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Fr. Albert on Admonishing the Sinner August 7, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Latin Mass, priests, religious, Restoration, sanctity, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Some interesting thoughts below.  Fr. Albert, a traditional Dominican in Belgium working with The Fatima Center declares admonishing the sinner is a moral duty and failing to do so can be sinful on our part, but then states that the situations wherein we have a positive duty to act are quite rare.  I haven’t a great deal of time to flesh this out today, but this is one of those matters that is very dear to many Catholic hearts and one that does cause quite a bit of division.  See what you make of it:

Do you feel Father Albert “wimps out” towards the end in stating that these admonishments may cause more harm than good and thus the situations where they are required are quite rare?  Or is this necessary prudence.

This matter comes up with some regularity at the local Fraternity parish, where we have had instances of people evidencing great hurt at being corrected by other lay people, and the priests have basically cautioned against such admonishments, asking matters like fraternal correction over immodest dress or how to raise and educate children be left to the priests (with some room for action if the matter is dire or pressing).  Some people very much agree with this stance, while others feel that doing so could lead to rapidly falling standards since priests won’t often have time to make such one-on-one corrections.

I covered this topic in a post a few months ago, so I don’t want to retread that ground all over again, but one thought that has occurred to me in the intervening months is that one’s approach to this matter depends very much on how one views their local traditional community as a whole, and how newcomers and those who err publicly fit into it.  Some hold the view that pretty much everyone who is bothering to come to a traditional Catholic parish is already extremely dedicated, generally trying hard to do their best, and should be given a lot of latitude to “come up to standard” with things like dress or homeschooling or using NFP or whatever hot-button topic.  These same people view the community as quite resilient and able to stand some problematic public displays in the interest of being accommodating and helping the community grow.

Then there are souls who are very concerned about standards, who well know the threats to the traditional practice of the Faith both inside and outside the Church, and who feel that those souls who are failing in certain, quite public, ways pose a threat to the integrity of the community.  They may even have direct experience of communities softening standards and inevitably sliding into mediocrity or worse, total collapse to the culture.  Many of these folks have been traumatized, in a sense, by experiences in Novus Ordo world or the culture generally, and place a high premium on protecting the integrity of the community/parish.  These people are also naturally zealous for the Faith and see its defense as a primary duty, recognizing rightly that a reverent, faithful Catholic parish is an incredibly precious thing, maybe even a vulnerable thing, and very much worthy of protection.

The thing is, neither of these outlooks is wrong.  Thus the tension that exists in many traditional parishes over how to handle matters like fraternal correction.  My natural disposition is much more towards the latter, and I will admit to being a bit suspect of the motives of those who have been in traditional communities a long time and  yet seem to take a certain joy in being non-conformist in various regards, without going into specifics.  I am also one who tries to take correction in the best light, instead of getting instantly offended and hurt and storming out of the place – not that I have not at times disagreed with someone’s well-meaning recommendations.

But, I also don’t want to see rigid communal standards emerge that exclude all but the most zealous, the most rigorous.  Those types of situations have a long history and almost universally end in extremes of opinion and action and communities dividing into hostile camps that eventually disintegrate.  There have been several attempts at utopian Catholic enclaves in the past 200 years and they have all ended badly.

I think prudence is the key.  If you see a lady in a short skirt and stilletos, but wearing a veil, and you’ve never seen her before, maybe cut her a break.  Don’t say anything.  But pray for that person.  If they keep coming and you get to know them a bit, perhaps that relationship will be a grounds to make a very charitable comment some weeks or months down the road if the person does not self-correct.  You and I may think homeschooling is practically the only way to raise a child in this moral sewer but you don’t have to unload that opinion on every soul you encounter.  Prying questions into one’s background and purity tests are not a good way to make an acquaintance.  The examples could go on endlessly, but I assume you get the point.

I would close by saying, if you fall more to one side or the other – the welcoming souls willing to look the other way at times, or the militant defenders of the sanctity of the community – also try to have some charity for those who feel differently from yourself.  If someone thinks it’s better to be more accommodating and less rigorous, that doesn’t make them a bad Catholic.  And those with strong personalities who feel standards should be enforced at all times and who do not shy away from correcting others, they are not necessarily the stereotypical bad rad-trad.

Yes this is another “can’t we all get along” post.  But maybe that’s not such a bad thing, for a group that is already surrounded on all sides and hopelessly outnumbered.  I’ve been reading about some of the failed Crusades to stop the spread of islam of late, and it is heart-breaking the degree to which Catholic division and in-fighting aided the spread of the demonic religion of Mohammad.  Different groups of Catholics refused to aid one another in the Fall of Acre in 1289.

Related.  End trad-Cath circular firing squads!

Briefest Reminder Posts – Assumption and Kolbe Novenas August 7, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Novenas, Our Lady, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
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The Assumption Novena properly started yesterday, but you can start today and finish on the feast.  The Novena for Maximilian Kolbe started Saturday but better late than never.

Brief Assumption Novena below:

Mary, Queen Assumed into Heaven, I rejoice that after years of heroic martyrdom on earth, Thou hast at last been taken to the throne
prepared for Thee in heaven by the Holy Trinity.

Lift my heart with Thee in the glory of Thy Assumption above the dreadful touch of sin and impurity. Teach me how small earth becomes when viewed from heaven. Make me realize that death is the triumphant gate
through which I shall pass to Thy Son, and that someday my body shall rejoin my soul in the unending bliss of heaven.

From this earth, over which I tread as a pilgrim, I look to Thee for help. I ask for this favor:

(State your intention here…)

When my hour of death has come, lead me safely to the presence of Jesus to enjoy the vision of my God for all eternity together with Thee.

Novena to St. Maximilian Kolbe:

O St. Maximilian Kolbe,

faithful follower of St. Francis,

inflamed by the love of God

you dedicated your life to the practice of virtue

and to works of the apostolate.

Look down with favor upon us

who devoutly confide in your intercession, especially for:

(here mention your special requests)

 

Having consecrated yourself to the Immaculate Virgin Mary,

you inspired countless souls to a holy life

and various forms of the apostolate

in order to do good to others

and to spread the kingdom of God.

Obtain for us the grace by our lives and labors

to draw many souls to Christ.

 

In your close conformity to our Divine Savior

you reached such an intense degree of love

that you offered your life to save a fellow prisoner.

Implore God that we,

inflamed by such ardent charity,

may through our living faith and our apostolic works

witness Christ to others,

and thus merit to join you in the blessed vision of God.

Amen.

Praying as a family has such enormous spiritual efficacy!  Perhaps you could have as an intention for your Novena the conversion of this nation and our fallen world – or maybe better yet the conversion of the leadership of the Church and the restoration of the Church’s human element.

Whatever your intention, Novenas as a beautiful aspect of Catholic Tradition!

Catholic Tradition in Prayer: Saint Patrick’s Breastplate August 3, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, Interior Life, Saints, sanctity, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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According to tradition, St. Patrick wrote this hymn in AD 433 for divine protection before successfully converting the Irish king Leoghaire and his subjects from paganism to Christianity.  The breastplate of course references Ephesians vi:12-18, wherein St. Paul describes the various armaments we must take on (those of prayer and virtue) in order to do battle with the principalities and powers of this world.  So the name is quite apropos for the combat the great Saint of Ireland engaged in in converting a violent pagan country to the sweet yoke of Jesus Christ.

Some dispute whether the prayer really is that ancient, but at any rate it is beautiful, and since I had never come across it before reading The Gentle Traditionalist, I figured you may not be familiar with it, either.  Or maybe it’s widely known, I really don’t know.  At any rate, here it is:

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

———-End Quote————

It’s rather pretty and, I would say, quite lyrically Irish, is it not? I like it quite a bit. I hope to add this regularly to my prayer rotation.  God willing.

Perhaps this prayer might be invoked with the great evangelist Saint Patrick that the Church might be gifted with men of similar faith, devotion, and willingness to speak the truth in our own age.  The Church desperately needs some new Saints to reinvigorate the remaining faithful and begin converting the fallen away masses.

PS there are shorter versions of this prayer.  They basically are limited to the last half of the above.

Father Rodriguez on Mary’s Immaculate Heart July 27, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Father Rodriguez, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Latin Mass, mortification, Our Lady, priests, sanctity, thanksgiving, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Good Father Rodriguez with a brief rumination on Fatima and devotion to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.  From that Immaculate Heart we can especially learn virtues vital to salvation, especially purity, which in this day is so rarely maintained and so easily (and almost always irrevocably) lost.

Father shares how to practice devotion to the Immaculate heart, according to St. John Eudes: “keep in our heart the feelings which are in the heart of Mary the Mother of Jesus.”  The principle feelings in her heart are four: horror and abomination for sin, hatred and scorn for this corrupt world and everything pertaining to it, the lowest possible esteem for self, and profound esteem, respect, and love for all the things of God and His Church.  What excellent advice and direction for all seeking to grow in the interior life and the practice of virtue – and, I might add, how contrary to the “direction” we hear from Rome and most of the powerful episcopal leaders of the Church, including the exalted Cardinal Farrell, who I can assure you hasn’t spent 3 seconds in his life reading Eudes or any similar Saint of the interior life.

I won’t say anymore so I don’t steal all of Father’s thunder:

It would seem very natural and poetic to me should Fr. Rodriguez in some ways fulfill the legacy of Fr. Nicolas Gruner (RIP).  At any rate I pray his collaboration with the Fatima Center grows and grows.

End Catholic circular firing squads!

Start Sacred Heart Novena today! June 14, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Novenas, Our Lady, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
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Two versions of the Novena, as I finally post again.  Sorry folks, work is a factor but I’ll also admit I just don’t have the same drive to post that I used to.  I am spending my time doing other things like making prix dieu for people to pray on and building mobile confessionals.  I don’t know if this latter work is more important, but it seems more suited to my desires right now.

But I have no plans to quit blogging altogether, I’ll keep posting from time to time.  For instance I definitely plan to post on the 3 San Antonio Spanish Missions I have not covered, yet.

Two versions of the Sacred Heart Novena for you to choose from, if you haven’t already got a favorite:

I have two versions, one from Fisheaters and another that is from St. Margaret Mary Alocoque.  First:

O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore Thee, I love Thee and with a lively sorrow for my sins, I offer Thee this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to Thy will. Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in Thee and for Thee. Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions; Sacred-Heart-Il-Gesugive me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, Thy blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Within Thy Heart I place my every care. In every need let me come to Thee with humble trust saying, Heart of Jesus help me.

Now, what many already pray daily, if you are like me:

I.O my Jesus, you have said: “Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of……(here name your request)
Our Father….Hail Mary….Glory Be to the Father….Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

II.O my Jesus, you have said: “Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.” Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of…….(here name your request)Our Father…Hail Mary….Glory Be To the Father….Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.sacred heart bird hand painted colorful.jpg

III. O my Jesus, you have said: “Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away.” Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of…..(here name your request)Our Father….Hail Mary….Glory Be to the Father…Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

OSacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.
Say the Hail, Holy Queen and add: St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.
— St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Great Post: Remaining Faithful in the Age of Francis June 1, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, episcopate, error, fightback, Francis, General Catholic, Holy suffering, Interior Life, persecution, Revolution, scandals, secularism, Society, Spiritual Warfare, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Thanks to reader T for sending me this link.  I have so little time to read many blogs like I used to.  But below I excerpt (too much) what I believe to be a very helpful and insightful post from Mundabor on how to remain faithful in an age of extreme rebellion and sabotage against the Faith, even by those given great influential offices and responsibilities in the Church.  Mundabor says to share this info, so I copy the most relevant parts, but please click on the link so he knows it is being widely read.

And away we go (my emphasis and comments):

Francis is about to appoint more Cardinals. It is a slow process of erosion, from Cardinals who do not believe in God but feel obliged to fake their faith to Cardinals who do not believe in God and feel obliged to demolish the faith.

At this point it is fair to say that even if Francis were to die tomorrow, the probability of getting a Tagle would be very high. Or a Schoenborn. Or some other CINO. Bar a Divine intervention, the demolition of the Church is going to continue……..[I’m afraid I must concur.  I don’t think it will significantly improve in my lifetime, and will probably become even worse.]

What is, therefore, a poor Catholic to do? I suggest the following:

1. Realise that God is punishing us for the madness and rebellion of Vatican II. He is making us swallow the entire bottle of the poison we wanted to drink. This will teach us a lesson all right. [It may be argued by some that the rebellion is somehow separate from the actual product of Vatican II, the several documents that came out of the Council, but this is a general statement.  There has been a mass rebellion against the perennial belief and practice of the Faith since Vatican II.  It actually was well underway before, but exploded into realization during and after the Council.]

2. Resolve to live and die in your faith no matter the scale of the destruction. [Dang right.  Don’t let them drag you down. Keep the Faith.  Use the tools in previous posts. The revolutionaries can wreak all kinds of destruction.  They can lead souls into error or confirm them there.  They can cause millions to fall away. But you have a special grace, at least some attachment to the constant belief and practice of the Faith (I presume, if you are reading this blog and this post.) Even if they take the TLM away somehow, do not give up the Faith.  Keep going, doing the best you can, whether that means an “illicit” TLM somewhere or muddling through in the Novus Ordo.  No I don’t think God is going to damn any souls who assist at illicit TLMs under severe duress.]

3. Realise that your individual salvation is not decided by Tagle or Schoenborn or Bergoglio. It is decided by God, who expects you to collaborate with His grace towards it.

4. Understand that God’s ways are such that no one, whom God has decreed worthy of Salvation, will be lost because of Francis. [or his predecessors or successors] God does not allow Francis to decide for Him concerning the eternal fate of anyone. Therefore, an age of unbelief and clown Popes is simply an age in which many are Reprobates. But they always were. They were Reprobates from all eternity. God has decreed already that they will refuse, out of their own volition, to collaborate with His grace. Not one of them will be lost because of Francis; rather, they were born in the Age of Francis because God has decreed that they will be lost. [I will admit detailed understanding of the Catholic view of predestination is not my strong suit, but I did not think it Catholic belief that He decrees in advance that souls will be damned?  That sounds kind of Calvinist to me? Yes God knows who will be lost and saved, but I did not think it was a positive decree from God, as that would impede free will. At any rate, I would rather say, God has allowed Francis to become pope because of the sinfulness of fallen men (the electors principally, but the entire Church in its weakness of faith), and as a special challenge and source of Grace for the faithful.  Every time has its own challenges, however, as Mundabor notes below, we live in a time of material plenty, but of spiritual and moral depravity.  Others lived in times of moral rectitude and spiritual fruitfulness but great material want.  Which is more difficult is not easy to discern.]

5. Fight your battle with determination and perseverance, but do not expect to see any improvement during your lifetime. We don’t know how long this punishment will go on. We can do no other but endure it in faith and fight our little battle for as long as we breathe.

6. Realise that this determination will cause you to collaborate with Grace and “merit” (as far as your part is concerned) Purgatory one day. [and even ascending to the Beatific Vision if we are particularly faithful, yes?] Paraphrasing the famous statement, blessed are those who carry on for decades believing what their forefathers have believed in the face of generalised treason from the clergy. Inasmuch as we can gain merit for ourselves, there must be more merit for carrying on for an entire lifetime in an age of sabotage.

7. Use the possibilities modern technology and the wealthy, peaceful conditions of the West give you. You are not living under bombardments, or in time of famine, or pestilence. Nurture your Catholicism on the endless sources you find on the Internet, buy good Catholic books, deepen the faith in its many aspects. React to Francis by becoming more Catholic. [I generally agree, but if you find reading numerous blogs and websites about the atrocities ongoing in the Church gets you down, as strange as it might seem for a blogger to say, STOP!  I have seen people twist themselves off into outright apostasy over the travesties they see occurring in the Church in these days. DO NOT LET THAT HAPPEN TO YOU!!]

8. Ask the Blessed Virgin to intercede with the Lord so that your faith may be strengthened no matter what. Resolve to let your faith grow, not falter, at every papal assault. Pray your favourite Saint every day that he may also intercede for you. [Or Saints. I particularly counsel devotion to St. Joseph, who is such an amazingly powerful intercessor]

9. Reflect that even if you have a very long life, it will be but an instant compared to the eternity afterwards. Whatever pain FrancisChurch gives you, resistance to it is an investment with huge rewards.[!!]

10. Think of this every day: nil inultum remanebit, nothing will remain unpunished. All those popes, Bishops and cardinals who betray the faith and die unrepentant will pay the most atrocious price for their rebellion. When their antics enrage you, reflect that God will not leave anything unpunished.

While, I think, praying for their conversion. I actually look upon my prayers for Francis’ conversion or replacement as a work of mercy, so he will stop piling up offenses against God.  No matter how much destruction they wreak, no matter how much they hurt and offend us, we cannot hope for eternal punishment for any soul.  It is unjust and uncharitable to do so. All have sinned.  We may be afflicted with particularly wicked and unworthy men as leaders in the Church right now (and for the past several decades), but I do not wish hell or upon any of them.  Even their time in Purgatory, should they be so fortunate, are terrible to consider.  As is my own.

In total, a few quibbles aside, great advice from Mundabor.  I thank him for this post.  I pray you find it useful, too, and please make your own suggestions, for the benefit of all, how to survive and even thrive in this dark time. Everyone needs encouragement from time to time.

 

Saint Alphonsus’ 16 Principal Means for Attaining Sanctity June 1, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, mortification, religious, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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The world may seem to be falling down around us, but our duty is to practice virtue and work towards the attainment of the greatest sanctity possible regardless.  From The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, Saint Alphonsus’ 16 means to the attainment of sanctity.

This list, as it goes along, becomes quite challenging, but it is held up as an example of how to attain perfection, to whatever degree we are capable in cooperation with Grace:

  1. Strong and ardent desire to become a saint.
  2. Great confidence in Jesus Christ and in His Holy Mother.
  3. To avoid every deliberate sin or defect, and after a fault not to lose courage, but to make an act of contrition for it, and then resume  your ordinary occupations.
  4. To cut off all attachment to creatures, to self-will, and self-esteem.
  5. To resist continually your own inclinations. [4 and 5 are very difficult, and will take many a lifetime even to begin, but we are talking about attainment of practical perfection, to the degree humans aided by Grace are capable of such.  The thing is to do  your best and, most importantly, always be advancing, never retreating]
  6. To observe with exactness the rules governing your state in life.
  7. To perform your ordinary duties with all possible perfection
  8. To communicate often – with the permission of your director/priest; to make long and frequent meditations,  and to perform all the mortifications which he will permit
  9. To prefer, on all occasions, those actions which are most agreeable to God, and most opposed to self-love.
  10. To receive all crosses and contradictions with joy and gladness from the hands of God.
  11. To love and serve those who persecute you. [10 and 11 are also very difficult. They are so contrary to our fallen natures. But again we are talking about working towards perfection]
  12. To spend every moment of your time for God.
  13. To offer to God all your actions in union with the merits of Jesus Christ.
  14. To make a special oblation of yourself to God, that He may dispose of you and of all you possess in whatever way He pleases.
  15. To protest continually before God that His pleasure and love are the only objects of your wishes.
  16. Lastly, and above all, to pray continually, and to recommend yourself, with unbounded confidence, to Jesus Christ and to His Virgin Mother and to entertain a special affection and tenderness towards Mary.

On the need to always be advancing in sanctity, and never retreating, a further excerpt:

“Not to advance,” says St. Augustine, “is to go back.” St. Gregory beautifully explains this maxim of spiritual life by comparing a Christian who seeks to remain stationary in the path of virtue to a man who is in a boat on a rapid river, and striving to keep the boat always in the same position………Since the fall of Adam man is naturally inclined to evil from birth……..Because, in the way of God, a Christian must either go forward and advance in virtue or backward and rush headlong into vice.

In seeking eternal salvation, we must, according to St. Paul, never rest, but must run continually in the way of perfection, that we may win the prize and secure an incorruptible crown.  So that you may obtain (I Cor ix:24). If we fail, the fault will be ours; for God wills that all be holy and perfect.  This is the will of God – your sanctification (I Thess iv:3). He even commands us to be perfect and holy.  Be you therefore perfect, also your Heavenly Father is perfect (Matt v:48). Be holy because I am holy. [Lest we think God demands more of us than is possible……..] He promises and gives, as the holy Council of Trent teaches, abundant strength, for the observance of all His commands, to those who ask it from Him.  “God does not command impossibilities; but by His precepts He admonishes you to do what you can, and to ask what you cannot do; and He assists you, that you may be able to do it.”

———-End Quote———–

Earlier in the week we had the four practices that principally sanctified Saint Aloysius Gonzaga.  St. Alphonsus breaks those down into more detailed steps with a bit different emphasis.  There are many mansions in the Father’s house. There are many paths to sanctity.  But all revolve around constant prayer, devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady, self-denial, practice of virtue, and eschewing all sin.  Not difficult to understand, but extremely difficult to practice.

Especially in this fallen age.  But it has always been such, I suppose.

The Four Sacred Devotions that Drove Saint Aloysius Gonzaga to Great Sanctity May 30, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, Eucharist, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, manhood, mortification, religious, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, thanksgiving, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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From the Life of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Patron of Christian Youth by Maurice Meschler, SJ, the four pious practices the Saint felt were most efficacious in achieving great sanctity and practice of devotion to our Blessed Lord.  None of  these particular devotions will be strange or unfamiliar to readers, but the passion and fervor with which they were practiced were spectacular.  Our Catholic Faith is not difficult to comprehend – many wholly uneducated people have  become hidden saints – but it is very difficult to put into practice.  That is why the Lord has blessed His Church with many canonized Saints, to provide us with direct examples of how to conduct lives pleasing to Him:

The practice of the various Catholic devotions is an important point, and an excellent means of promoting the spiritual life.  Aloysius had four special devotions.  The first of these was the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.  In his father’s house and in the midst of his life in the world, it had been a joy to him to serve Mass; and now in the novitiate he could do this to his heart’s content.  Very often during the day he visited the Blessed Sacrament in the church, or in an adjoining chapel.  In order to prepare well for Holy Communion, he divided the week into two parts, the first of which he devoted to thanksgiving for his last Communion, and the second to preparation for the next. [Back then, even such obvious Saints as Aloysius Gonzaga could only receive weekly, if they were fortunate.  Today we can the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar daily, but do we really adequately prepare ourselves, or render due thanksgiving, for this unspeakable Gift? Do we sometimes, or perhaps often, take it for granted, or allow the concerns of the world and the flesh to crowd our souls and cause us to receive the Sacrament in a blasé fashion? While we may not have the time or the gift of such immense sanctity to make such preparations or thanksgivings as Gonzaga did, perhaps we could do a bit more?]    On the eve of his Communion day he would speak with touching piety of the happiness in store for him the next morning.  Many of his companions, and even those who were already priests, who wished to prepare well for Holy Mass, sought to be with him on such days, in order to be moved to greater fervor by his piety and the ardent love which his words displayed.  On the morning of the day itself, his first thought was of the Savior he was about to receive, and he passed the whole hour appointed for meditation in pious reflections upon the Blessed Sacrament.  He sought out a quiet corner of the church to make his immediate preparation and thanksgiving, and his heart overflowed with the sweetest consolation. Many other worshippers who saw him, but did not know him, concluded merely from the sight of his fervor that he must have a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and even that he must be a Saint.  He spent the whole morning after his Communion in silence and recollection, praying and reading passages from St. Augustine or St. Bernard. [If Saint Aloysius devoted days and hours to preparation and thanksgiving, perhaps we could arrive to Mass a 10 or 15 minutes early (or more) to properly prepare ourselves, and not move to depart the church the instant Mass ends?] Thus the precious seed, planted by Saint Charles Borremeo in the child’s heart at his First Communion, had grown into a beautiful tree that enriched his whole life and character with its blossoms and fruits.  [For it was from this Saint that Aloysius Gonzaga received his First Communion]….And the Church herself has raised an imperishable memorial to this beautiful trait of his piety, in the Collects of the Mass for his feast, in which she commemorates his excellent method of preparation and thanksgiving for Communion, and begs God to grant us the grace to ever appear at this heavenly banquet adorned with the wedding garment of Grace, whose beauty Aloysius enhanced as with pearls of inestimable value by his pious preparation and copious tears.

A second favorite devotion of the Saint was that to the Passion of Our Lord.  The life of suffering and mortification he led naturally urged him to seek in the mysteries of the Passion a model of strength and comfort.  Everyday at noon he recited an antiphon in honor of the Passion, and placed himself in spirit before the Cross of Our Savior……

…….His third devotion was his ardent love of Our Lady. Since his sojourn in Florence she had been the Queen of his heart and the guiding star of his life, and he never tired of thinking of her, honoring her, praising and loving her, especially now that he could appreciate the inestimable benefit he owed to her in his vocation.  In his letters to his mother he frequently recommends her to have a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin, holds up to her in her trials the example of the Mother of God and encourages her to be faithful in the service of the Queen of Heaven……

..Lastly, Aloysius had a special devotion to the holy Angels.  Virginal souls have a certain affinity to the Angels, and always feel attracted to them.  His veneration for these blessed spirits was so well-known to his companions that when Fr. Vincent Bruno was about to publish a book of meditations, he asked Aloysius to write the meditation on the Holy Angels, and the Saint joyfully complied.  Thus originated the little “Treatise upon the Angels, especially the Holy Guardian Angels.” After having cited the principal passages of Scripture in which the Angels are mentioned, he speaks in the first part of Angels in general, showing the necessity of devotion to them, first, from the example of the Church, secondly, from their nature and dignity, third, from their number, and lastly from their ninefold order. It is remarkable and very characteristic of Aloysius, that he unites devotion to the HOly Angels with his favorite virtue of humility in this first part of the meditation: “Consider how fitting it is, that on the feast of the invincible Arcangel the Gospel of the virtue of humility is read; for while proud Lucifer, on the one hand, was precipitated from his lofty throne in Heaven down into the depths of hell, because he presumed to arrogate divine honor to himself, the humble Archangel Michael and the whole host of the good Angels were highly honored and raised to the  highest rank, because they submitted to their Creator and full of zeal for his honor, opposed the proud serpent.”

……A colloquy with God after the meditation teaches us “to beg Him, Who bestowed such abundant graces upon the Angels, to grant unto us also through their intercession the grace to imitate their humility, clarity, and purity.”…..

…….A slip of paper has been preserved, upon which Aloysius had noted down for his own use a few “pious practices in honor of the Holy Angels”: “Imagine yourself standing in the midst of the nine choirs of Angels, as they pray to God and sing that hymn of praise: ‘Sanctus Deus, Sanctus Fortis, Sanctus Immortalis.’ Repeat this prayer nine times in union with them – Recommend yourself three times daily to the special care of your Guardian Angel.  Every morning and evening, and during the day, when you visit the church and pray at the altar, recite the prayer ‘Angele Dei.’ [Angel of God…..] Remember that you must follow the guidance of your Angel, like a blind man who does not know the way, and trusts entirely to the care of the person who leads him.”……….

……..One of the effects of his frequent and fervent prayers was an uninterrupted union with God.  It cost Aloysius more effort to put the thought of God away from his mind than it does others to turn their thoughts away from creatures to God.

———–End Quote———-

I was unfamiliar with Saint Aloysius before reading this biography, but what a great Saint he was.  And is.  A patron for Christian youth, indeed, his purity was unequaled.  He often did not even know what women he had been met numerous times before looked like, so skilled was he in practicing custody of the eyes.  His practice of prayer and penance was so immense his superiors in the Jesuit novitiate actually had to restrict his activities to some degree in these regards, so as not to so surpass his confreres as to disrupt the unity of the group nor cause discouragement in others.

I would strongly encourage parents to learn about Saint Aloysius Gonzaga and have their children do the same.  He is a great example and powerful protector in this time of gross immodesty, unchecked lusts, and a million lurking dangers for children.

Be Devoted to the Immaculate Heart May 26, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Father Rodriguez, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, manhood, Our Lady, persecution, priests, sanctity, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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A nice sermon from a priest this blog has admired and followed for years.  I’ve posted his name scores of times on here but since the sermon comes from Sensus Fidelium and the policy is to try to keep the priests anonymous should I follow along?

Nah, it’s the priest I admire most for the sufferings he has endured for the good of souls and the authentic practice of the Faith, Father Michael Rodriguez.  Steve can slap me for breaching etiquette:

I was sort of dozing when I listened to this last night so I’m not really able to give a good synopsis.  But if it’s Father R it’s certain to be gold.  I can say with certainty that he is the non-TLM-community priest I respect the most.  And, he’s been a good friend and supporter of this blog and its author.

Please pray for him.  Father’s situation remains very difficult and he has no formal assignment in El Paso.  He does however retain valid faculties and he does reach a number of souls through the internet and more direct means.  But his situation is always parlous.  As a priest who has suffered tremendously, and wholly unjustly, in my mind, for his defense of the Faith and Tradition, he is eminently worthy of your prayers.

Of course, all priests need our prayers desperately, including those who are not as faithful or even destructive in their own particular way(s).  It would be a failure in charity for us not to pray for them, even if they do many bad things, for they will face a judgment far more severe than ours, given the responsibility they have for souls.

Invoking Our Lady’s intercession for all priests, good and not so good, is a wonderful way to pray for them. It’s a bit late now, but the month of Mary is a great time to make special devotional prayers/Novenas for priests. Saint Joseph is also a great intercessor for priests, the efficacy of whose intercession I have been repeatedly amazed by.

Well I managed to cobble together a half-decent (?) after all, without a synopsis!  Maybe I’m finally getting this blogging thing after all, after 7 1/2 years and 7000 posts.

Is There a PR Campaign Against Traditionalists…….. May 25, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Grace, Interior Life, Latin Mass, mortification, scandals, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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…….or is there a resurgence in stereotypical “bad Trad” behavior in parishes that offer the TLM?

Dear reader SB, who I value so much in real life as a great sounding board to bounce ideas off, since SB has been around the TLM since ’91 (two decades more than me), sent me a link to this post at Unam Sanctam Catholicam some time ago.  I had been meaning to get to it, but then a few days ago another reader, MFG, sent me links to two other similar postings (here and here).  MFG wondered if this was perhaps part of some campaign to either give TLMers a bad name or to put them in a box, the suspicion being that perhaps this effort had something to do with the looming SSPX “reconciliation.”

Now, about these posts and the posters.  Of the three, I have total respect for Unam Sanctam Catholicam and know he’s a straight shooter duly reporting what he’s been told.  I also know there is no “agenda” there save perhaps for genuine concern about the health of TLM communities and the continued availability of the ancient Mass.  We all know Father Z and you can draw your own conclusions.  As for the final link above, it’s from the progressive-modernist Commonweal and I would treat any report by them with great skepticism.

Tying all this together for me personally was two sermons given by our pastor lately basically also imploring the faithful not to be “bad trads” by making others feel bad or engaging in much, if any, fraternal correction save in obvious or dire situations.

I won’t get into any of the particular posts but I’ll just share my own experience and my take on this sudden rash of posts seeming to say very much the same thing.  But before I do that I should share a bit about me.  Perhaps you’ve noticed but I really don’t give two shakes what anybody thinks about me.  That’s not entirely true – I’m extremely concerned what my wife, children, and other family and close friends think of me – but generally I’m not out to get people’s approval.  If they like me, fine, if they think I’m an asshole, bully for you and move on along.  I’ve also got a fairly thick skin and don’t mind sharing my opinion (obviously) nor hearing those of others, especially from those I have learned through experience to respect.  I’m generally reserved in real life but if people ask my opinion or I get drawn into a conversation then I don’t mind sharing it.  Having said that, save for close friends and family directly seeking counsel, I virtually never “correct” anyone in their behavior even if I have an issue with it.  However, I’m also perfectly willing to hear correction or exhortations to do better from others and I gladly received just such an exhortation as recently as last week.  Much depends on the source and how it is conveyed, of course.

That being said, the report I take the most seriously is the one from Unam Sanctam Catholicam (USC).  As I said, I trust the source implicitly but I’ve got to say I have rarely heard or seen any evidence of the type of behavior he’s describing – the typical trads complaining because the maniple is tied wrong or the Latin pronunciation is inexact.  I’ll take USCs word for it that he heard that from certain priests but I’m a bit skeptical that the priests were really receiving hyper-critical comments with any regularity.  There could also be a phenomenon at work where a priest going out on a limb expects a lot of praise and adulation from those he’s taking a risk for – and offering the TLM in most dioceses is hardly career enhancing and often career-threatening, so I certainly understand the expectation of praise from the faithful – which might cause even occasional negative comments to be blown out of proportion.  Now really I don’t know anything about the situation or the priests involved so I really shouldn’t comment but I’ll simply state this kind of hyper-critical behavior is, in my experience, quite rare.  It’s also so stereotypical of the “bad trad” behavior that was repeated uncritically in the conservativish Catholic press for a quarter century or more that it sort of sets off alarm bells in the back of my mind.  That’s all I’ll say about that.

Moving onto the subject of the local sermons, an exhortation to be very careful when applying fraternal correction, I thought the priest might have gone a bit far in some of his examples/verbiage but the overall point was certainly fine and well-taken.  I am certain this sermon was a reaction to reports/complaints the priest has received.  Now whether those episodes of correction that led to complaints were really malicious or simply misplaced zeal – or even people trying to assuage their own consciences that they are doing right, finding strength in number or whatever – I tend to imagine it is the latter far more than the former.

I also realize not everyone is like me.  Whereas I might hear someone extolling me to lead my family more in communal prayer as a well-meaning concern for my soul and the souls of my family, some people find this kind of talk threatening or as some kind of rebuke.  Perhaps it’s just my jerky nature but when someone goes to pieces because another person extolled the virtues of homeschooling to them (assuming decent tact and decorum) and they’re not homeschooling, well, toughen up buttercup.  That’s no reason to have a 30 minute crying jag in Father’s office.  Again, much would depend on the nature of the relationship between the people involved and what exactly was said, but I’m extremely skeptical that there is much in the way of malicious put-downs or hyper-critical correction going on – at least in the limited TLM communities I’ve been exposed to.

More often than not it’s probably just someone a little bit too on fire for a certain subject that comes on a bit strong.  I don’t see that as “bad Trad” behavior at all.  It’s probably just an error of judgment or a mild personality defect.

Really though outside relatively close personal relationships or directly-sought counsel we lay people probably don’t need to be doing a great deal of direct correcting of each other.  If you see something amiss repeatedly with someone who should no better, probably the best course of action is to quietly bring it to the attention of the competent priest and let them deal with it.  In my experience, they will generally follow through (and do a better job than we would), though it may not happen instantly as we would like.  (or am I being squishy here?  Is the crisis in the Faith so dire the times demand broad sweeping intervention into other’s business?)

At the same time I also think priests and laity should not be so delicate as to get upset about perceived correction (which may be simply a misinterpreted general exhortation).  The priests related by USC, especially, I think did not have the right reasons for offering the TLM.  Certainly there is a pastoral side to making the TLM available, but the real reason for offering ANY Mass is to render worthy honor and glory to God.  The Mass is the ONLY efficacious Sacrifice that is pleasing to God.  Since the TLM is so demonstrably superior in both form and effect every priest should be eager to offer the TLM at every possible alternative, and should not get discouraged if the faithful are not as appreciative and uncritical as he would like.  That’s probably expecting too much from frail human nature but nevertheless I think priests who stop offering the TLM because the laity are not docile enough or appreciative enough for his taste is, I think, pretty weak tea.

As to whether this is an anti-TLM PR campaign I think probably not, it’s probably just coincidence, but you know the old Hardy Boy’s formula: once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, thrice is CONSPIRACY!!  I think in this internet age, however, where people are hard up for content and want to attract attention, that formula probably needs some modification.

What do you think, or what is your experience?  Is there still a problem of mean ‘ol judgy trads wagging their fingers in innocent faces and driving people away from the TLM?  The way our local parish is growing, I’d have to say their failing if their intent is to keep people away.  Is there a problem with maybe a bit too zealous, perhaps a bit brittle and damaged trads getting too much into other’s business?  I still think my answer would be generally no (SB says she used to see this as a big problem, but not so much anymore).

Or perhaps are Trads and Trad priests maybe so set in their ways and so sure of being right they can’t take correction even when it’s well placed and deserved?