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Meditation for the Annunciation: Love Our Lady in Her Sufferings March 21, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Our Lady, reading, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Victory, Virtue.
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From The Victories of the Martyrs by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, one of my two “favorite” Saints, some excerpts from a sermon he gave  on The Dolors of Mary.  The excerpt is cut and pasted from pages towards the back of the book which are not numbered, which makes referencing them extra fun.  At any rate, with the “Little Christmas” of The Annunciation coming up this Saturday, I thought it timely to post this material, which closes with the four promises made to St. Elizabeth of Hungary by our Blessed Lord, concerning the benefits He would shower on those who develop a deep devotion of, and meditation on, the Dolors of Our Sorrowful Mother:

To understand how great was the grief of Mary we must understand, says Cornelius a Lapide, how great was the love she bore her Son.”  But who can ever measure this love?  Blessed Amadeus says that “natural love towards Him as her Son, and supernatural love towards Him as her God, were united in the heart of Mary.”  Those two loves were blended into one, and this so great a love that William of Paris does not hesitate to assert, that Mary loved Jesus “as much as it was possible for a pure creature to love Him.”  So that, as Richard of St. Victor says, “as no other creature ever loved God as much as Mary loved Him, so there never was any sorrow like Mary’s sorrow.”…….

…….St. Bernadine of Siena even says that “the sufferings of Mary were such, that had they been divided amongst all creatures capable of suffering, they would have caused their immediate death.”  Who, then, can ever doubt that the martyrdom of Mary was without its equal, and that it exceeded the sufferings of all the martyrs; since, as St. Antoninus says, “they suffered in the sacrifice of theri own lives; but the Blessed Virgin suffered by offering the life of her Son of God, a life which she loved far more than her own.”

………[L]et us be devout to the dolors of Mary, Saint Albert the Great writes, that “as we are under great obligations to Jesus Christ for His death, so also are we under great obligations to Mary for the grief she endured when she offered her Son to God by death for our salvation.”  This the angel revealed to St. Bridget: he said that the Blessed Virgin, to see us saved, herself offered the life of her Son to the Eternal Father; a sacrifice which cost her greater suffering than all the torments of the martyrs, or even death itself.  But the divine Mother complained to St. Bridget that very few pitied her in her sorrows, and that the greater part of the world lived in entire forgetfulness of them.  Therefore she exhorted the saint, saying: “Though many forget me, do not thou, my daughter, forget me.”  For this purpose the Blessed Virgin herself appeared in the year 1239 to the founder of the Order of Servites, or servants of Mary, to desire them to institute a religious order in remembrance of her sorrows; and this they did.

Jesus Himself one day spoke to Blessed Veronica of Binasco, saying, “Daughter, tears shed over My Passion are dear to Me; but as I love My Mother Mary with an immense love, the meditation of the sorrows which she endured at My death is also very dear to Me.”  It is also well to know, as Pelbart relates it, that it was revealed to St. Elizabeth of Hungary, that our Lord had promised four special graces to those who are devout to the dolors of Mary: first, that those who before death invoke the divine Mother, in the name of her sorrows, should obtain true repentance of all their sins; second, that He would protect all who have this devotion in their tribulations, and that He would protect them especially at the hour of death; third, that He would impress upon their minds the remembrance of His Passion, and that they should have their reward for it in Heaven; fourth, that He would commit such devout clients to the hands of Mary, with the power to dispose of them in whatever manner she might please, and to obtain for them all the graces she might desire.

———–End Quote———-

I have great appreciation for the all the writings of the Moral Doctor (Liguori), but I have found The Victories of the Martyrs the least best of the nine volumes of his ascetical writings that I have read to date.  Saint Alphonsus, probably due to limitations of time, focused exclusively on the early martyrs of the Roman Empire, and then skipped ahead to covering the 17th century martyrs of Japan, which he covered in detail one might describe as excruciating.  There is nothing in between, even with the martyrdom (white or red) of millions of Catholics at the hands of muslims, or Eastern Orthodox, or pagans in northern Europe, or wherever.

Certainly a volume attempting to category every major Christian martyr from every time would quickly turn into a library itself, but I was hoping that the saint might cover a bit broader range of martyrs both chronologically and geographically.  Perhaps my expectations were out of line.

Please understand, I am not saying I don’t like the book.  Only that compared to the sublime excellence of the other eight volumes I’ve read, this one was only very good.  So far, I still have probably 50-60 pages left (it’s hard to tell, with the inexplicable editorial decision not to number the last 100-odd pages).  Perhaps I’ll be blown away in the 10% or so remaining, but perhaps not.

I am looking forward to seeing other volumes by Liguori, who wrote torrentially, translated into English (or re-printed, since there are translations long out of print).  The twenty-two volumes of his ascetical works were only a small portion of his total output. Since good souls have taken on the project of translating much of Bellarmine’s writings into English (previously available only in Latin), I pray they consider delving into this saint, as well.

That is, if anyone at Mediatrix Press is listening reading.  Hint.

Msgr. Fenton on the False Ecumenism Since Vatican II March 15, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Ecumenism, error, General Catholic, manhood, priests, Revolution, scandals, secularism, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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While largely  unknown today, many consider Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton as the greatest theologian the United States has ever produced.  In the mid-20th century, he was a huge figure within the American Church, editing the premiere theological journal of the country and doing battle with the forces of modernism which were already becoming more and more bold in their efforts to redefine the Faith according to the “synthesis of all heresies” which they held.

Some of Fenton’s most pointed battles were against Fr. John Courtney Murray, SJ, a favorite of the Kennedy clan and the man who many consider to be the father of the Church’s post-conciliar ecumenical ethos.  Murray was especially influential in developing the Vatican II document Dignitatis Humanae, which discusses matters such as religious liberty and the necessity of the Church for salvation in truly unprecedented ways.  Unfortunately for the Church and millions of souls, while many observers felt that Fenton had clearly defeated Murray in their numerous theological engagements in the Catholic press, it was Murray whose influence was far more decisive at Vatican II. Once the Council turned decisively towards revolutionary sentiments in the first session, casting aside the years of previous work in the various schema that had been produced before the Council, and which had been championed by Cardinal Ottaviani and his staff of peritus (including Msgr. Fenton), Fenton’s influence on the Council waned as dramatically as did that of the deliberately publicly humiliated Ottaviani.

At any rate, the principle point of disagreement between Fenton and Murray, among others, was on the necessity of the Church for salvation and the paramount need for souls to be within that Church.  This spilled over into a closely related point: whether the American form of government with its “freedom of religion” (really, formally enshrined agnosticism as the state religion) was ideal, suitable, or even permissible for Catholics to support. Murray’s vision was much more Americanist in nature, not quite indifferentism but certainly close to what has become the reality in the post-conciliar Church.

In contrast, what we read below is fully in line with the Doctrine of the Faith as handed down through the ages, and fitted for the understanding of contemporary man.  I pray that one day the Church return not only to a full appreciation of Fenton’s work, but also to its implementation in a general reinstitution of classical scholastic theology.  The following excerpts come from The Church of Christ: A Collection of Essays by Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, pp. 299-301. I add my own comments:

The anti-Catholic agitators are continually charging that Catholics are striving to do away with freedom of religion in the United States. [As for me, guilty as charged.]   In answering these men, some of our less skillful apologists [what a nice dig at Murray!]  become so confused that they actually give the impression that Catholics are completely and absolutely satisfied with the situation here in the United States today, that we believe it to be the best that many of our fellow citizens should remain as they are, apart from Our Lord, from His Church, and from His true religion.  Unmindful of the constant and devoutly sincere prayer of the Church that all of those who wander apart from ecclesiastical union and fellowship with Christ should be brought by God’s Grace into that fellowship, [A prayer repeated at every Good Friday in the TLM, but one which the vast majority of Catholics today have probably never heard] these writers describe as ultimately good and satisfactory a situation in which the nation itself takes no more cognizance of the true religion than it does of false systems of worship…….

……….We would by denying the force of that missionary charity within the Church, or misjudging the nature of the Church itself, were we in any way to give the impression that we do not care whether our fellow Americans enter the true Church or not.  The true religion is the great good which we desire for our fellow citizens and for our country.  The true Church, outside of which there is no salvation, is likewise a great and necessary good we seek for the men and the nation we love in the affection of charity.

………..The Vatican Council’s [That would be Vatican I] first dogmatic constitution, Dei Filius…..declares that “If anyone should say that the faithful and those who have never arrived at the only true faith are in a like situation, so that Catholics can have a legitimate reason for withholding their assent from and doubting, until they shall have completed the scientific proof of the credibility and the truth of their own faith, that faith which they have already received under the Church’s Magisterium, let him be anathema.” [Wow, a council that levels anathemas.  Wonders never cease.] The third chapter of this constitution declares that “those who have received the faith under the Church’s Magisterium can never have any legitimate cause for changing that faith or doubting it.” [Et tu, Francesco?]

………The thesis that the state or the civil society is objectively obligated to worship God according to the Rite of the Catholic religion thus stems basically from a realization of the fact that the debt of religion is a real obligation incumbent upon every human being and every social unit, and from a recognition of the truth that there is only one objectively acceptable religious worship, that which is paid to God within the framework of Our Lord’s Mystical Body.  This thesis is likewise in line with the fundamental principle of Catholic missiology, the truth that God wills that all men should enter His one true Church.  Thus it refuses to see as genuinely and ultimately desirable and good a situation in which some men, even though through no fault of their own, are not citizens of God’s supernatural kingdom on earth.

————End Quote————

Let me know if the excerpts don’t quite form a cohesive whole. I’m out of time and really wanted to get this post out but may have taken out a bit much “meat.”

The practical implementation of Dignatitis Humanae and the cult of false ecumenism it has engendered (for the only true ecumenism, contra the previous pontiff, is what he called “the discredited ecumenism of return” to the faith) is probably the second greatest wound to the Church unleashed in the decades since Vatican II, after Sacrosanctum Concilium.  The latter attempts to rip out her heart, the former, her mind.  No wonder the Church’s missionary efforts have totally collapsed in the years since.  They were intended to.  The revolutionaries – whether they intended to be or not – could not have chosen their targets better.  It is a bitter shame better men like Fenton did not succeed, but I have to accept that God allowed all this to come to pass, for some reason.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis.

 

 

DON’T GO TO COLLEGE! March 15, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, It's all about the $$$, scandals, secularism, Society, Tradition.
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Interesting video by Stefan Molyneux below, and one that is most timely for my family.  To make matters bearable for my wife, we “paired up” my oldest and 2nd oldest daughters, born 18 months apart, into the same school grade when the started kindergarten many years ago. This made eminent sense, as the twins came after these two and would constitute their own grade.  So my oldest daughter started homeschooling at age 6 while the next was 4.

But what that also means is that I will have two girls graduating high school the same year, 2018.  For a long time, however, we have had the strong sense that our oldest daughter was not destined for college, while her younger sister was much more likely to go.  And that’s very much turned out to be the case.  Our oldest might go to community college or get a 2 year degree in some kind of artistic field.  Her sister, however, is taking the standardized tests and doing really very well.  She might wind up with a better score than any I was able to attain by the time she’s done.

Right now, however, she’s leaning towards a natural science degree, in a “hard science” like biology.  While she’ll probably attend UD – which is her school of choice – I kind of view a BS in natural science as sort of the floor  for a major that makes getting a degree worthwhile, economically. Especially when you factor in the fact that UD is a private university. I’m also leery of biology as a degree, even at a fairly Catholic uni like UD, because the field of biology is eaten up with the cult of evolution.

The commentary from Stefan Molyneux plays into this thesis.  It makes me want to encourage her exploring engineering a bit more, perhaps biomedical engineering as a cousin she is close to is majoring in right now at UT-San Antonio.  But J really wants to stay close to home.  We’ll see.

I have been pretty upfront with my kids, however.  If they want to get a degree, it needs to be in some field where there is a reasonable payout for the hideous expense involved, be it finance, compsci, engineering, hard science, management information systems, or whatever.  Otherwise, they better get pretty close to a full ride scholarship, or it ain’t happening.  I am also hopeful that online degrees of low cost but sufficient gravitas really begin to emerge as my kids enter college. That might be another alternative.

It is a brilliant point to bring up the fact that making college “free” would have the direct effect of radically reducing the worth of having a college degree – about akin to a high school diploma today.  Then an entire new level of credentialization would have to emerge to replace what college is today – be it post-graduate degrees or something beyond PhD.

Interestingly, that is why my alma mater – The University of Texas – has fought for years to keep its enrollment below 50,000, with about 30-35,000 of those being undergrads (of whom maybe 60-70% actually graduate with a degree).  They have done this for several reasons – limitations of space as an urban university, funding limitations, etc., but also because they want the degrees to have a certain value.  At present, UT graduates about 7-8000 undergraduates a year.  There are typically about 300-400,000 living graduates at any one time.  If UT did what A&M is doing, which is expanding to 70,000-80,000 or beyond, they would produce twice as many graduates and potentially reduce the value of their degrees.

It is exceedingly odd for me to say this, though it is a sense I have had developing over the past several years (college not being worth the expense in many degree fields, in addition to being a source of very dangerous indoctrination).  My parents were the first people in both of their families to ever get college degrees, though my mom did not get hers until she was nearly 40.  My brother and sister and I all went to college as a matter of course.  My wife’s experience is similar.  And yet she only used her degree professionally for a few years before graduating to full time motherhood (which may well be the case for most of my daughters).  Here I feel like I am turning my back on something that has been taken for granted as a critical part of the ascent to the upper middle class in this country for generations.

Yet, there are fewer and fewer reasons to obtain degrees of exponentially increasing cost.  There are sources of learning available anywhere in the world today that were unimaginable when I was of college age.  The college experience is increasingly dangerous for souls.  I just had the lamentable tale related to me a few days ago of a father whose daughter was totally lost in the sexular pagan leftist zeitgeist, a zeitgeist she absorbed while a student at Oklahoma University, of all places.  There are very few intellectually and morally “safe” colleges.  I strongly recommend children either go to a college they can attend while living at home, or living with family that can be trusted implicitly.

Lots of factors. Lots of opportunities for soul-crushing mistakes.  Err on the side of caution.  Perhaps more specifically, err on the side of what is the safest route morally and ecclesiastically, even if that involves something of an economic penalty. Easy for me to say, however.

Matt: Don’t Give Up, Fight for the Church! March 10, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, different religion, Francis, General Catholic, Revolution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, unbelievable BS.
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I really like this video from Michael Matt.  It makes a very good corollary to the two videos in the post below.  Sort of like diagnosis, and treatment plan.

I should never like to give the impression that I am hopeless or despondent over the state of the Church. Much aggrieved, certainly, outraged, definitely, but not hopeless.  I do know God will prevail in the end, and that all of this somehow ties in with a plan of Providence that may well forever elude human understanding.  I also know that situations, even extremely dire ones, can sometimes turn on a dime, that what appears a hopelessly lost cause can rapidly transform into unbelievable triumph.

So I really like the last several minutes of the video below, and the exhortation to fight.  I agree with Matt that I don’t know how to “define” Francis.  I have read and seen some of the same things he has: that Francis is antipope, that Benedict’s abdication was null because it was made under duress, that Francis is the false prophet, that the Chair of Peter has been vacant since ’63, or ’58, or whenever.  And while some of these arguments may have more merit than others, I have not –  I cannot – fully embrace any of them because I. Just. Don’t. Know.  Francis was elected.  He sits in Rome.  He is viewed by all the world as the pope.  He exercises petrine powers.  But he also attacks the Faith in ways never before seen, at least not from this most holy office.  So what is he?  I don’t know.  Scary.  Terrifying.  A destroyer. A fool. A knave. a weak, flawed, failing man.  All of the above.

All I know for certain is that he is wrong; dangerously, destructively, wrong.  And I know he must be opposed.  I have known that for a long time.  I also know he – and more importantly the cardinals and bishops who surround his office and who can either put his policy wholly into effect, or block and undermine it – must be prayed for with passionate intensity.  I have been doing that, too, for a long time.

As to whether “neo-Catholics” are “getting it,” I really have no idea.  I don’t have the time to read their thoughts much anymore.  I’m willing to take Matt’s analysis at face value, but I also know a lifetime of intellectual habit and deeply held belief – the pope must never be questioned or doubted, ever – is not an easy thing to overcome.  So we shall see.  As to whether there are portents to a mass resistance to Francis’ pontificate and the forces that elected, we shall have to wait for the future to see that, too.  I a way, I pray that is correct, but what will that mean?  Schism?  Or simply a formal recognition of the schism that has existed for 60 or more years, ever since the modernist forces that badly influenced, if not hijacked, a council, first started to reveal themselves en masse?

It’s all a bit much for me to figure out.  I shall be content to continue to do my part in bringing awareness, as Matt says, to how extremely radical and unprecedented this pontificate is.  All else I leave in the hands of Almighty God, whose Will shall eventually triumph.

Priest Explains the Problem of Amoris Laetitia and Francis in Detail March 10, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, different religion, disaster, episcopate, error, Francis, General Catholic, horror, Latin Mass, Revolution, scandals, secularism, sickness, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership.
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While much of what the priest in the sermons below presents is somewhat old news to any who have been following developments in this pontificate with any closeness, it is still extremely handy to have it all gone over in detail and explained just exactly how pernicious, destructive, and even blasphemous Francis’ efforts to wholly remake (as in destroy) the moral edifice of the Church are.

It is also very edifying to know there are priests out there – I certainly won’t ID him, but non-SSPX, traditional priests – who are calling a spade a spade and demonstrating clearly that, given the choice between “the pope and Jesus Christ,” this priest, at least, intends to side firmly with Jesus Christ.

There is much good formation here.  Both sermons are well worth your time and constitute elements of a 6 part sermon that has all been uploaded to the Sensus Fidelium channel on Youtube.

Sermon one reviews the travesty that is Amoris Laetitia, and the clear “interpretations” Francis has given to bishops in Argentina, Malta, and other locales, which clearly demonstrate the revolutionary intent of this unprecedented encyclical.  There are many clear judgments and hard-hitting phrases that we most certainly need to be hearing from our priests:

The second sermon deals with the reaction to Amoris Laetitia in the form of the dubia submitted by 4 cardinals asking very pointed and clear questions of Francis.  As is already widely known, Francis has chosen to simply ignore this dubia.  One hopes eventually the cardinals will then take the issue to the next level, which is to publicly examine Francis’ works in the light of Tradition, but we shall have to see:

I disagree slightly with this excellent priest in one area, that is in referring to this as a “real Henry VIII moment in the Church.”  Elsewhere, he says more correctly, to my mind, that the Church has never, ever, in her entire recorded history had a pontiff make such direct, destructive attacks on the Doctrine of the Faith.

We are in a completely unprecedented situation.  This post-modernist crisis is the worst the Church has ever seen for the completeness of the embrace of error and the tiny scope of the remnant faithful, but Francis has taken it to an entirely new and different level.

But while Henry VIII was certainly a lout, a glutton, a destroyer of religion, and a persecutor of the Church, he was, after all, a layman.  He started the process of destruction of the Faith in one country and was rightly excommunicated for his crimes, but what we have in Francis is something entirely different.  Here it is an attack from within, from the highest office in the Church, the man given such enormous torrents of Grace to correspond faithfully to the tenets of his office and the Doctrine of the Faith that his heart must be as hard as diamond to be executing the plan he is so obviously carrying out.  Not only is the scope of destruction Francis can achieve infinitely larger than anything Henry VIII could have done, but after decades of neglect and collapse the forces of orthodoxy and resistance are so much smaller than they have been at probably any other time in the history of the Church.

To me, Francis’ destructive potential is greater than Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Luther, Calvin, Melanchthon, Zwinglii, and all the rest combined, because he presents himself as not only within the House of God but as its head!  Catholics will for decades to come be fighting off arguments from protestants, atheists, etc., based on the errors that Francis has introduced.  Even worse is the aid, comfort, and intellectual armament being conferred on those modernists within the Church.  Now we shall be forever quoting pope against pope in trying to defend the Faith.

And we haven’t even begun to see this play out.  Francis will be gone in a few years, more than likely, but what will follow in his wake?  Even if that next pope is not as radical as Francis, will he roll back any of the revolutionary changes already under way?  Or will he allow them to persist and continue to rot the Church from within, as the appeasement of the use of contraception did to the Church during the 70s, 80s, 90s, etc?

The only way forward for the Church, then, is for some future pope to deliberately refute the errors abounding today and anathematize the current resident of the Vatican Doma Sancta Martha.  We have got to pray that such a future pope, with enough backbone and love of Christ to do so, emerges.

On a lighter note, is not this priest a most effective, practiced speaker?  Few other priests use so much inflection, emotion, and vary their meter as much as this one does.

Tempting Christ – Avoiding Satan’s Trap March 7, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Ecumenism, episcopate, error, Francis, General Catholic, horror, Revolution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society, Spiritual Warfare, the struggle for the Church.
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In posting this video, The Remnant asks why St. Augustine called the Cross “satan’s trap?”

Strange question, isn’t it?  How could the Cross, the very vehicle of our salvation, be a “trap” for faithful souls?

Watch the video, and see if you can figure it out:

From the standpoint of this very good sermon, the “trap” was satan’s belief that he could undo this Messiah by having him killed.  Satan was unable to determine that Christ was truly God, and so erred in believing engineering the most horrific, shameful death possible would destroy all the good this Messiah was intending to accomplish.

But I think the analogy works on another level, too. How else can the Cross possibly be a trap?  We have no need but to look at the present Bishop of Rome, and, shuddering, find the reason.

The Cross also becomes a trap when people reduce the act of salvation to it, and it alone.  When protestants, and their unimaginative emulators in the Church, proclaim that one is saved, wholly and entirely, by Christ’s salvific Sacrifice, independent of one’s actions, this is a terrible error that has led countless millions of souls to their eternal doom.

Personified in the totally novel, made in America phrase (invented in the late 19th century) “once saved always saved,” this pernicious error has grown and multiplied until it has come to dominate most sects and made very deep inroads into the Church herself.  This is the opposite error of Pelagianism, which posits that it is possible to earn salvation entirely by one’s own efforts at virtue, independent of God’s Grace flowing through that one-time but constantly re-presented Sacrifice.

Salvation through a one time proclamation that Christ is one’s “personal Lord and Savior” is refuted numerous times in Scripture, most notably I Cor xv:31, Heb iii:13 and especially Mt xxv:31-46, but the supposedly “scriptural” protestants have twisted it to their own destruction, as St. Peter warned they would.

Of course, Catholics know the truth, that we are saved through Christ’s Sacrifice, yes, but also by cooperation with Grace through the good works we do and the sins we avoid.  Christ tells us repeatedly through Scripture that we establish the fact of our existence in the state of Grace through good works, and that those works are necessary for our salvation.  Christ’s Sacrifice offers us the potential for salvation, which was all but impossible before, but does not guarantee it based on a silly one time altar call.  Such an American concept, anyway, that salvation is like placing an order in a drive thru.

It is terrifying to contemplate that the man elected to the Chair of Peter so openly seems to hold protestant beliefs as much superior to the Sacred Doctrine of the Faith.  Francis has heaped praise on the sects and feted numerous sect leaders, and seems to never tire of heaping scorn and derision on faithful Catholics.  It is the inversion of the Truth and the damage being done to souls is incalculable by human means.

Our Lady, however, revealed the answer, at least figuratively, at Fatima, when she showed Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco the souls falling into hell like snowflakes.

Prayer for Self Control March 7, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, mortification, priests, Restoration, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Continuing in this impromptu Lenten series of prayers for establishing a holy and virtuous home life, a prayer/meditation on maintaining self-control at all times.

I am definitely of a quick tempered disposition.  I inherited many things from my father’s side of the family, many very admirable attributes, but this is probably one that is on the debit side.  My paternal grandmother said her father-in-law, my great-grandfather, was the meanest man she ever met.  My dad had a really hard time with his father, who was an extremely hard worker but also extremely demanding. I believe, Deo Gratias, there has been a certain process of mellowing from one generation to the next, but the tendency towards a quick temper – which subsides as quickly as it comes on – has remained.  Also, both my grandfather (lifelong farmer) and father (farm raised/construction/gas fields) were notorious abusers of the language, using foul words as a matter of course, and that’s been another bad habit I’ve struggled against.

That is to say, this prayer from Father’s Manual by Fr. A Coomes, SJ, is something I can really appreciate.  It would be ideal, I guess, if readers could say “this is definitely not a problem for me!,” but I tend to doubt that’s the case.  Note, tendency towards excessive anger is not the only area of self-control addressed, but in raising a whole bunch of kids, it is often among the most prevalent:

Lord Jesus, You told us to learn of  You because You are meek and humble of heart. Teach me Your way of meekness that I may control my mind, my heart, and my tongue.

Give me the manly calm and self-control needed to be an example and inspiration to my family.

Help me to be a considerate husband – to be a true comfort to my wife……..and never quarreling or peevish.  May I be at all times sympathetic, and may my words never be bitter to bring her sorrow.  May I always be understanding, unselfish, and thoughtful in sharing with her the family problems we experience.  Let me be ready to conciliate differences with understanding and never be domineering.

Teach me to be a patient father to my children, inspiring them always by word and example.  May my words always be words that direct and help them, and never words that wound.  When I must correct them, let it not be in anger. And, if I must be firm in my corrections, let me never be crude or harsh.

Let me never use rude or impatient words before my wife and children, nor display an uncontrolled or ill-considered action, which must certainly be a reproach to me afterwards when I contemplate the gentleness and calm of your meek and humble heart.

Finally create in me a spirit of true familial leadership, where I embody all the virtues necessary in a father, husband, and head of the domestic church entrusted to my care.  May I display none of the vices of selfishness, pride, indifference, or failure of leadership. May I in all things lead my family according to Your holy will, for which I will be judged most severely at my death.  May my wife and children submit to my role as leader of the family entrusted to me with willingness and humility.

Please bless our family abundantly and provide us with a joyful and happy Christian home.

———End Quote———

It is a great challenge, adequately balancing proper leadership and necessary firmness with the optimal levels of gentleness and deference.  These days, the great impediment to being a good father and husband is selfishness and carelessness, as we see so commonly in the cultural presentations of oafish, self-serving, uninvolved fathers.  Of course the culture of divorce has a very great deal to do with that.

Even among some traditional priests and laity, however, there seems almost a bias at times against strong leadership which is sometimes slandered as severity, a certain – I am positive it is unintentional – trepidation about fathers going “too far,” or encouragements to fathers towards excessive deference.  There is also sometimes a subtle undermining of the father’s role, in presenting the “ideal” father as meek to the point of emasculated, or gentle to the point of milquetoast.

That does not mean I have not seen very well intentioned Catholic fathers who have perhaps gone a bit too far towards clarity, strength, and decisiveness, which may manifest as a certain tendency towards severity.  As I said, it’s a very difficult balance, but in my limited experience and reading the great mass of deficient fatherhood is on the other side, towards laxity or loss of leadership, both among fathers/husbands who perform their God-given role poorly either due to indifference or lack of knowledge (perhaps more common), and due to the undermining of the father’s/husband’s role by society and, much more destructively, by some of those who should be supporting and upholding that role with all their strength.

This leaves aside the very difficult situation many fathers/husbands face, which is dealing with attempts to usurp their rightful role from within the family itself. This is a very common problem and is found within the most outwardly devout families.  Many women have absorbed some of the noxious ideas floating about in the culture, most of the time unconsciously. Some pious mothers are unaware of how they may be, largely unintentionally, undermining their husband or attempting to subvert his leadership.  Certain priests seem to have a hard time strongly supporting fathers in the face of tearful outbursts in their office or confessional.

All this is to say, the challenges are manifold, especially at this time, though many of these have always existed.  I read a book from a priest written in the 19th century that decried many of these same problems.  Hopefully this prayer will go some way towards overcoming these challenges.  I am looking for a similar prayer intended for mothers and children to aid in their subordinate role in family life, something that is so radically countercultural in these days many have a hard time accepting it.  Generally speaking, in the broader Western world, the overwhelming deficit of virtue and action is on the side of men.  In the much tinier pious Catholic subset, however, the problems are more evenly balanced.

I’ve wandered far enough abroad.  If I keep this up, it’ll be the only post you get today, so I’ll stop.  At root, the best I can do is for all to look to the Holy Family for guidance.  Fathers, look to St. Joseph, mothers, look to Our Lady.  Our Lady never sinned, was preserved free from sin by an act of Grace, and yet she submitted to her husband in all things.  Fathers emulate St. Joseph’s kindness, love, strength, masculinity, and virtue.  I have found you cannot model yourself on St. Joseph, nor ask for his intercession, too much.

 

Prayer for a Christian Atmosphere in the Home March 7, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Lent, reading, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Another helpful gem from Father’s Manual by Fr. A. Coomes, SJ.  Raising a family has always been hard, but with our kids exposed to more temptations and diabolical interference than perhaps any time in history, it is especially vital to maintain the home as a literal domestic church, full of virtue and with clearly marked lines drawn around every possible vice.  I am better at explaining this than I am living it!  We are all fallen creatures and almost all of us have been damaged by detritus we have picked up from the sewer in which we were raised and have been forced to live all of our lives.  That’s not a commentary on anyone’s particular home life, least of all my own (though far more substantial problems can result from less than ideal upbringings, certainly), but simply a recognition of reality . I wasn’t Catholic as a child or young person, I was very secular and accepted without question most of what the world told me – how much of that do I hold onto today? How many bad habits or ideas do I have of which I am unaware?

You get the point.  I thought this was good, hopefully you will, too (pp. 43-6):

Lord Jesus Christ, You are the way and the truth and the life; and it is by following You that we willmost surely find the way to our Father in Heaven.

Help me, instructed by You and  Your example, to create a truly Christian atmosphere in my home.

May there be in all things a deep and true family life in our home, and a family life patterned after the Holy Family at Nazareth.

May You always be a guest at our activities, our conversations, our recreations  – in a home that is truly and meaningfully centered around You.

May Your picture and that of Your Mother on our walls be treasured reminders of Your love for us and a token of our love for You.

May the Holy Bible, and other books and literature that tell us of You, lead us to a closer knowledge of You,a nd be welcomed and read by every member of the family.

May the thoughts expressed in our home be uncomplaining – at one with Your thoughts and those of Your Holy Church.

May there be a deep respect for all things holy, and may my children learn from me and from their mother a love of family prayer and of the Sacraments.

May charity of speech reign in our home.

Instill in use a tolerance of our neighbors that will be free from all littleness – and free from all prejudice.

May our ways be ever gracious in imitation of Your own; and may we show a special regard for the aged, the underprivileged, the handicapped, the infirm.

And, in all the things that I expect of my children and that I want to characterize our home, let me ever be a convincing example.  May my words be always words that I may invite You to utter with me; my thoughts always thoughts that I may ask You to think with me; the feelings I make my own ever be feelings I may ask You to entertain with me; may the interpretations and judgments I make be such that I may expect You to share them with me.

So in all things may I, together with my family, be so directed by the inspirations of Your Grace that we may be completely one in You.

———End Quote———-

Perhaps striving to improve the tranquility, virtue, and piety of your home life could be a (admittedly slightly tardy) part of your Lenten program?  It is for me.

The best way to fix this fallen culture is one family at a time.

Lenten Mission at Mater Dei this week Open to All March 6, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Lent, priests, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Fr. James Buckley, FSSP will be hosting a Lenten mission at Mater Dei parish nightly March 6-10 from 7-8pm.  Everyone is invited,  you do not need to be a Mater Dei to attend.  I do not have a list of topics to be covered, but judging from Father’s sermons they will probably touch on the practice of penance and self-denial generally for souls who are awash in a hedonistic, self-serving culture.

Mater Dei parish is located at 2030 E. Hwy 356 (Irving Blvd) in Irving, TX.  There is no cost for attending.

Sorry for the tardiness of the notice, but you people are quick thinkers, able to improvise, overcome, and adapt to bad blogging.

Explaining Marriage in the Age of Francis March 3, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, damnable blasphemy, disaster, family, Francis, General Catholic, manhood, priests, Sacraments, scandals, sexual depravity, sickness, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Hopefully folks aren’t getting sick of sermons from this priest, but these two in particular are excellent in the age of a pope who is literally antithetical to the Faith and where so much error is being promoted by the vast majority of priests and bishops.  In point of fact, as I discussed with a priest last night, so many of even well-intentioned young priests have never been formed in the true Doctrine of the Faith on this and many allied topics.  Centuries of moral theological development were deliberately suppressed in order to help “sing” this new church into being.   These sermons go a long way to correcting this very common deficiency.

What is going on between the pope and the four cardinals who issued the Dubia against Amoris Laetitia?  How have we come to this awful pass.  Largely, through deliberate obfuscation or frustration of Sacred Doctrine and the centuries-long practice of the Faith.  This occurred as a result of the horrific sundering of the Church from her historical and doctrinal mores at and after Vatican II.  But what specifically is going on?  Father provides much needed background and catechesis in the sermons below.

The first sermon is on marriage.  It covers, very briefly and at a high level, common misconceptions regarding marriage contract, the ends of marriage, annulments, the very narrow grounds on which they can be granted, separation and the circumstances under which it may legitimately occur, so-called divorce, the debts due to spouses, etc.  Father notes that even among many traditional Catholics there is a sometimes a stubborn unwillingness to accept elements of the Church’s Doctrine on marriage, even where it is known.

If you don’t have 40 minutes to invest in the entire sermon, there is a fine summation from 33:00 – 38:00:

The next sermon is on penance.  We all know, Confession is the great ignored, belittled, and forgotten Sacrament of the post-conciliar age.  The vast majority of parishes, if they have Confession at all, have a paltry 30-60 minutes a week.  But as Father notes, this is only the beginning of the problems of Confession.  Many priests, and almost all faithful, do not know what true contrition for sin means, or what lack of true contrition means for those who repeatedly go to the confessional every week or month with exactly the same sins to confess.  Even more, there are those who fail to remove the near occasion of sin for their primary vice – such as smart phones in the pockets of those with a porn/self-abuse addiction.

In fact, confessors that wrongly grant absolution for sins such as adultery – say, in the case of a couple of one of these patented “complex situations” where people with previous marriages go ahead and civilly attempt a remarriage – bring damnation down upon themselves when there is no purpose of amendment and the soul in question intends to continue their adulterous relationship including the marital act.  This has obvious consequences for the Church today, where supposed “processes of accompaniment” are to be exercised for souls who persist in adulterous unions to receive the Blessed Sacrament even though they have not stopped their adulterous acts and have made no valid confession:

In fact, as Father notes, these priests who basically solicit penitents to continue in adulterous unions with ongoing amoral and illicit commission of the marital act are committing an actual crime against Canon Law, called solicitation.  Thus Francis’ Amoris Laetitia and the interpretations of it he has approved through direct, personal intervention, institutionalize actual canon law crimes in addition to having the potential – indeed, the near certainty – of leading numerous souls of both priests and laity to hell.  I don’t know what could be more diabolical than that, especially given the office from which these notions stem.

This second sermon does not have a brief summation at the end, but it is entirely worth your time.