jump to navigation

So I Had to Break My Mom’s Heart Today…….. March 1, 2018

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Bible, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Holy suffering, Interior Life, martyrdom, mortification, sadness, Tradition.
comments closed

…….and hurt my dad, as well.  I probably also permanently terminated any chance of having a relationship with my sister, which relation has already been horribly strained due largely to my traditional Catholic Faith (and other matters) over the past 7-8 years.

My family, and my wife’s family, are polar opposites. My wife’s family is Catholic, mine is protestant.  My wife has 60 nieces and nephews, I have one niece.  That niece is to be married in April to a fallen away Catholic from Mexico.  They are being married outside the Church. I did not ask, but I was told he was fallen away.  Well from then on we simply could not attend the wedding, and I dreaded having to break the news, because family is probably the most important thing in this world to my mom especially, and this would break her heart.  But I spoke with every priest at the parish and they were unanimous – no, I cannot attend a religious wedding/simulation of the Sacrament of Matrimony involving a Catholic.

There is a dim hope he was not actually baptized, but it’s exceedingly unlikely.

So we cannot attend.  And my family does not understand.  I barely understand, but I know I just can’t do it. And because family means so much to my mom, and because, aside from my wife and I’s  7 kids, the family is so small, everything tends to get magnified to the Nth degree. But the issue from a doctrinal standpoint is totally clear – I cannot support a Catholic in committing an act of grave sin against the Faith.  I certainly could not confuse and scandalize my children by involving them, and their presence is practically the whole point to my mom.

So I really hurt my parent’s feelings, which I absolutely did not want to do, and they cannot comprehend why.  That’s the reason I’m sharing this here, because they’re right, 99.5% of Catholics in the US today would go ahead and go to the outdoor “wedding” ceremony.  Who am I to say I am so right?  How can I hold myself up as such a prideful elitist looking down on other Catholics and all other Christians? Heck Francis himself would probably castigate me as a vicious sinner for failing to go, calling me to make human hearts happy as the highest end.  And yet the Truth remains………

Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at strife against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

And a man’s enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it.

So do not let it be said that my faith in Jesus Christ, flawed and as imperfect as it is, has not cost me anything.  It has cost me dear, and cost others as well, people whom I love who do not share this faith of mine and who I have to hurt because of my faith. But this is one of the moments that, to me, defines whether one really believes or not.  Am I willing to stand with Christ, to choose Christ over even mother or father or sister or niece, all of whom are so very dear to me?  I pray I am.  I can tell you, there were several times during the unfortunate scene today when I wanted to cave in, and one time very nearly did. But in the end, I could not.

I am very sorry for that, in fact it’s been a brutal experience, but I can do no other than what I feel in conscience I must.  I write this here, because I felt that if anyone would understand, you would.

May God have mercy on us all for our human failings.  And may He in His infinite benevolence bring about a miracle of conversion for all my family so that we may all be united fully in Faith and charity.

 

Advertisements

Ligouri on the Necessity of Humility and Suffering Humiliation As Means of Attaining Sanctity September 28, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, religious, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
comments closed

Some additional excerpts from The True Spouse of Jesus Christ by the great Moral Doctor St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori on the vital role humility, especially in the form of patiently and joyfully bearing humiliations, plays in the process of sanctification/growth in the interior life.

I cut and paste various exerpts from pp. 335-341 below:

Some, says St. Francis of Assisi, imagine that sanctity consists in the recital of many prayers or in the performance of works of penance: but, not understanding the great merit of patience under insult, they cannot bear an injurious word.  You will acquire more merit by meekly receiving an affront than by fasting ten days on bread and water.  It will sometimes happen that a privilege that is refused to you will be conceded to others; that what you say will be treated with contempt, while the words of others are heard with respectful attention; that while the actions of others are the theme of general praise, and they are heaped with honors, you are passed by unnoticed and your whole conduct is made a subject of derision.  If you accept in peace all these humiliations, and if, with a sincere affection, you recommend to God those from whom you receive the least respect, then indeed, as St. Dorotheus says, it will be manifest that you are truly humble. To them you are particularly indebted, since by their reproaches they cure your pride – the most malignant of all diseases that lead to spiritual death.  Because they deem themselves worthy of all honors, the proud convert their humiliations into an occasion of pride.  But because the humble consider themselves deserving only of opprobrium, their humiliations serve to increase their humility.  “That man,” says St. Bernard, ” is truly humble who converts humiliation into humility.”

Voluntary humiliations, such as to serve the sick, to kiss the feet of those who imagine, even unjustly, that we have offended them, and similar acts of humility, are very profitable; but, to embrace with cheerfulness, for the love of Jesus Christ, the humiliations that come from others, such as reproofs, accusations, insults, and derisions, is still more meritorious……..As gold is tried in the fire, so a man’s perfection is proved by humiliation.  St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi used to say that “untried virtue is not virtue.” He who does not suffer contempt with a tranquil mind shall never attain the spirit of perfection…….[Working out our salvation is not easy.  Contrary to American protestant claims of “one and done” conversions, which are so typical of the modern American drive-through convenience mentality, God desires of us a total conversion from our fallen human nature, our endless pride and selfishness, to a being dead to self and living only for God and through His Grace.  This is terribly hard, but God has given us great guides in the Saints to show that it is possible, and, even more, how to do it.  It’s simply a matter of dying to ourselves and living for God through good works done to others. Suffering humiliations tranquilly is a powerful means of dying to self.]

………St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi used to say that crosses and ignominies are the greatest favors that God is accustomed to bestow on his beloved spouses[Once again, contrary to protestant, especially modern American protestantism, which preaches that God just wants to shower ease and wealth and comfort on His chosen ones…….is that what He did to His son?  Is His Son and Our Lady the exemplars par excellence God has given us on both how to live our lives, and what to expect from the world when we live in accord with His Will?  I know even some Catholics who equate being pious with being blessed with happiness, comfort, ease, freedom from illness or financial difficulty, but this is very, very wrong.]

……….The Saints have not been made Saints by applause and honor, but by injuries and insults.  St. Ignatius Martyr, a bishop, and an object of universal esteem and veneration, was sent to Rome as a criminal, and on his way experienced from the soldiers who conducted him nothing but the most barbarous insolence.  In the midst of his suffering and humiliations he joyfully exclaimed: “I now begin to be a disciple of Christ.” I now begin to be a true disciple of my Jesus, who endured so m any ignominies for my sake……

.Let us then be persuaded that to be persecuted in this life confers the highest excellence on the Saints. “And,” says the Apostle, “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Tim iii:12). The Redeemer says, “If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (Jn xv:20).

————-End Quote————-

We live in an especially difficult time to acquire the virtue of humility.  More than in any past period, today we have paraded before our eyes constantly, especially if we have not yet destroyed our TVs, powerful images extolling pride and denigrating almost all virtue, but especially humility.  True humility is an almost unknown quantity in our mass media culture, and tranquil acceptance of humiliations is utterly baffling, especially for Americans, who have been taught for decades that having everything the way they want it this instant is a practical constitutional right. Vast numbers of the younger generations coming of age literally have zero conception of what life is like for the vast majority of humanity today, and, even more, the sufferings and privations involved in existence even a few short decades ago in anyplace but America.  Heck, my dad grew up without running water and electricity, and I was born in the 70s!  That just one tiny example.  Wealth, ease, and comfort are in many ways inimical to growth in virtue: and, of course, our task is made even harder still by the crisis in the Church.  It’s a terrible triple whammy.

But God is infinitely greater in his rewards, than what He asks of us in sacrifice.  Those who are able to cooperate with Grace in these increasingly dark times, what great Saints they will be, and what inspirations to future generations!

I pray such Saints may be found from among the readership of this blog.  As for the author, it is best to do as I say, not as I do…….

A Happy Change of Pace from FrancisDoom: Various Quotes from St. Catherine of Siena September 20, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, fightback, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, religious, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
comments closed

Thinking about Francis and the Rome Plow he is taking through the Church can quickly get depressing.  Plus, it’s always good to be encouraged.  I find few Saints more encouraging than St. Catherine of Siena.  The following quotes are rather random, but they all contain great spiritual direction and solid catechesis.  I pray you enjoy!

Quote 1:

O Charity, you are the sweet, holy bond uniting the soul to its Creator; you unite God to man and man to God.  you kept the Son of God nailed to the wood of the Holy Cross.  You unite those whom discord keeps apart. You enrich  with virtue those who are poor, because you give life to all the virtues.  You bring peace and suppress hatred and war.  You give patience, strength, and perseverance in return for every good and holy work.  You are never weary, you never turn aside from the love of God and neighbor, either because of weariness, pain, contempt, or insult.

O Christ, sweet Jesus, give me this holy charity, that I may persevere in doing good and never give it up; for he who possesses charity is founded on You, the living rock, and by following Your example, he learns from  You how to love his neighbor.  In You, O Christ, I read the rule and doctrine which are right for me, for You are the way, the truth, and the life.  If I read You, I shall follow the right path and shall occupy myself solely with the honor of God and the salvation of souls.

Quote 2:

I give You thanks, O eternal Father, because You have not despised Your creature, nor turned away Your face from me, nor ignored my desires. You, who are light, did not despise my darkness; You, who are life, did not go far away from me who am death; nor did You, the physician, fail to heal my wounds.……Your wisdom, mercy, and infinite goodness have not looked with scorn at all these and the infinite number of other evils and faults that are in me. What forced You to love me and to grant me so many graces? It was not my virtues but only Your charity. May I always keep Your favors in mind, and may my will burn with the fire of Your charity.

O inestimable Love, how admirable are the things You have done in Your creature! O my wretched, blind soul, where is your cry of gratitude, where are the tears you should shed in the sight of your God who is unceasingly calling to you?  Where are all my yearning desires in the sight of divine mercy? They are not in me because I have not yet lost myself, for if I were lost and had sought only You, my God, only the glory and the praise of Your Name, my heart would have thrilled in a hymn of gratitude.

Thanks be to You, o eternal, most high Trinity!  I am she who is not and You are He who is. Glorify Yourself by enabling me to praise You.  Pardon me, O Father, pardon me who am miserable, and ungrateful to You for the immense benefits I have received. I confess that Your goodness has preserved me, Your spouse, although because of my many defects I have often been unfaithful to You.

Quote 3:

O God, You have seen the weakness of our human nature; You know how weak, frail, and miserable it is; therefore, You, the sovereign Provider, Who in all things have provided for all the needs of Your creatures, You, the perfect repairer, who have given a remedy for all our ills, You gave us the rock and fortitude of will to strengthen the weakness of our flesh.  This will is so strong that no demon or creature can conquer it if we do not will it, that is, if our free will, which is in our own hands, does not consent.

O infinite Goodness, where does such great strength in Your creature’s will come from?  From You, sovereign, eternal Strength, because it shares in the strength of Your will.  Hence, we can see that our will is strong to the degree in which it follows Yours, and weak to the degree in which it deviates from Yours because You created our will to the likeness of Your Will, and therefore being in Yours, it is strong.

In our will, O eternal Father, You show the fortitude of Your Will; if You have given so much fortitude to a little member, what should we think Yours to be, O Creator and Ruler of all things?

It seems to me that this free will which You have given us is fortified by the light of faith, for in this light it knows Your will, which wishes nothing but our sanctification.  Then our will, fortified and nourished by our holy Faith, gives life to our actions, which explains why neither good will nor lively faith can exist without works.  Faith nourishes and maintains the fire of charity, because it reveals to our soul Your love and charity to us, and thus makes it strong in loving You.

Quote 4, especially important in light of Francis and all the travails afflicting the Church and pious souls:

O eternal God, grant me the virtue of perseverance; without it, no one can please You nor be acceptable to You.  This virtue brings to the soul an abundance of charity and the fruit of every effort.  Oh! how happy I should be, Lord, if You would give me this virtue, because even here on earth it will make me enjoy a pledge of eternal life. But Your light reveals to me that I cannot attain it unless I suffer much, because this life cannot be lived without suffering.  he who would escape suffering woulf deprive himself of holy perseverance. 

Finally, a bonus from St. Bernard:

No one is so presumptuous that he thinks his justice or holiness is enough to assure his salvation [Unless he is a protestant, or Francis but I repeat].  For this reason I hasten to You, O Jesus: Your Passion is my supreme refuge and sole remedy!  It comes to help us when our wisdom fails, when our justice is weak, and the merits of our holiness are useless.  When my strength grows weak, I shall not be discouraged.  I know what I must do: “I shall take the chalice of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.” Open by eyes, O God, that I may always know what is pleasing to You and then I shall be wise. Pardon the faults of my youth and ignorance, and I shall be just.  Lead me, O God, on Your path, and I shall be holy.  But if Your Blood does not intercede for me, I shall not be saved.

———-End Quote———

That’s it!

Father Rodriguez Update August 23, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, Father Rodriguez, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, manhood, mortification, Our Lady, priests, Restoration, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
comments closed

I am sorry I have not yet had the opportunity to watch either of the videos below in their totality.  In fact, I’ve only had a time to watch the first few moments of each.  But they reveal that what I hoped would come to fruition indeed has – that Father Rodriguez has found a vehicle in The Fatima Center to reach souls with his apostolate.  When I examine the internet as a totality (see yesterday’s post), I should keep in mind that it enables a persecuted, hounded priest like Father Michael Rodriguez to still reach souls, and that is not an inconsequential thing.  In reality, determining whether such a massive, disparate, confused, self-contradictory object as the internet is a good or bad thing in its totality is probably well beyond my very limited capabilities.

That aside, it seems Father might be making regular contributions to The Fatima Center’s Youtube channel.  I certainly hope so.

Father’s two sermons continue the theme he began in some previous ones, the role of the Blessed Virgin in the Lord’s plan of salvation and our own particular efforts at sanctification.  The first sermon focuses on the relationship between the Holy Ghost and the Blessed Virgin Mary.  God’s Grace is what makes us holy.  God has willed to share His Grace with us through Mary, who is the Mediatrix of all grace. Father quotes numerous popes and saints in attesting to Mary’s critical role in the diffusion of grace into souls, including St. Bernadine of Siena, Blessed Pope Pius IX, Pope Benedict XV, and St. Maximilian Kolbe, among others.

Devotion to Mary – and this is attested to by the great Moral Doctor St. Alphonsus, along with St. Louis de Montfort – is absolutely vital for salvation.  St. Alphonsus says it is morally impossible for a soul to be saved without a powerful devotion to Our Lady, and the deeper the devotion, the greater the likelihood, generally speaking, of salvation for an individual soul.

God wills our salvation through the diffusion of Grace in the Holy Ghost, and this God further wills that this sanctification through Grace take place in and through Our Blessed Mother.

That’s a pretty fair synopsis of the first video, anyway.

The second video is somewhat on a somewhat related topic, focusing more explicitly on Fatima and the Light of Christ.  Our Lady came to Fatima in 1917 to bring the Light of Christ to our times.

Father notes that the great crisis afflicting the Church – and numerous souls – is the lack of holiness, grace, and truth in the Church.  Instead of holiness, we are, like good Americanists, concerned with external works and creating pleasant communities.  Instead of supernatural grace, we are concerned with natural talents and efforts. In stead of cooperating with divine grace, we are concerned with individual liberty;  instead of growing =with grace, we are concerned with physical health and material comforts.  Instead of truth, we are concerned with political correctness. Instead of the one truth, we are concerned with promoting each person’s or group;’s beliefs equally, regardless of truth or error.  And instead of conforming our lives to the Truth, we are more concerned with deforming the Truth to correspond with the way we live.  We must consider holiness, grace, and truth as the light that comes from Jesus Christ.  This fallen world will never give us holiness, grace, and truth – only Jesus Christ, our Savior, Lord, and King can do so.

Notice how significant light is to the Fatima apparitions, and when you think of this light, recall that it is Christ’s holiness, grace, and truth.  If you believe in the Gospel, you must believe in Fatima.  The message of Fatima is the message of the Gospel.  Man has turned away from God, he must now turn back to God – nothing is more important.

To do this, we must do the five things God demands of us through Our Lady of Fatima:

  1. Pray the Holy Rosary daily – dedicate your Rosary to consoling Mary’s heart, and meditating on the Divine Mysteries
  2. Wear the brown scapular
  3. Be faithful in accomplishing one’s daily duty according to one’s state in life
  4. Make reparation – pray and sacrifice for the conversion of sinners
  5. The devotion of the Five First Saturdays, in reparation for wounds inflicted on the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Also pray the Raccolta prayers 386-393 (you can bet I’ll check those out as soon as I get home!). Father closes with three quotes from St. John Eudes and a personal prayer to Our Lady.

I’ll let that stand as a very brief synopsis.

This second sermon is especially powerful and if you only have time to watch/listen to one, focus on this second one.  Both are great, and both should be listened to, as they build on each other, but I understand how limited time is for many of us.

Finally, some photos have emerged of Father’s pilgrimage to Quito, Ecuador, and the great shrine of Our Lady of Good Success, in 2016 (2015?).  I was unaware, until I saw the photos, that the very good and holy priest of the Fraternity of St. Peter, Fr. Jonathan Romanowski, was also present during this pilgrimage. I only share a few photos, please go to the link to see the rest.  There are some truly beautiful photos of the basilica of Our Lady of Good Success and other gorgeous churches.  What perfect venues for the offering of the Mass of the Ages, even with the sad, protestant-inspired post-conciliar wreckovations, which, thankfully, have been comparatively minimal in these sacred buildings.

Also inspiring is the attestation of the large crowds that assisted at these Masses.  These were probably  the first TLMs the hundreds of locals present had seen ever seen – and what a great work of spiritual mercy that is in itself.  There were only a score or so that accompanied Father on the pilgrimage, so it is a hopeful sight to see many others avail themselves of the Mass of St. Pius V – who knows what great fruit may result.

Padre Romo with Father Rodriguez

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.
comments closed

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!

Saint Alphonsus Liguori on How to Perform Our Actions Well      July 19, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, mortification, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
comments closed

In performing our actions well, the Saint means in the manner most pleasing to God.  This excerpt is from The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, a book originally intended for religious, but this section in particular has great relevance for all souls, not only those specifically consecrated to God in religious life (pp. 187-9).

Many times, we may get bogged down with the seemingly dull routine of life. We might find our job less than satisfying. We may be tempted to find as many distractions to get us through the day as possible (like, say, blogging).  We might find raising and educating kids very tiresome after 5 or 10 or even 2 years.  We might find it a lot more appealing to spend the afternoon on Facebook rather than do the laundry and check the kid’s math homework.

Even though our daily actions may not seem glamorous, even though they may eventually come to seem to be a tiresome routine, these constitute (for laity) the duties of our vocation in life and the means God has given us to grow in Grace and virtue.  We should not only perform these duties with great diligence, but we should even thank God for these means  He gives us to draw nearer to Him in this life.

Begin excerpt:

The following are the means to perform our actions well:

The first means is to preserve during the discharge of our duties a lively sense of the presence of God, that thus every act may be worthy of His divine eyes.

The second means is, to perform every work as if it were the only duty you had to fulfill. When at prayer, let your sole care be to pray well; when you say the Divine Office [which is not enjoined as precept on laity, but which is an extremely beneficial devotion], direct all your attention to the devout recitation of it; when engaged in any employment, your soul concern should be to discharge it well.  Think of nothing but the duty in which you are occupied. To examine, during the time of prayer, how you will direct a certain work, or to reflect on the mans of performing some other duty, is a temptation of the enemy.  “When,” says Saint John of Avila, “any unseasonable thought enters your mind, say: God does not will that I think at this moment on such a subject; and therefore it is not useful for me to reflect upon it: when He commands  me, I shall attend to it.”

The third means is, to perform every action as if it were the last of your life.  St. Anthony frequently recommended this means to his disciples. “In every work,” says St. Bernard, “let each one say to himself: If I were about to die, would I do this?”  Would I it in in this manner? Were this the last Mass that I should hear, with what devotion would I be present at it?………Were this my last Communion or my last meditation, with what fervor would I perform it?  When, says St. Basil, you discharge the duties of the morning, imagine that you shall not live till evening; when night approaches, think that you shall not see morning……….

Four, to think each day only on the labors of the day, is another means which greatly assists weak souls to discharge their duties with fervor.  The apprehension of the pains to be endured, in living till death with so much exactness, and in continually resisting self-love, is one of the causes which make many lose courage in the way of God.  The best means of conquering this temptation is to imagine each morning that you have but one day to live.  Whoever represents to himself that only one day of life remains, will certainly perform all the actions of that day with great perfection.  This means is very profitable for weak souls, but strong and perfect Christians do not require to conceal from themselves the labors necessary for the attainment of sanctity; they rejoice in suffering, and pant for opportunities of pleasing God.

Fifth, and finally, to those beginning to walk in the way of perfection it will be very useful to consider that what is in itself difficult and painful will by habit soon become easy and agreeableI will, says the Holy Ghost, lead thee by the paths of equity; which, when thou shalt have entered, shall not be straightened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not meet a stumbling block (Prov iv:11-12).  I will, says the Lord, first conduct  you into the narrow paths of virtue; but you shall soon walk through a broad and pleasing way, and there you shall run without difficulties or obstacles. “At first,” says St. Bernard, writing to Pope Eugenius, “some duty will seem intolerable; if you accustom yourself to it, in process of time it will not appear so difficult; afterwards you shall not feel it; and in the end you will delight in it.” Behold with your eyes, says Ecclesiasticus, how I have labored a little, and have found much rest to myself (Eccl li:35).

———-End Quote———–

Do you find it difficult to present to yourself each day or night as your last? This is something I – I’m not sure struggle with is the right phrase – I have not developed the habit of or accustomed myself to.   It seems something very much worth trying, for both embracing some of my more prosaic duties and overcoming some attachments I have so far been unable to separate myself from.  If you have experience with these methods, please share, or if you try them, let me know how they work out.

A Troika of Awesome Sermons on Fatherhood June 22, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, episcopate, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, manhood, mortification, priests, sanctity, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
comments closed

I’m not going to try to give a synopsis of each of the three sermons below, I’m only going to say they are from a fantastic and much missed (by me, and others) priest, and on a topic of absolutely vital importance: spiritual and natural fatherhood.  I would agree with the priest that the root crisis in the Church and world today is a total collapse of all forms of fatherhood – the pious and virtuous father in the home, the holy priest who sacrifices himself for his flock in the knowledge that he will be judged severely for every soul that falls away or into sin, and fatherhood stemming from exalted episcopal offices in the Church, by which the souls of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and even millions are affected.

As anyone with eyes to see knows, fatherhood as an institution in every sense in recent decades has been in practically terminal decline.  The manifest problems stemming from failures by fathers in the home are too well known to review, but the enervation of spiritual fatherhood in the Church is perhaps less well known, or at least less recognized, and is even more poisonous to souls and the good of Christendom (what’s left of it) than the divorce rate, fornication, abortion, abandoned children, leviathan state, and other evidences of bad fathers in the home.

These three videos should be watched in order as each builds on the preceding one.  They give an awesome catechesis on all aspects of fatherhood – and the spiritual aspects of familial fatherhood should never be underestimated, as the father is the head of the domestic church! – as well as a powerful exhortation to amend our lives, as few if any fathers in this age, be they spiritual or familial, are performing their sacred and vital office with as much dedication and virtue as they should be.

I don’t know if synopses encourage people to watch videos I post more or not, and while there is a fairly significant time investment in watching or listening to these three, they are absolutely worth the time!  Listen while you do some household chores.  Listen while you drive. These are a must for men but also extremely valuable for women.  I pray you will take the time to listen to all of them, as I have.  There is catechetical wisdom contained in these sermons that is virtually impossible to find elsewhere and of inestimable value.

And yes Father gives me a shiny nickel for each view he gets, so I was really motivated to give a heavy sales pitch*.

Oh, Father does touch on one thing in the first video I thought I’d explore a bit in this post.  He leads off discussing the subject of mission, or being sent, and how only those commissioned by the Church in apostolates really have the right – and solemn duty – to perform various duties related to souls.  Fathers of families get their mission to raise children up in the Faith to be holy souls by the Sacrament of Matrimony.  Of course priests get their mission from the Sacrament of Holy Orders and their incardination in various dioceses or religious orders.

Protestants, however, do not have valid holy orders, nor do they possess valid sacraments.  Related to the post from Tuesday discussing Dave Eubank and his “mission” serving souls in extremely dangerous situations in Iraq, this is a point I wanted to address but did not get to.  But in reality, for all the good Eubank is doing, and it seems to be substantial, he has no proper mission in an ecclesiastical sense.  No protestant does.  Not even High Anglicans/Anglo-Catholics in pseudo-orders have such valid missions. That is something only the Church can give.

But mission is also something that is presently completely misunderstood, and even misrepresented to the point of abuse, in the Church today.  So many priests are horribly abusing their mission in preaching error and kow-towing to (almost always) Leftist politico-religious shibboleths.  Familial fathers have their own grave problems.  Anyway I thought this an interesting point and the concept of mission, as discussed by father, plays and absolutely vital role in all forms of fatherhood.

*-I am, of course, joking.

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga on the Practice of Humility June 6, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in attachments, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Grace, mortification, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
comments closed

If you’re anything like me, you may have a hard time practicing humility.  I don’t think blogging as an enterprise is well-suited for the development of humility, but it doesn’t have to be incompatible with the practice of this virtue.

In this era of exaltation of the self and the cult of instant gratification, probably few virtues aside from purity have been more trammeled on and disregarded than humility.

Mostly I fail in humility in preferring my own thoughts, plans, and opinions to others.  But I also do so in myriad other ways.  Probably most readers are stronger in this virtue than I am.  If so, please pray for me.

On the other hand, if you feel you could use some help in the growth of the practice of humility, you might consider the counsel given by the great Saint Aloysius Gonzaga. There are no great mysteries or deep behavioral insights below, but I have found that imploring the Lord, the Blessed Virgin, and the Saints for their help in acquiring this virtue can reap great rewards. Especially focus on those Saints known for their humility, such as St. Teresa of Avila and Saint Mary Magdalene dei Pazzi. Also, St. Joseph, especially for men, is our model of humility.  He is barely mentioned in the Gospels, because he married exceedingly well the practice of humility with his role as protector and provider of the two holiest creatures who have ever trod the earth. I find this an especial challenge for fathers, marrying humility with right family leadership, not asserting what I want because of my role, but also not failing in my God-given duty as leader of our domestic church and family.  It is a difficult balance, one I cannot say I always practice with perfection.

Intro aside, here are Saint Aloysius Gonzaga’s two rules for making progress in humility:

The first means is to remember that although this virtue is most becoming to man, on account of his lowliness, nevertheless it does not grow upon our earth, but must be obtained from Heaven by prayer to Him, from Whom every best gift and every perfect gift comes.  Since, then, you are proud, force yourself to ask this virtue of the infinite Majesty of God, its first Source, with all the humility of which you are capable, and ask it through the merits and intercession of the deep humility of Jesus Christ, Who, when He was in the form of God, emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant.

The second means is to have recourse to the intercession of those Saints who have especially excelled in this virtue.

Remember, first, that if the Saints while on earth merited to obtain this virtue in such a high degree, they must certainly now be still more worthy and deserving, since in Heaven they are far more pleasing to God than they ever were on earth. And as they no longer need to humble themselves for their own sake, since by this virtue they have already won their way to the heights of Heaven, beg of them to obtain for you from God this virtue of humility.

Secondly, consider that on earth everyone naturally tries to help those who follow the calling in which he has distinguished himself.  For example, a great general who frequents the King’s Court will recommend to his royal master those who devote themselves to service in the army; a distinguished man of letters will patronize those who follow a literary vocation………So too in Heaven those who excelled in some particular virtue more than in others, whilst they lived on earth, will most favor and help those who are striving most to acquire these virtues, and who seek their intercession in order to obtain them.  These considerations should encourage you, in the first place, to have recourse especially to the Blessed Virgin Mother of God, for she excelled in the virtue of humility far beyond any other mere creature.  Then hasten to the holy Apostles, to St. Peter, who said of himself “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man), and to St. Paul, who, although he had been rapt into the third heaven, had such a humble opinion of himself that he said: “Jesus came to save sinners, of whom I am the chief.”

The first of these two thoughts will help you to understand how powerful these Saints are with God in obtaining for  you this virtue; and the second will show you not only how much they are able to do, but also how willing they are to do it.

———-End Excerpt———–

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.
comments closed

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.
comments closed

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.