Some Spiritual Gems from the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer January 9, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Our Lady, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
A few excerpts from recent issues of the awesome Catholic newspaper, published by the Transalpine Redemptorists quarterly. The first is on humility, the second contains statements by various Saints in praise of Our Blessed Mother.
On Humility: These lessons may seem superficial, even credulous, but they are actually very powerful. What we learn below is that all our acts of piety – hours of prayer, great acts of penance, numerous devotions, fasting, etc. – can all be undone of spiritual benefit if we lack humility. In fact, humility is the prerequisite for advance in the interior life. It’s also one of the most difficult to obtain virtues, so contrary to our nature is it. Humility comes from meekness, which comes from willed embrace of suffering – something our natures and the entire world scream at us is unnatural and unacceptable. Enough of me, the quote from Catholic:
The most powerful weapon for overcoming the devil is humility, because as he is a perfect stranger to the employment of it, so he knows not how to defend himself against it – St. Vincent de Paul
One day, as St. Macarius was returning to his cell, he met the devil with a scythe in his hand: the fiend endeavored to wound him, and cut him in two with it; but he was unable to do so, because the moment he came near to him he lost all his strength. Upon which, being filled with rage, he said to him, “I suffer great violence from thee, O Macarius, because though I greatly desire to hurt thee, I am unable to do so. Strange indeed it is! I do all that you do, and even more: you fast sometimes, and I never eat at all; you sleep but little, it is true, but I never close my eyes; you are chaste and so am I; in one respect alone you surpass me.” “And what is that?” replied Macarius. The devil answered, “It is in your great humility.” And having said this, he disappeared without letting the saint behold him another moment.
On a certain occasion the devil appeared to a monk in the form of the Archangel Gabriel, and told him that he was sent to him by God; but the monk feeling himself altogether unworthy of such a visit replied, “See if you were not sent to another,” and forthwith the devil disappeared.
As an aged priest was exorcising a possessed individual, the devil said he would never leave that body until he had told him who were the goats and who the lambs. The good priest immediately replied, “the goats are all those who are like me; who the lambs are is known to God.” At which words the devil cried out aloud, “I am forced by thy humility to go away,” and forthwith he fled.
In Praise of Mary: No introduction needed.
Seek refuge in Mary because she is the city of refuge. We know that Moses set up three cities of refuge for anyone who inadvertently killed his neighbor. Now the Lord has established a refuge of mercy, Mary, even for those who deliberately commit evil. Mary provides shelter and strength for the sinner. – St. Anthony of Padua
Let us not imagine that we obscure the glory of the Son by the great praise we lavish on the Mother; for the more she is honored, the greater is the glory of her Son. There can be no doubt that whatever we say in praise of the Mother gives equal praise to the Son. – St. Bernard of Clairvaux [Dang right! Listen to that, protestants!]
Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did. – St. Maximilian Kolbe
We never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor His Mother, and we honor her simply and solely to honor Him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way of leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son. – St. Louis Grignon de Montfort
Let us run to her, and, as little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence. – St. Francis de Sales
With reason did the Most Holy Virgin predict that all generations would call her blessed, for all the Elect obtain eternal salvation through the means of Mary. – St. Ildephonsus [I believe it!]
As in the natural life a child must have a father and a mother, so in the supernatural life of grace a true child of the Church must have God for his Father and Mary for his mother. If he prides himself on having God for his Father but does not give to Mary the tender affection of a true child, he is an impostor and his father is the devil. [ouch] – St. Louis de Montfort
Alright, one more on a different subject, from the Angelic Doctor himself, Thomas Aquinas:
Nothing created has ever been able to satisfy the heart of man. God alone can fill it infinitely.
Lord, do I ever know that. I tried to fill it with everything imaginable, but it remained a vacuum until I at least tried to start filling it with You. It feels much fuller now. I pray it is.
Start Novena to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Today! November 29, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Interior Life, Novenas, Our Lady, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
That’s today, 11/29/16. Ideally, you’d start today. If you would, in your charity, consider adding MJD, who provided the prayer below, to your intentions. She is having eye surgery next week (on Dec. 8th itself).
Immaculate Virgin Mary, you were pleasing in the sight of God from the first moment of your conception in the womb of your mother, St. Anne. You were chosen to be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I believe the teaching of holy Mother the Church, that in the first instant of your conception, by the singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race and beloved Son, you were preserved from all stain of original sin. I thank God for this wonderful privilege and grace he bestowed upon you as I honor your Immaculate Conception.
Look graciously upon me as I implore this special favor:(mention your request).
Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and my Mother, from your throne in heaven turn your eyes of pity upon me. Filled with confidence in your goodness and power, I beg you to help me in this journey of life which is so full of dangers for my soul. I entrust myself entirely to you, that I may never be the slave of the devil through sin, but may always live a humble and pure life. I consecrate myself to you forever, for my only desire is to love your divine Son Jesus. Mary, since none of your devout servants has perished, May I too be saved. Amen.
Another version of the Novena is below, so that you may have your choice:
O most pure Virgin Mary conceived without sin, from the very first instant, you were entirely immaculate. O glorious Mary full of grace, you are the mother of my God – the Queen of Angels and of men. I humbly venerate you as the chosen mother of my Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Prince of Peace and the Lord of Lords chose you for the singular grace and honor of being His beloved mother. By the power of His Cross, He preserved you from all sin. Therefore, by His power and love, I have hope and bold confidence in your prayers for my holiness and salvation.
I pray first of all that you would make me worthy to call you my mother and your Son, Jesus, my Lord.
I pray that your prayers will bring me to imitate your holiness and submission to Jesus and the Divine Will.
Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.
Now, Queen of Heaven, I beg you to beg my Savior to grant me these requests…
(Mention your intentions)
My holy Mother, I know that you were obedient to the will of God. In making this petition, I know that God’s will is more perfect than mine. So, grant that I may receive God’s grace with humility like you.
As my final request, I ask that you pray for me to increase in faith in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in hope in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in love for the risen Jesus!
Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.
Finally, the Saint Andrew 25 day Novena for Christmas also starts tomorrow 11/30. The prayer is below, though I know you already know it:
The 25 day St. Andrew Novena starts today, Nov. 30. The prayer is as follows, pray it 15 times a day through Christmas Eve:
HAIL AND BLESSED BE THE HOUR AND MOMENT IN WHICH THE SON OF GOD WAS BORN OF THE MOST PURE VIRGIN MARY, AT MIDNIGHT, IN BETHLEHELM, IN PIERCING COLD.
IN THAT HOUR, VOUCHSAFE, O MY GOD, TO HEAR MY PRAYER AND GRANT MY PETITIONS,
(MENTION YOUR INTENTIONS HERE)
THROUGH THE MERITS OF OUR SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST AND OF HIS BLESSED MOTHER. AMEN.
I typically just make an en bloc petition for the day for all 15 recitations. If you say them all together, it only takes a few minutes.
Two Great Saints on Prayer November 28, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
From the first Chapter of St. Peter of Alcantara’s Treatise on Prayer and Meditation, two meditations on the absolutely vital role of our prayer lives in the working out of our salvation through God’s Grace. The first is ostensibly from St. Bonaventure, but may in fact come from another Franciscan called Joannes a Caulibus. The second most definitely comes from St. Lawrence Justinian. Both clearly relate the importance – the absolutely vital role – a deeply committed prayer life must play in our development of virtue and growth in the interior life. Just some spiritual fruit for you as we launch into a new liturgical year and a season that should be deeply immersed in prayer and penance, Advent. I pray you find this excerpt edifying:
“If you would endure with patience the adversities and miseries of this life, be a man of prayer. If you would acquire strength and courage to vanquish the temptations of the enemy, be a man of prayer. If you would crush your self-will, with all its inclinations and desires, be a man of prayer. If you would know the wiles of satan and defend yourself against his snares, be a man of prayer. If you would live with a joyous heart and pass lightly along the road of penance and sacrifice, be a man of prayer. If you would drive away vain thoughts and cares which worry the soul like flies, be a man of prayer. If you would nourish the soul with the sap of devotion and have it always filled with good thoughts, be a man of prayer. If you would strengthen and establish your heart in the ways of God, be a man of prayer. Finally, if you would uproot from your soul all vices and plant virtues in their place, be a man of prayer. For herein does a man receive the unction and grace of the Holy Ghost, who teaches all things. Nay more, would you mount to the summit of contemplation and enjoy the sweet embraces of the Spouse, exercise yourself in prayer, for it is the road that leads to contemplation and to the taste of what is heavenly. Do you see now how great is the strength and power of prayer? In proof of all that has been said – apart from the witness of the divine Scriptures – let that suffice for the moment as proof sufficient what we have heard and seen, what we see every day, viz., many simple persons who have achieved all we have enumerated above, and even greater, by the exercise of prayer.”
Such are the words of St. Bonaventure. What treasure could one find richer or fuller than that? Listen again to what another very religious and holy doctor says on this subject, speaking of the same virtue (St. Lawrence Justinian):
“In prayer the soul cleanses itself from sin, charity is nourished, faith is strengthened, hope is made secure, the spirit rejoices, the soul grows tender, and the heart is purified; truth discovers itself, temptation is overcome, sadness takes to flight, the senses are renewed, failing virtue is made good, tepidity disappears, the rust of sin is rubbed away. In it are brought forth lively flashes of heavenly desires, and in these fires rises the flame of divine love. Great are the excellences of prayer, great its privileges. The heavens open before it and unveil therein their secrets, and to it are the ears of God ever attentive.”
I don’t know about you, but I found both exhortations to prayer moving and beautiful. May God be praised for sharing His Divine wisdom with such Saints, who in turn share it with us, prayerfully groping along the hard and rocky path to salvation, while we watch others laughing at us and mocking us as they speed by on the wide road to perdition.
Spare some prayers for them, too. And may God keep us on the narrow way to salvation, rather than the superhighway to destruction. Pray for the grace of always making good, thorough confessions! Many souls are lost because they are too embarrassed to share some sin they keep hidden away in the recesses of their soul. The priests have heard everything! Don’t let embarrassment and shame – tricks of the devil – keep you from making a good, full, detailed confession, and implore God the grace also to have true contrition for your sins and the firmest purpose of amendment.
Two Powerful Prayers for the Family to St. Anne October 19, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, mortification, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
Well, one really just mentions the parents of the only sinless entirely human person to ever live – the Blessed Mother – but they are both very good and apropos in this time of constant assaults against, and undermining of, the family. More than that, so many individual families are under particular assaults from satan, his minions, and the democrats, but I repeat myself.
The second prayer in particular is of enormous benefit in this time when the world, the flesh, and the devil are having so much success at fooling children off the narrow path towards salvation and onto the wide, 400 lane highway to perdition. We lose so many kids out of the Church in these times, and gravest sin is, many of those are lost because of errors and sins they are taught are perfectly OK by authority figures in the Church. But I’ll demure from riding that hobby horse for now, and get to the prayers, which are from a small booklet on Good Saint Anne and are really short and easy to say:
Prayer for God’s Blessing on the Married
I bless Thee, most gracious Lord Jesus Christ, for having ordained that Thy holy Mother, the Virgin Mary, of whom Thou, O Redeemer of all men, didst will to assume flesh, should proceed from the chaste union of Joachim and Anne. By Thy goodness, I beseech Thee, through the merits of the holy parents Joachim and Anne, have mercy on <my spouse and I or all on> all who, in their memory, sanctify their life in the state of holy Matrimony. Give them peace and rest, health of body and soul; make them fruitful in good children, and after this exile, grant them eternal glory to Thy praise and honor, O sweetest and most gracious Savior. Amen.
Prayer for a Wayward Child
O Holy Mother, St. Anne, so rich in graces! Thou wilt never leave unheard the pleadings and tears of a mother <parent> who invokes thee for a wayward child. Thou knowest my grief and the anguish of my heart. Look down with thy maternal eyes upon this poor erring child, and bring him (her) back upon the way of salvation, that he (she) may again serve God faithfully and thus obtain eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Hail Mary (three times)
I know several of my regular readers are suffering with children or spouses who have gone off the reservation, so to speak, or seem to be about to do so. Of course, sometimes kids, no matter how well raised, no matter what parish/kind of Mass you attend, go crazy. I’ve seen it happen many times. But if they’ve been raised well, which I’m certain most all the kids raised by readers of this blog have, many will come back. It may take a while, but I’ve seen that happen many times, as well. The key thing is not to give up. Keep praying for them. Pray Novenas. Make a perpetual Novena to St. Anne using the prayer above or some other prayer. Of course, pray the Rosary as often and as devoutly as possible. Offer sacrifice and self-denial for your wayward child (or spouse, for that matter, there’s been a sudden flap of spouses going crazy and leaving the wife/husband and Church of late). Have Masses offered for their conversion. Just don’t give up! That doesn’t mean you have to give in and become indifferent to their sin. Don’t give up on their salvation, which is the only thing that really matters in this life. God often surprises us with sudden conversions from out of the blue.
And that’s it. I told you they were short and easy. Unfortunately for me, I’m out of time for the day. It’s been one of those days where finding even 5 minutes to hit the blog has been all but impossible. Till now, but I’ve got more things to do before I wrap them up.
Saint Justin Martyr was a cultured man of letters and one of the first great post-apostolic apologists for the Faith. He carried on a unique and extensive correspondence with the 15th Emperor of Rome, Titus Fulvus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, commonly known as Antoninus Pius, who reigned from AD 138-161. This correspondence is well known among those with more than a very limited knowledge of early Church history, and is one of numerous testimonies from the earliest Church Fathers that prove, without equivocation or the slightest doubt, that the Faith of the Catholic Church of Rome is the exact Faith that was practiced by the earliest Church. This is confirmed in numerous doctrinal beliefs, but one of the most important, and, concomitantly, easiest to confirm, is the total belief in the Real Presence of Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar held by the early Church. This is confirmed by numerous writings dating to the earliest part of the 2nd century (over 200 years before Constantine supposedly “corrupted the Church,” according to protestants) from St. Ignatius of Antioch and others on (adding to several FIRST century references a la Pope Saint Clement’s Epistles to Corinth, among others) to the best of the 2nd century, Justin Martyr.
You have to understand the context in which Saint Justin Martyr was writing. Christianity was still almost entirely a secret religion due to persecution. The Mass was not open to the public. As part of the persecution, and partly due to human nature when encountering anything new and different, wild, calumniating rumors flew regarding what went on during the Mass, which was known to feature a Sacrifice. Many of these wild rumors and innuendo’s were started by the earliest Church’s first enemies, the Jews. Jews claimed that Christians sacrificed babies and ate their bodies during the Mass, mixing up scattered bits of the Nativity and Easter narratives, or just being plain malicious. These rumors added further fuel to the already extant persecutions, making them much more severe.
At any rate, the educated, urbane Justin set out to set matters straight, and rather than mess around with middlemen, went straight to the top man himself. He used his connections to establish a correspondence with the Emperor Antoninus Pius. The critical part of the exchange, quoted by St. Alphonsus Liguori in the Victories of the Martyrs (but far more and better coverage is in either Jurgen’s The Faith of the Early Fathers Volume 1, or the The Anti-Nicene Fathers by Roberts and Donaldson but beware the anti-Catholic notes in this Anglican work):
Wherefore having explained the sacred ceremonies of baptism, he proceeds to speak of the Eucharist in the following terms: “He that presides in the assembly is presented with bread and a chalice of wine, mixed with water; whereupon, in the name of the Son and the Holy Ghost, he renders glory to the Father. And by these gifts doth he make thanksgiving, which all the faithful confirm by the word ‘Amen.’ The prayers, praises, and thanksgivings being terminated, the deacons take of the bread and the wine, mixed with water, over which all these holy prayers have been recited, and having distributed them among those present, they carry some to the absent also.
[Liguori here notes that these men would have been the equivalent of today’s full deacons, acting as delegates of the priest or, as he was then called, the presbyter. They were considered separate and “above” lay persons and had received consecration for the task of handling the Sacred Species. The circumstances of the Church under persecution made recourse to use of deacons (and, yes, sometimes lay people) commonly to distribute the Eucharist necessary, and are not an endorsement of lay handling of the Blessed Sacrament as per modern practice. By the late 4th century, doctrine had clearly evolved, as demonstrated in the Spanish Council of Elvira, against ANY lay handling of the Blessed Sacrament. This Doctrine came into place as soon as the period of vicious persecution ended] This food is by us called Eucharist; of which no one can partake who believeth not our doctrines, and who hath not been cleansed from sin in the laver of regeneration. This is not common food or drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior was, for our redemption, by virtue of the Divine Word, composed of flesh and blood; so we are aware that, by virtue of the prayer containing His Divine words, the food by which we are nourished is the Flesh and Blood of the Word Incarnate.” [This is really our Faith in a nutshell. From the Eucharist, everything else flows. That is why the protestants had to turn the Eucharist into a symbol, because with the Eucharist intact, all their changes to the moral law and claims of private interpretation would, in time, crumble upon themselves. And this is no outlier. From the early Fathers you can find confirmation of virtually any Catholic Doctrine you choose, almost always directly but occasionally by inference. Confession? Absolutely. Works vital for salvation? Certainly. Communion/”membership” in the Church necessary for salvation. Heck yes. A hierarchical Church with the pope at its head? You bet.]
Thus we see that the present doctrine of the Catholic Church is that which was believed and practiced in the apostolic times, in which our Saint flourished.
Unfortunately, Saint Justin failed to convince the obstinate infidel “Pius.” He also got his head lopped off for his trouble.
There you go. You get a double-dose of catechesis today. Perhaps this bit of knowledge might come in handy when dealing with protestant family and/or friends.
First Class Relics of Saints JPII and Faustina to Be Available for Veneration at Cathedral Oct 7 October 5, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, fun, General Catholic, Grace, Interior Life, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, the struggle for the Church, Virtue.
All the Masses below are of course Novus Ordo. There hasn’t been a TLM at the former Sacred Heart Cathedral, now Catedral Santuario de la Virgen de Guadalupe, since Bishop Gorman was the last really solid Bishop of Dallas in the 60s.
But, while some (many?) traditional Catholics continue to harbor reservations regarding the process of canonization for post-conciliar popes, and with the Divine Mercy devotion, there will still probably be significant interest in the availability of first class relics of Saints John Paul II and Faustina for veneration at the Cathedral this Friday October 7 2016. See details below, via the very generous MJD:
Masses at the Cathedral on Friday:
7:00 AM English
12 Noon English
7:00 PM Spanish
The first class relics of
SAINT JOHN PAUL II / SAINT FAUSTINA
will be at the Guadalupe Cathedral
(corner of Ross and Pearl St. – downtown Dallas)
on Friday, Oct. 7 2016 from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM
with the Divine Mercy Chaplet prayed every hour
and the Sacrament of Confession from 4:00 PM until 8:00 PM
Parking is available in the Cathedral parking garage. Bring your
ticket to the office on the 1st floor to receive another ticket
that will get you out of the garage without paying for parking!
call the Cathedral office for questions: 214-871-1362
I imagine there will be significant crowds at the busier times of day (early morning, lunch, after work). You might want to plan ahead. There is free parking also near the Dallas Theater Center and maybe at the Myerson?
The Glories of Saint Anne, Patroness of Christian Mothers October 4, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, reading, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
From a booklet on Saint Anne, mother of the Immaculate Conception, regarding the manifest benefits devotion to this Saint provides to Christian families generally and mothers specifically. Just in typing this, I was awestruck on being the mother of a being who could make such a declaration: “I am the Immaculate
Conception.” Have mercy. To the text:
Saint Anne is the great model of all in the married state and of those otherwise charged with the education of children. Great was her honor in being the mother of the Mother of God and in giving to a lost world the Advocate of Mercy. Sublime was her office in instructing this blessed child in virtue and holiness. Sublime was her office in instructing this blessed child in virtue and holiness.
St. Anne herself was a “vessel of grace,” not in name only, but in the possession of those gifts which God had endowed her to be the worthy mother of the Virgin Mary. Her motherly care for the Blessed Virgin was the means of St. Anne’s mortification. Because of this she receives and will receive a special glory in the Church to the end of ages.
How encouraging this is to all parents who make the holy education of their children their principle duty. By this they glorify their Creator, perpetuate His honor on earth and sanctify their own souls. From the hands of the parents God will one day require the souls of their children. Happy will those parents be who can say to the Divine Judge: “Not one of those whom Thou hast given me has been lost through my fault.”
Realizing, therefore, the great duty she has in rearing her children well, the Catholic mother will daily recommend her children to God and pray especially to St. Anne for the gift of imparting to them a good training, the highest and most difficult of all arts.
St. Anne obtains many graces, priceless graces, for all who venerate her, but she grants her maternal assistance in particular to Christian mothers who choose her for their patroness and model. Numberless examples prove that St. Anne obtains great favors for Christian mothers. She preserves peace in married life, restores harmony in discord and often wonderfully changes the bad disposition of a husband, wife, or child. She protects the birth of children in an extraordinary manner: bestows blessings that lighten the task of rearing children properly; brings wayward children back upon the right path; obtains restoration to health for the mother when sick; preserves her precious life for her family, for her helpless children; and prevents the loss of husband and father. She revealed to St. Bridget that she would protect all who live chastely and peacefully in the married state.
St. Anne is glorious among the Saints, not only because she is the mother of Mary, but also because she gave Mary to God. She did not hesitate to sacrifice this child, her greatest joy, to the call of God, dedicating her at the age of three to His service in the Temple. In this she is a beautiful example to parents to foster and encourage vocations to the religious life among their children, rather than running the dread risk of hindering them. Through the intercession of St. Anne, parents come to know and acknowledge divine guidance and learn that children are born to them not for earthly ends, but for God.
I think that pretty much says all that needs to be said. May God be praised for giving us such powerful intercessors in Saints such as Saint Anne, and my we always endeavor to emulate them in every respect through His Grace.
There is much more gold in this book. I hope to return to it another time or two, God willing.
Saint John Vianney on Finding Sanctity in our Daily Crosses September 22, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, reading, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
A couple of excerpts from The Sermons of the Cure of Ars, on how to practice sanctity on a daily basis, and finding joy in suffering. There was a time when at least observant Catholics would have no compunction at crossing themselves in public, or stopping what they were doing to pray when the Angelus bell was run. I can’t imagine how beautiful it would be to live in a place that is sufficiently Catholic and devoted, to have towns built within earshot of a church, and to have everyone stop and pray at the appropriate times. I don’t know if that was ever much the case in this country, being so spread out and with huge intermixed populations (maybe in the old Irish and Italian ghettos?), but it was in Europe and other places.
I think there is a lot of good in these excerpts. I have people ask me frequently how they can witness to the Faith. One simple way is to say grace in public before meals. Another is to go around always praying when not doing something that really preoccupies you. I have a Rosary in my hand much of the time in public.
Before beginning your work, my dear brethren, never fail to make the Sign of the Cross. Do not imitate those people without religion who dare not to do this because they are in company. Offer quite simply all your difficulties to God and renew from time to time this offering, for by that means you will have the happiness of drawing down the blessing of Heaven on yourself and on all you do. Just think, my dear brethren, how many acts of virtue you can practice by behaving in this way, without making any change in what you are actually doing. If you work with the object of pleasing God and obeying His Commandments, which order you to earn your bread by the sweat of your brow, that is an act of obedience. If you want to expiate your sins, you are making an act of penance. If you want to obtain some Grace for yourself or for others, it is an act of hope and of charity. [These last two sentences are such incredibly beautiful thoughts. Do not overlook the good that you do in you pious hopes and devout aspirations!] Oh, how we could merit Heaven every day, by dear brethren, by doing just our ordinary duties, but by doing them for God and the salvation of our souls! Who stops you, when you hear the chimes striking, from thinking on the shortness of time and of saying in your minds: “Time passes and death comes closer. I am hastening towards eternity. Am I really ready to appear before the tribunal of God? Am I not in a state of sin?”………
…….The Saints, my dear brethren, all loved the Cross and found in it their strength and their consolation.
But, you will say to me, is it necessary, then, always to have something to suffer?……….Now sickness or poverty, or again, scandal or calumny, or possibly the loss of money or an infirmity?
Have you been calumniated, dear friends? Have you been loaded with insults? Have you been wronged? So much the better! That is a good sign; do not worry; you are on the road that leads to Heaven. Do you know when you ought to be really upset? I do not know if you understand it, but it should be precisely for the opposite reason – when you have nothing to endure, when everyone esteems and respects you. Then you should feel envious of those who have the happiness of passing their lives in suffering, or contempt, or poverty. Are you forgetting, then, that at your Baptism you accepted the Cross, which you must never abandon until death, and that it is the key that you will use to open the door of Heaven? Are you forgetting the words of our Savior: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Not for a day, not for a week, not for a year, but all our lives. The Saints had a great fear of passing any time without suffering, for they looked upon it as time lost. According to St. Teresa, man is only in this world to suffer, and when he ceases to suffer, he should cease to live. St. John of the Cross asks God, with tears, to give him the grace to suffer more as a reward for all his labors.
What should we conclude, my dear children, from all that? Just this: Let us make a resolution to have a great respect for all the crosses, which are blessed, and which represent to us in a small way all that our God suffered for us. Let us recall that from the Cross flow all the graces that are bestowed upon us and that as a consequence, a cross which is blessed is a source of blessings, that we should often make the Sign of the Cross on ourselves and always with great respect, and, finally, that our houses should never remain without this symbol of salvation.
Fill your children, my dear brethren, with the greatest respect for the Cross, and always have a blessed cross on yourselves; it will protect you against the devil, from the vengeance of Heaven, and from all danger. This is what I desire for you.
The Catholic embrace of suffering has always been one of the aspects of the Faith that has most scandalized, even enraged, the world. Worldly people cannot comprehend what good there could be in joyfully willed suffering. As so much of Western society has become so rich, so addled with constant comfort, so used to having every whim satisfied at the flip of a switch, the notion of desiring suffering has gone from being alien and strange to perverse and offensive. Just the other day, I saw an evangelical protestant “Catholic outreach” site that used images of pious souls doing things like processing on their knees or wearing a cilice as a demonstration of the perversity of the Catholic Faith. After all, protestant divines have declared that faith alone is necessary for salvation, even if James ii:24 and Matthew xxv:31-46 totally contradict this.
Unfortunately, protestantism told the world exactly what it wanted to hear: salvation without works, Heaven without suffering! No wonder it has proven such a persistent heresy (in its always metastasizing forms).
But I’m wandering a bit from the purpose of the post. I pray you found it edifying.
Start Novena to St. Michael the Arcangel Today 09/20/16 September 20, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Novenas, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
I try to put out these reminders for you. The Novena starts today and finishes on the vigil of the feast.
For the love of God, Who made you so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels, be pleased to hear my prayer.
You know the value of my soul in the eyes of God. May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty. Help me to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me. I desire to imitate your loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and your great love for God and men. And since you are God’s messenger for the care of His people, I entrust to you this special request:
(Mention your request)
Saint Michael, since you are, by the Will of the Creator, the powerful intercessor of Christians, I have great confidence in your prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God’s holy will my petition will be granted.
Pray for me, Saint Michael, and also for those I love. Protect us in all dangers of body and soul. Help us in our daily needs.
Through your powerful intercession, may we live a holy life, die a happy death, and reach heaven where we may praise and love God with you forever.
In thanksgiving to God for the graces bestowed on St. Michael: one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be.
The faithful who recite devoutly some prayers in honor of St. Michael with the intention of continuing the said prayers for nine consecutive days may gain: an indulgence of 5 years once each day; a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, at the end of their novena.
Was Saint Athanasius a Model for the Society of Saint Pius X? September 15, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, different religion, episcopate, General Catholic, history, reading, Restoration, Saints, Spiritual Warfare, SSPX, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.
Several of the chief complaints against the Society of Saint Pius X is that they have been involved in the illicit (not papal-approved) consecration of bishops, that they “invade” other dioceses without permission of the ordinary, and refute beliefs held by the great majority of bishops and priests in the Church today, even to the point of being excommunicated for certain acts. These are frequently trotted out to “prove” the SSPX’s persistence in disobedience/error/schism/etc.
However, Michael Davies – certainly one who was very friendly towards the SSPX, and a frequent apologist for them – claims, citing Blessed John Henry Newman as his principle source, that there is a very strong precedent for exactly the types of behaviors that have earned the SSPX so much ire, from the Church’s Tradition, and that they involve the only crisis/mass heresy that comes close to emulating that in which we are currently embroiled, the Arian heresy. During this period, Saint Athanasius, among others, based on history reported by Blessed John Henry Newman (citing more ancient sources), routinely consecrated bishops and ordained priests while he was enduring his enforced exile, even doing so outside the normal realm of papal approval and against the wishes of the local bishops. He did this to preserve orthodox Catholicism when almost the entire Church went over to this most noxious heresy. He was not alone, either. Several other bishops, all Saints, also did so, as attested by Saint Basil and others, who apologized for these acts, and for the “illicit” country Masses offered by orthodox priests, because the faithful could not be expected to worship with heretics, and the heresy was so widespread that even the Roman Pontiff briefly fell into it, though under severe duress.
The similarities to the situation in the Church today are certainly marked, are they not?
Davies summarizes his argument below, from pp. 42-3 of his book Saint Athanasius: Defender of the Faith:
What the history of this period proves is that, during a time of general apostasy, Christians who remain true to their traditional faith may have to worship outside the official churches, the churches of priests in communion with their diocesan bishop, in order not to compromise that traditional faith; and that such Christians may have to look for truly Catholic teaching, leadership, and inspiration not to the bishops of their country as a body, not tot he bishops of the world, not even to the Roman Pontiff, but to one heroic confessor whom the other bishops and even the Roman Pontiff may have repudiated and even excommunicated. And who would they recognize that the solitary confessor was right, and the Roman Pontiff and the body of the episcopate (not teaching infallibly) were wrong?
The answer is that they would recognize in the teaching of this confessor what the faithful of the fourth century recognized in the teaching of Athanasius, the one true faith into which they had been baptized, in which they had been catechized, and which their confirmation gave them the obligation of upholding. In no sense whatsoever can such fidelity to Tradition be compared with the protestant practice of private judgment. The fourth century traditionalists upheld Athanasius in his defense of the faith that had been handed down; the protestant uses his private judgment to justify a breach with the traditional faith.
In The Development of Christian Doctrine, Newman refutes the opinion that interference by one bishop in the diocese of another necessarily constitutes schism. Faithful Catholics have a duty to divide themselves from schismatic or heretical bishops, and where division is a duty it is not a sin. An orthodox bishop does not sin by interfering in a diocese where the bishop is guilty of separation from the faith by heresy or even de facto schism. “If interference is a sin,” wrote the Cardinal, “division which is the cause of it is a greater; but where division is a duty, there can be no sin interference.”
[The key evidence……] St. Athanasius did not cause division when he entered the dioceses of Arian bishops. He was interfering in order to uphold tradition and sustain the faith of true Catholics as a legitimate response to the division caused by the schism of these bishops. The first loyalty of every bishop must be to the Church as a whole. During a period of schism and heresy, their duty to defend the integrity of tradition extends beyond any single diocese. Cardinal Newman illustrates this by pointing out that Saint Athanasius, St. Epiphanius of Salamis, and St. Eusebius of Samosata, all fierce opponents of Arianism, had ordained outside their dioceses, and in the case of St. Eusebius it is certain that he consecrated bishops. “St. Athanasius,” wrote Card. Newman, “driven from his Church, makes all Christendom his home, from Trier to Ethiopia.” This was an indubitably legitimate response to a state of emergency or necessity within the Church.
OK, at the end there, using some obviously “Lefebrvrist” language. But the book does demonstrate both that “illicit” Masses were held to escape Arian bishops and their errors, and that priests were ordained and bishops consecrated outside the normal line of authority in the Church.
On both sides of this issue of whether the SSPX acts/has acted rightly or wrongly, there are numerous supports. Whether the stack of evidence on one side or the other is slightly taller or shorter I really don’t know. From my experience, one’s tendency to accept evidence for or against the SSPX tends to align almost precisely with whatever pre-existing notions one has held on the subject. I have long occupied the muddled middle, neither fully embracing the SSPX nor holding any hostility towards it, while being thankful that it exists so that I, among many, can enjoy the benefits its existence has brought (like the return of the TLM in numerous dioceses, the existence of the FSSP and other groups, etc). I have to say, though, that this latest book has swayed me somewhat in a pro-SSPX direction.
I can also say that my own independent research has shown that there certainly was a reaction against Arian dominance in the 4th century and that several Saints report that a certain number of souls did stop going to their local parish and started worshiping out in the country, often in abysmal weather, under the tutelage of faithful priests in unofficial or impromptu Masses. That much at least did occur, and was at least somewhat widespread. I tend to believe that priests were ordained in an “unofficial” or “independent” manner, and probably a few bishops, too.
It is interesting to note that every time he had an opportunity (that is, the heretical emperors allowed him to do so), he would return to his diocese and to a “regular” position in the Church, while fervently maintaining his orthodox beliefs. When the persecution would start up again and he would be exiled, he would go back to doing what he was doing, keeping the Faith and spreading it to as many as possible.
Perhaps, in this last bit, there is some encouragement for those who fear the impact of a reconciliation between the SSPX and the Roman authorities.