches are deserted and desecrated; five bishops are out of their bishoprics, the priests and nuns left their missions and institutions leaving everything behind, the families have fled with their children abandoning everything else! The level of disaster is extreme.

“The position of the American president Obama only to give military assistance to protect Erbil is disappointing. The talks about dividing Iraq are threatening. The Americans are not up to a rapid solution to give hope specifically as they are not going to attack the ISIS in Mosul and in the Nineveh Plain.”

Having said that, a gravely imprudent decision to go to war – a war Pope Saint John Paul II and his successor both decried repeatedly as unnecessary and unjust – set this tragedy in motion.  The pre-war population of 2,000,000 Chaldean Catholics in Iraq has already been cut in more than half through death and flight, and the 800,000 or so who remain are suffering mightily.  Even if military intervention is justified (as it certainly seems to be), and prudent and necessary, I’m not certain I see a way to get out.  Where will it end?  There seems to be an endless stream of young  muslims ready to take up the black flag of jihad and spread murder and mayhem everywhere they can.

And, as a commenter already noted in another post, this nation really cannot afford another military adventure, no matter how well justified.  I hate to weigh human lives against dollars, but the fact remains this nation has been living beyond its means for decades, and every additional $100 billion (or whatever) seems to doom it even further.

So I’m really torn.  While I can see that a vigorous military response could likely gravely wound ISIS and drive them away from Christian areas, easing the pressure on not just Catholics but everyone who is not a crazed jihadist, I fear that this will only perpetuate the seemingly endless cycle of violence in the area. I don’t see any clear way to extricate military force once involved.  Airstrikes are not terribly costly and may help reduce the greatest pressure, but it won’t win back any of the Christian cities in the Nineveh plain lost to ISIS.  Air power will at best be only a slight remedy.  Maybe there is merit in distributing a whole bunch of arms to the area and training locals to use them- not just Kurds, but Christians, as well.  Apparently Qaraqosh was successfully defended several times by Peshmerga and Catholics when ISIS attacked with small arms, but when they brought in heavy artillery (taken from the cowardly Iraqi Army), there was no defense, so they had to flee.

I have spoken at times of the idea of opening up refugee status to allow these persecuted Christians in Iraq, Syria, and other locales to enter the US.  That argument has mostly been made as a riposte to US bishops who seem only concerned about continuing to flood the US with Hispanic Catholics, and to point out the hypocrisy of their stance.  But I don’t want to see the Mideast de-populated of Christians.  That’s our home!  Christians were there long before Mohammad was born, and I pray there will be tens of millions in the Mideast long after islam is just a global bad memory.  So I don’t see a mass flight as a really good response, either, even if I think we Catholics should be pretty open to the idea in individual Saint_James_Moorslayer_museo_pedro_osmacases.

I guess what I’m struggling with is that this seems about as good a case for military intervention as one is likely to get, and yet I’m still pretty divided.  For me, I don’t think the cost factor even enters in.  These are dying people, and not just people but our brothers in the Faith, in our ancestral home, if you will……they deserve our support.  Where I get hung up is, ok, once we help them out, then what?

At this point I’m really just down to prayer as the only universally effective tool we have to deal with this crisis.  The US bishops have asked all Catholics to make this Sunday, August 17 a day of prayer for the persecuted Christians in the Mideast, and I think that’s a good idea, at least for a start.  I pray Our merciful God, the God of armies, will stop this nightmare in its tracks and perform some glorious miracle such as occurred when Saint James, Matamoros, took the field at the Battle of Clavijo in 844.  Ultimately, if the muslims insist on endless war, the Christians of the area are either going to have to find some way to stop the invading hordes, or give the area up, which I would truly hate to see.  I pray God may protect them and have mercy on them, and work a  miracle of conversion on their tormentors.

I’m open to hear your impressions.  It is quite a change for me to be a quasi-peacenik, I was a full bore interventionist back 11 years ago.  I could get somewhat behind military intervention, but I am not terribly hopeful it will really result in long-term peace for the afflicted.

I do know one thing, this debacle is an object lesson in hubris, and not listening to the Vicar of Christ.  Perhaps something to ponder there for all of us.