The Media’s “Job,” and Some Just Can’t Handle the Truth February 24, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, cultural marxism, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, rank stupidity, silliness, Society.
A couple of brief, close out the week items via reader T. First up, the media let’s us know what their real job is, not just presenting events as they occur in a factual and unbiased manner, but, no, telling us scary, unstable, easily enraged little people what to think:
Secondly, the billboard below apparently enraged some North Carolina feminists:
Seems pretty straightforward to me. I guess theirs no accounting for taste, but I think you have to be pretty messed up to find this notion so offensive as to stage a protest……..next to a billboard:
A billboard on Interstate 40 West near Winston-Salem is angering many who say its message is offensive to women.
The board reads: “Real men provide. Real women appreciate it.” The owner of a Winston-Salem women’s boutique called Kleur has organized a demonstration against the billboard’s message for Sunday at 11 a.m.
On the plus side, from one of the comments:
the women’s movement nor their marches represent me…this sign does!
What do you lovely ladies think?
Powerful Sermon: Martyrdom on the Installment Plan February 22, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, martyrdom, priests, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
Wonderful sermon below from that priest who, for nearly two years, was much missed online as his sermons were no longer posted, but who returned late last year with good, new, relevant catechesis.
Most of us will not “get” to be red martyrs like so many of the greats from the early Church. Father relates the life and death of St. James Intercisus, a figure in the Zoroastrian court of Persia who became Catholic, apostasized under threat of loss of wealth and power, and then was martyred when he returned to the Church of Jesus Christ. Few of us will face such a dramatic test (though, the way the world is going, who knows!). One thing is for certain, those who have the strength of faith to be blood martyrs, almost universally were already experiencing many white martyrdoms in death to self as they grew in sanctity and self-denial on their path of sanctification through cooperation with God’s Grace. For those of us who will never have the final test of a blood martyrdom, these white martyrdoms – smaller or larger acts of self-denial and overcoming of attachments on a daily basis (martyrdom on the installment plan) – are all we shall have to grow in virtue, reject sin and vice, and develop in sanctity. They are thus everything for our salvation.
Put much more briefly, is something, like our faith, is worth dying for, is it not worth living for?
Men should pay particular attention to 20:30 – 23:40 where Father talks of common failures in virtue and attachments to sin, especially those men lost in addiction to porn. Even numerous, regular Mass-going Catholic men have severe problems with impurity, self-abuse, and addiction to porn. That addiction can be all but impossible to overcome if a man walks around with a little porn theater in his pocket (smart phone). Far from fleeing it, he literally carries his near occasion of sin with him.
Father notes that such men, even if they go to Confession, likely do not receive absolution, because so long as he carries this deadly occasion of sin with him everywhere he goes, and sleeps with it next to his bed at night, perhaps, he is constantly involved in a near occasion of sin that, practically speaking, invalidates any act of contrition he attempts to make.
I should add, increasingly, this mass moral scandal afflicts not only men but even some women. Exposure to porn and involvement in the moral sewer of the hookup culture and so much of today’s society has even reduced what was once the mighty bulwark of feminine propriety to the level of what would have been the most lust-addled, out of control man from a few decades ago.
As an aside, I think that is part of the reason why Trump’s “p*$$y” comment set so many women off it precipitated some of the largest demonstrations this nation has ever seen. Trump did not say he does this, nor that he advocates others go about “grabbing” certain regions of the anatomy – he said women would even let him do that, because he is so rich and famous. He was certainly bragging and probably exaggerating, but how many of those women out there demonstrating, if they found themselves alone with one of the richest, most powerful men in the world, would really reject his advances? How many have already given themselves away at firesale prices (heck, often for free, nothing more than the cost of a brief phone call or a couple of texts) to just regular ol’ dudes, if not outright losers? I think the reaction against that offhand, supposedly off-the-record comment reveals far more what women think of themselves, than it says of what they think of Trump. You could see this in the unhinged behavior at many of the protests and especially the proliferation of women, publicly, reducing themselves to nothing more than a small part of their anatomy. But I digress.
Having said that, there is a line between a man struggling to come to terms with whether he has a porn addiction, or occasionally/rarely falling into the sin of porn viewing on his smart phone, and one who is so lost that he can no longer make a valid act of contrition so long as he keeps his smart phone. There is a potential to err on the side of harshness, here, but I’m glad Father said what he did because very few men are aware of the fact that they could fall into a state this dire.
Also note, it is not simply sins against the 6th and 9th Commandments that create conditions where contrition is invalidated. ANY severe attachment to a repetitive sin – drunkenness, contraceptive use, actual adultery, etc., – can involve such constant contact with sin/a near occasion of sin that it places great questions on having true contrition. I wouldn’t freak out about this, but it’s something to be cognizant of and watch against. Are our phones worth losing salvation? For many men, they may well be.
But it’s certainly not just the lay people with problems. Priests, bishops, and most others with formal apostolates in the Church do not act as if they believe any substantial part of the Doctrine of the Faith. They don’t act as if Christ is really present in the Eucharist, nor that damnation can happen to lots of people, that hell exists, that God is really concerned about all of our individual acts, etc. They believe a politically correct, politically motivated, societally-acceptable version of the faith. And they lead souls to hell by their millions through their failures.
There’s so much here that I could write several thousand words but hopefully you’ve gotten a flavor for what’s in the sermon. Let me know what you think.
People always ask me what this priest’s name is. I won’t tell you, but folks, if you’re really interested and you listen to more than a few of his sermons with any degree of attention, he pretty much ID’s himself. Don’t write it here, but you’re smart, I’m sure you can figure it out.
A Brief Update on My Son February 21, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Domestic Church, family, thanksgiving.
Sorry I’ve been away from the blog the past few days, it’s mostly been work that’s prevented me from getting. We did have some follow up on my son’s health situation. The tumor board, which is a panel of 20 or so experts convened whenever a new tumor is diagnosed at Children’s Hospital in Dallas, met and reached the same conclusion the pediatric neurosurgery physicians had reached – they believe it is a “low grade” tumor that is probably not fast growing and may have been around for some time. He will receive further testing to establish a baseline and have a very intensive MRI done in a month to see if the tumor has changed at all. If not, he’ll have another MRI every three months to continue to monitor its status.
So, provided he doesn’t have any problems develop that indicate the tumor is affecting him in negative ways, he’ll just continue on anti-seizure meds and be closely watched. The doctor did indicate that ultimately, he’ll probably require surgery to remove the tumor. It’s not a certainty but it’s the greatest probability. The hope is to put that off as far as possible. Because of the location of the tumor, it’s very likely he would suffer vision loss of one degree or another if or when surgery becomes necessary. So while his incredible recovery has been amazing and a blessing beyond description, this is not something he’s “gotten over.” He has a very serious condition and it will require close observation for years to come.
Thank you again for all of your prayers. Please keep my good boy in your prayers for the foreseeable future. It is my fervent hope that through the many prayers being offered up Benedict may never have to have surgery and the tumor may simply be cured through God’s benevolence. I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of spiritual support for my son – literally hundreds of people are praying for him. I shall have Masses offered for your intentions and in thanksgiving for your generosity.
Unless something unexpected occurs, this will probably be the last update for some time. That is my hope, at least.
Start 90 Day Special Devotion for Fatima Apparition TODAY (02/13/17) February 13, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Latin Mass, mortification, Novenas, Restoration, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
This special Novena was put together by Fr. Richard Heilman of the Diocese of Madison, WI. This is a 90 day Novena running from the start of Septuagesima to May 13, the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. Fr. Heilman has set up a special website for this effort (Nineveh 90), but, unfortunately, it seems to be down right now, at least for me. However, much of the same content has gone up on his blog. I’ll let Father explain the purpose of this special 90 day effort of prayer and mortification, which runs through Septuagesima and Lent and on into Easter:
Nineveh 90 – the 90 days from February 13 to May 13 – is inspired by the excellent program – Exodus 90 – designed exclusively for men by Fr. Brian Doerr and others. I strongly encourage men to sign-up for Exodus 90 (sign-up HERE), and use it for our 90-day journey.
For our Nineveh 90 journey, which includes both men and women, we are embracing the great values of mortification, a support system, and the research in the behavioral sciences that says 90 days is about the time needed to change bad habits. We will also be using some of the tried and true supernatural elements. Namely, the Brown Scapular, 54 Day Rosary Novena, and the 33 Day Preparation for Marian Consecration.
THE NINEVEH 90 CHALLENGE BEGINS FEBRUARY 13
“Consecration Day” will be on May 13, the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima.
Nineveh 90 – Ten Elements
- For these 90 days, resolve to let go of repetitive sin you struggle with (e.g., masturbation, over-eating, alcohol, etc.)
- Wear Brown Scapular (Scapular Medal allowed) – Akin to Sackcloth
- Daily Mass (This is more of an encouragement, as many cannot do this)
- Confession (at least once a month … immediately following grave sin)
- Support System: Create or join a “Nineveh 90 Squad” of 3-8 people. Meet 1-3 times per week (in person or online). Join together with an “Accountability Buddy.” Meet daily or, at least, 3 times a week. [That’s……..really frequent. I don’t have a problem with having some accountability but I think this might be a bit aggressive for busy families]
- Daily Prayer
- Morning Offering
- Angelus (6,Noon,6)
- Holy Hour (or at least 20 minutes)
- Bedtime Prayers
- For 90 Days, Commit to …
- Regular and intense exercise (this may be one of the greater challenges for many)
- Seven hours of sleep is essential
- No alcohol
- No desserts & sweets
- No eating between meals
- No soda or sweetened drinks
- No television or movies (news allowed)
- Only music that lifts the soul to God
- No televised sports (one per week allowed)
- Limit recreational computer time (only use for personal needs and fulfillment. May be needed for Nineveh 90 too)
- 54 Day Rosary Novena (Basic Training in Holiness) – February 13 to April 7
- 33 Day Preparation for Consecration – April 10 (Monday of Holy Week) to May 12
- Marian Consecration – May 13, 2017. 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima
Prayer Intention for 54 Day Rosary Novena: Personal Holiness and for the Roman Catholic Church.
Sundays and Solemnities: may be a day of relaxed discipline, but not abandoned. (Sleep in an extra hour, cream in your coffee, a dessert, a beer, etc.)
Fasting: Wednesdays and Fridays (Water/Juice and bread only, if medically allowed, otherwise as is outlined by the USCCB)
Father Heilman claims 10,000!! have signed up to take part in this. That’s some serious penance and prayer going on. I didn’t officially sign up but plan on joining my wife in doing most all of the above. Internet will be hard, along with the 2 days of old school fasting. I will try one and see how it goes. I’m soft, I know. Actually in the past I’ve let myself do more “positive” penances – go and do a bunch of extra things, do good works, etc! – rather than “negative” ones in taking things away, though I’ve done my share of that, too, especially relative to the comfy chair Church of today.
Intentions behind this effort, apart from desperately needed personal sanctification, are the restoration of the Faith and the overcoming of the many threats which seem to be coming together in this most significant of years, 2017. Join in these prayers and penances (many of which I know most of you already perform regularly, or would as part of Septuagesima and Lent) to offer up graces for the conversion of Church leadership and the reinstitution of sanity and piety at all levels of the Church.
I do know some may have concerns about continuing hard penances beyond Lent and into Easter. I, too, have some trepidation over that, especially during the Octave itself, when every day is a literal continuation of the greatest, most glorious solemnity in the Church. I think those who are troubled at the prospect of rigorous penance and self-denial during this holiest, most joyful season of the year could substitute more positive acts or switch over to more prayer and less penance. This is perhaps something to review with your particular confessor/spiritual director as the time nears. For now, all the activities listed above are eminently suited for Septuagesima and Lent and I highly encourage your partaking in them.
I may try to run the penance during Easter bit past Fr. Rodriguez to see what he counsels. I’ll report back anything I learn.
My Son Is Home and Doing Well February 13, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Domestic Church, family, Glory, Grace, thanksgiving.
Miraculously well, in fact. He appears perfectly normal now. Such a miracle. We have a very long road to travel but at this point it is smooth and happy. May God be pleased to allow it to remain so.
Not much to update from my last one, Benedict has a tumor, it will be characterized and understood and checked for changes, but if nothing negative occurs no dramatic intervention will be undertaken. For now just a whole bunch of tests and doctor’s visits and regular monitoring. He experienced no problems at all with his anti-seizure meds, so Deo Gratias for that. There have been no seizures since Monday.
We did have a scare shortly after coming home. He ate some nuts, to which he has developed a really severe allergy, apparently, and he had severe stomach cramps and vomited. Of course, we couldn’t know for certain at the time whether this sickness was due to the tumor, medication, or what he had eaten. Turns out to have been the latter.
Since then, he’s been golden. He had a great weekend playing with friends and siblings. Doctors say he can be fully normal, no kid gloves required. His feet, over which so many doctors and nurses remarked because they were so calloused, scarred, and dirty (something they don’t see so much anymore), went right back to being black. IOW, normal for a 7 year old boy.
In short, he’s doing great, it’s a miracle, and your prayers and support have been more appreciated than I can possibly convey. Please keep praying for my little buddy, as I know you will, this is not a situation that is likely to resolve itself quickly. Right now we’re just trying to really enjoy every moment. We’ve had some very good times the past few days.
Happy Story – Mom with Cancer, Told She Could Not Conceive, Has Natural Quadruplets February 2, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, sanctity, Tradition, Victory, Virtue.
A little happy news for a change, what with riots in Berkeley with dozens attacked and the left-wing Berkeley admin and cops just standing by watching it happen because, meh, they’re only Nazis and evil capitalist businesses getting hurt, so who cares, right?
Pining for the days when Reagan was governor and he called out the National Guard for situations like these. But to the good news, a mom with cancer, told she probably couldn’t conceive, gave birth to 4 naturally conceived quadruplets. Mom is under treatment for cancer and the kids are still in the NICU:
A Tennessee military family received a huge outpouring of support recently after the mother was diagnosed with cancer while carrying quadruplets.
Sgt. Charles Gaytan and his wife, Kayla, welcomed the naturally conceived quadruplets into the world on Dec. 30, but their birth was bittersweet. Doctors delivered the babies early by cesarean section because their mother needed immediate cancer treatment.
The Daily Mail reports the Fort Campbell, Tennessee family is doing relatively well. Kayla currently is undergoing cancer treatments, and the four babies are in the neo-natal intensive care unit. Doctors said the four siblings should be well enough to go home in a few weeks.
Their story attracted national media attention, and a donation fund for the family has received more than $1 million to support them, according to the report.
“It renews my faith in humanity,” Kayla told People. “To know that people that don’t even know us just wanted to help our family is amazing.”
Before the quadruplets were conceived, Kayla was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, according to the report. The young mother said she went through five months of chemotherapy and was in remission.
Not long after that, the couple was overjoyed to learn that they were pregnant – something doctors told Kayla might never happen. Not only that, but they had conceived quadruplets naturally. Later into her pregnancy, Kayla said she began noticing symptoms of cancer again. Doctors confirmed it, her Hodgkin’s lymphoma had returned.
Though relatively treatable, the cancer can be serious if it returns, according to the report. Doctors gave the Tennessee mother a 50-percent chance of living five years, she said.
“With four babies on the way, I just couldn’t wrap my head around how it could come back,” she said. “I thought I had beat it the first time.”
When she was 30 weeks pregnant, Kayla gave birth to her babies in an emergency C-section. The babies, Lillian, Victoria, Michael and Charles were born weighing between 2 pounds, 8 ounces and 3 pounds, 2 ounces, according to the report.
Doctors immediately began Kayla’s cancer treatment. She said she will have a stem cell treatment and a 16-month round of chemotherapy.
The Gaytan family said they are not giving up hope. With the quadruplets and two older children to care for, Kayla said she and her husband are trusting in God to handle the situation.
“We know that He’s gotta have a different plan up there for us, and surely everything’s gonna work out in the end,” Kayla said.
I have a brother-in-law that went through a similar situation. His first wife, a convert to the Faith who developed enormous virtue, was diagnosed with cancer after conceiving her 6th child. The doctors wanted her to abort and start cancer treatment immediately. They gave her a very grim prognosis if she did not. But she carried her daughter to full term even as her health badly deteriorated. That daughter was born healthy and is still fine today, but Missy died as a result of the delayed treatment. I never met Missy, though her widowed husband has spoken of her many times. He believes his deceased wife to be a saint. Around the same time Missy died, one of my wife’s sister’s husband suddenly died. She was left with 7 children, all of them young.
At any rate they two got together and had 5 more kids and are now the parents of 18 children. Things haven’t always been easy, but they remain faithful and keep trying. They’ve had some particular difficulties and I’m certain they would appreciate your prayers. If you would, in your charity, please pray for J and F and their family.
Now maybe I’ll do a post about last night’s calamity in Berkeley.
Start Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes Tomorrow Feb 2! February 1, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Novenas, Our Lady, Restoration, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
Start Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes tomorrow, Feb 2. She Is The Immaculate Conception!
O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comfort to the Afflicted,
you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary, whence you dispense your favors; and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal.
I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. (mention your intentions here)
Through gratitude for favors, I will endeavor to imitate your virtues that I may one day share your glory.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us. Amen.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.)
Another nice accompanying prayer:
Two prayers to prepare the universal celebration of Our Lady of Lourdes, on February 11
In the often obscure depths of our lives,
in the depth of the world where evil is so powerful,
return our confidence!
Guide us to the source of true life.
Make us pilgrims going forward with your Church,
whet our appetite for the Eucharist,
the bread for the journey, the bread of life.
The Spirit brought about wonders in you, O Mary :
by his power, he has placed you near the Father,
in the glory of your eternal Son.
Look with kindness
on our miserable bodies and hearts.
Shine forth for us, like a gentle light,
at the hour of our death.
Together with Bernadette, we pray to you, O Mary,
as your poor children.
May we enter, like her, into the spirit of the Beatitudes.
Then, we will be able, here below,
begin to know the joy of the Kingdom of Heaven
and sing together with you :
Glory to you, Virgin Mary,
blessed servant of the Lord,
Mother of God,
dwelling place of the Holy Spirit!
Late Notice: Novena to Our Lady of Good Success January 27, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Novenas, Our Lady, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
This Novena should have started on the 25th but I only got a reminder late last night. I do appreciate MJD for sending that out. I know it’s late, but better late than never, I guess. Anyway, Our Lady of Good Success is a powerful intercessor who made amazing prophetic revelations to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres hundreds of years ago, accurately predicting the coming collapse of the human element of the Church in the 20th century. If you haven’t started this Novena, why not start now? Sure, you’ll finish a couple of days after the Feast (Candlemas), but that’s OK. Mom won’t mind if you call her a bit late, so long as you call her. Moms are awesome like that:
Say once a day for nine days, especially starting on 25 January and ending on 2 February
Pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be
Saint Michael, pray for us.
Hail Mary Most Holy, Admirable Mother of God the Son Through the intercession of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, grant thy good success to this request.(mention your intentions here)
Pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be
Saint Gabriel, pray for us.
Pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be
Saint Raphael, pray for us.
Hail Mary Most Holy, Temple and Sacrarium of the Most Holy Trinity. St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, pray for us.
Our Lady of Good Success, thou who art the all-powerful intercessor before the Most Holy Trinity, consent to hear and answer my request – so long as it contributes to the salvation of my soul and the glory and exaltation of Holy Mother Church.
Hail holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us. And after this our exile show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.
And here is a separate prayer, in the form of a Litany, to Our Lady of Good Success. You can add this to the Novena or just pray it year round:
Soul of Mary, sanctify me,
Body of Mary, purify me,
Heart of Mary, inflame me,
Sorrow of Mary, comfort me,
Tears of Mary, console me,
O Sweet Mary, hear me.
With thy benign eyes, look on me,
Through thy holy steps, guide me,
To thy Divine Son, pray for me,
Pardon for my sins, achieve for me,
Devotion to your holy Rosary, infuse in me,
Love for God and my fellow man, grant me,
Permit me not to ever be separated from thee.
In the hour of my death, comfort me,
From my enemies, defend me,
With the shield of thy holy name, protect me,
With thy mantle, cover me,
In the fatal instant of my agony, assist me,
From dying in sin, free me,
Into the arms of Jesus, deliver me,
To the eternal mansion, bring me,
So that, with the angels and saints
I can praise thee forever and ever, Amen
Just another reminder, you will also start the Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes on Feb 2. The Novena finishes on the vigil of the Feast on Feb. 10.
Ten Hindrances to Devotion by St. Peter of Alcantara January 24, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, mortification, priests, reading, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
Part two, as promised in yesterday’s post, which provided aids to developing a rich interior life. Today’s post covers those things that tend to inhibit the development of a strong practice of devotion to Our Lord and Lady. From Treatise on Prayer and Meditation pp. 128-131:
Just as there are certain things which help with devotion, so there are others which impede it. Among the latter:
1] Sin is the first, and not merely mortal sin, but venial sins also; for these, although they do not deprive us of charity, diminish the fervor of charity, which is practically the same thing as devotion. Consequently, we should be very much on our guard against them, not so much for the evil they work in us as for th egreat good of which they despoil us.
2] A second hindrance is the remorse of conscience, when it is excessive, which proceeds from these sins, for it disturbs and casts down the soul, frightens it and makes it unfit for every good work. [Excessive lamentations or remorse can also be a sign of pride, as in thinking one too good to have done X or Y. Just something to keep in mind. We certainly should have remorse for our sins, but that remorse should lead to humility and an understanding of our total need for God’s Grace, and not deep depression or other disturbances of our interior life]
3] Scruples, for the same reason, constitute another hindrance. They are like thorns, allowing the soul no rest, so that it can neither repose in God nor enjoy true peace. [Being afflicted with scruples can be a truly hellish experience, and one almost always self-inflicted. I have a daughter that is struggling with certain scruples, please pray for her.]
4] Every kind of bitterness and sourness of heart and unreasoning depression are also hindrances, for then one can hardly relish the taste and sweetness of a good conscience and of spiritual joy.
5] Overmuch worry is a further hindrance. Cares are like the flies of Egypt, which distress the soul and prevent it from enjoying that spiritual rest which is experienced in prayer. It is precisely then, more than at other times, that they disturb the soul and turn it away from this exercise. [A trend should be discernible – anything that tends to rob the soul of peace for long periods are detrimental to the interior life. Something to consider when we get exercised over the state of things in the Church and world today. A certain level of knowledge is of course beneficial and even necessary, but if reading news begins to seriously affect our peace of soul or derail our practice of the Faith – or even, God forbid, tempts us to fall away – then we need to retract from whatever is causing us to lose peace and focus on other, happier things, at least for a while]
6] Too many occupations are also a hindrance, for they take up much time, stifle the soul, and leave a man without leisure or heart for divine things. [Recreation is necessary. So are distractions, at times.]
7] Pleasure and worldly consolations, if indulged in to excess, hinder a man from prayer. “He who devotes himself overmuch to the delights of the world,” says St. Bernard, “does not deserve those of the Holy Ghost.”
8] Delicacy and abundance in food and drink form another hindrance, and especially long-drawn-out meals. These are a very bad foundation for spiritual exercises and devout watching. When the body is weighed down and charged in excess with food, the soul is very unfitted to soar aloft.
9] The vice of curiosity in the senses and in the intellect is a hindrance too. Seeking to hear and see all sorts of things, wishing to have about oneself things that are pretty or quaint…..all this takes up time, embarrasses the senses, disturbs the soul and diverts it in every direction, and thus impedes devotion. [We must be very careful in what we allow ourselves, and our families, to be exposed to. Everyone has their own needs, their own limits, and their own weaknesses. The best way to proceed is experientially, paying attention to how we feel and how we behave, internally and externally, to see if new or changed levels of stimuli produce a positive or negative effect in our spiritual lives. Anything that tends towards the negative must be eliminated or sharply curtailed.]
10] Finally, any interruption of the holy exercises, unless for a good and pious reason, is a hindrance, for as a learned writer said, the spirit of devotion is something very delicate, and once it goes, it either does not return at all, or at least only after much difficulty. [While St. Peter was originally writing primarily for religious, thus the seriousness of an interruption of the exercises religious are required under duty and obedience to perform, we can still take from this an understanding that we should try to develop a regular prayer regimen for ourselves, to the extent possible, and not deviate from it. We should not allow our concentration to be interrupted during prayer time by needless distractions. Prayers said mechanically are unworthy of significant grace. Strive to grow in focus during periods of prayer and meditation]
Thank you for the kind comments to the previous post on St. Peter of Alcantara. His book is excellent. He’s been hard to excerpt, but these two short chapters were perfect for a blog. I’ll certainly share anything else I can that is not too onerous for online reading.
St. Peter of Alcantara’s Nine Aids to Improve Devotional Life January 23, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, religious, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
From St. Peter of Alcantara’s Treatise on Prayer and Meditation, pp. 125-8. Much of the spiritual direction given in his book was obviously intended for this with a vocation to the religious life, and while there are one or two recommendations below that may be difficult for those living in the world, with families to care for and jobs to perform, to implement, nonetheless it is very solid guidance overall, and well worth sharing:
Many things contribute to devotion:
1] Firstly, it is very important to enter seriously and steadfastly upon these holy exercises, and with a very resolute heart, ready for whatever may be necessary, to secure this “Pearl of Great Price.” Certain it is that there is nothing great which is not at the same time difficult. So it is in the devotional life, at least for beginners.
2] Keep guard also over the heart, banishing every kind of vain and idle thought, all alien emotions and love, all passionate and tempestuous movements. Clearly enough, these all impede devotion. Like the violin, if we would play on it, so also the heart, if we would pray and meditate, must be kept well tuned.
3] Keep watch also over the senses, especially the eyes, the ears and the tongue, for through the lips is the heart scattered, and by eyes and ears it is filled with varied imaginings and with much that disturbs the peace and repose of the soul. Hence has it been truly said that the contemplative soul should be as one deaf, blind, and dumb, for the less he dissipates his energies abroad, the more will he be recollected within himself. [A particular danger in this age is the electronic media, formerly TV/radio but now the internet in particular. It is not just straight-up porn/immoral material that is bad for souls. Letting our appetites be engorged in any area – even in entertainment/consumption of news/watching “harmless” programs can lead to loss of control of the appetite in other, more vital areas. The first step to a spiritual calamity, many priests have told me, is too great an addiction to even “good” things one finds on the internet. It is necessary to even limit these good things for the sake of performing some penance and maintaining control over our appetites in all areas]
4] For the same reason, incline toward a solitary life, for not merely does it remove from the senses occasions of distraction and from the heart occasions of sin, but it also invites a man to enter more into himself and to occupy himself alone with God, for to this one is indeed much drawn by circumstances of place, when no alien company finds admittance there.
5] Then, make a practice of reading spiritual and devout books. They serve to feed the imagination and to keep the heart recollected, and they lead men of good will to occupy their minds with what has appealed to them, for what the heart is full of is always the first to suggest itself to the mind. [A strong corollary to #3 above]
6] Keep the thought of God continually before you, and walk always in His presence. Make us e of those short prayers which St. Augustine calls “ejaculations”; they guard the mansion of the heart and maintain, as we have said above, the warmth of devotion. Thus is a man ready at any moment to give himself to prayer. This is one of the most essential principles of a spiritual life and among the best resources for such people as have neither time nor opportunity for fixed prayer; and anyone who bears this counsel in mind and puts it into practice will make great progress in quite a short time.
7] Add to this, continuity and perseverance in these holy exercises, at the time and place fixed, especially night and morning, which, as all Holy Scripture teaches us, are the most suitable for prayer.
8] Practice some austerity and bodily abstinence, a poor table, a hard bed, a hairshirt and a discipline and such like. These things result from devotion and also contribute to it, preserving and strengthening the root from which they spring. [I guess priests today recommend you don’t do physically punishing penances like wearing a cilice or taking the discipline without getting their close approval first, but back in St. Peter’s time, that permission seems to have been more freely given.]
9] Lastly, practice works of mercy. In our own sufferings, they give us confidence before God; they contribute much to the value of our prayers, which can no longer be called mere arid petitions, and they secure for them a reception full of mercy, seeing that they themselves proceed from a merciful heart.
That’s all from St. Peter of Alcantara today. Tomorrow, God willing, I’ll share his ten hindrances to devotion, or ten things Catholics should avoid in order to grow in the interior life.