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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.
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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.

Amazing Protestant Family Giving Witness Amidst Incredible Danger in Iraq June 20, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, Ecumenism, family, General Catholic, sanctity, Society, Virtue.
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There is a man named Dave Eubank, former Green Beret, devout protestant, husband, father, and – it must be said – extremely dedicated evangelist, who has developed a mission (in a quasi-military sense) over the past several years of serving others in need amidst some of the most violent conflicts in the world. After starting in the jungles of Burma, where a low-level civil war has been ongoing for decades, he transferred his efforts – still called the Free Burma Rangers – to Iraq.

I saw an article about this man, and his family, including three minor children, providing supplies and medical care to souls suffering during the endless fighting in Iraq (fighting that was, tragically, largely caused by the failed policy efforts of these United States).  There is certainly much to be said about the prudence of exposing children to such extremely dangerous situations.  Yes I am sure they are careful, but they are in an active warzone and irreplaceable loss mixed with unspeakable tragedy is just a wrong footstep away.

And these folks are not somewhere miles behind the lines.  All of them are routinely exposed to great danger, especially the husband and father, Mr. Eubank:

Note, the video title has it wrong, none of the men in the video are currently serving US armed forces.  They are all members of Eubank’s Free Burma Rangers organization.  They apparently get into the fighting as part of their efforts, at least as far as giving covering fire for rescue efforts.  Also, there were two children Eubanks attempted to rescue.  He recovered the 5-6 year old girl, but there was also a toddler boy being fired at by ISIS in Mosul he was unable to recover.

That is incredible dedication.  I don’t know about the prudence of a father a family depends on doing that as a mission of charity, but it certainly speaks to this man’s enormous courage and conviction.

And this wasn’t a one time deal.  In the video below, Mr. Eubank gets shot through the arm, and his (presumably) Kurdish escort gets hit far worse:

The video below gives a better idea for what the wife and kids are exposed to:

It’s funny to see the reporter just inundated with body armor – like she’s in EOD or something! – and Eubank just walks around with a shirt and pants.  But I digress…….

Now, this man is certainly brave, has enormous conviction, and appears to be doing quite a bit of good.  But is it right for him to expose his children to such extremes of danger by choice?  There are certainly many ways of giving witness and serving others that don’t entail such grave risk of injury or loss of life.  And one could easily say that the children – even if they seem on board with dad’s very adventurous work – don’t really have a choice in the matter.  Kids might find it very hard to express their real feelings about being drug into this very violent and messy war.

Still, I find much to admire in this man and his family.  Now he’s a former Green Beret and probably well-versed in the situations in which he places himself and his family, but there it takes enormous guts and faith to do what he’s doing.  He states he has faith that God will protect him and his family in their work, and if it is their time it is their time.  One may argue with the morality and prudence of doing that, but I think he’s honest in being motivated by faith.  I do wonder if such extremes of effort, such great demonstrations of charity, make any impact on the hardened muslim mind?  Eubank did make converts in Burma, several of the medics serving with him in Iraq are Burmese.

Unfortunately he is protestant and thus holds a number of errors.  But would I have the faith and courage – even without wife and kids – to do what he’s done and plans to continue doing?  Probably not.  But does he even have a valid call from God to do this? Being protestant, that’s especially problematic (as St. Ignatius makes clear – more on that later, I pray).

That he is doing good is I think undeniable.  I am really amazed by this man’s willingness to help others.  See this rescue of a girl trapped under rubble for three days in ISIS-held territory:

So what do you think?  Is this zeal gone astray, or is this putting John xv:13 into concrete action in about the most literal way possible?  If he were Catholic would you think any differently of his work?

 

Multi-Part Tour through the Spanish Missions of San Antone: Part II, Mission June 14, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Christendom, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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The first part covered Mission Concepion, this post covers Mission San Francisco de la Espada.

I again will give some coverage of the general and liturgical history of the mission, while sharing a number of photographs I took.  Mission Espada – and in particular the chapel – fell into more complete ruins than just about any of the missions.  Mission San Jose experienced a horrific roof/wall collapse in the 1890s during Mass – no death toll was reported, but it gives an idea of the decrepitude into which these structures were allowed to slide.  When locals finally took notice of the significance of these decayed treasures, protestants played a significant role in funding and restoring all the missions.  Strangely enough.

The main facade of the chapel is really about all that is original to the structure.  Most of the rest of the building was replaced in the 20th century.  You can see at the top the local bricks which were made by natives and were used in the construction of this mission.  These are supposed to be some of the first masonry bricks made in Texas.

The door is an interesting shape and attracts a good amount of intention.  It is shaped almost like a keyhole.  I do not think the doors are original.  They are heavily weathered but being cedar I would guess they are somewhere on the order of 80-100 years old.  Again, most of the original doors, furnishings, statues, and even stone structure of the original missions was removed by locals – primarily the descendants of the natives who originally occupied the missions – for their own private use from the 1790s onwards as the missions were forcibly secularized by the Spanish government and the mission communities rapidly fell apart thereafter.

The bells are still functional, and these are the pulls they use to ring them at the start of Mass to this day.  I did not get a clear answer on whether the bells are original or not, but it was great to see a parish that still has real bells and uses them – though not for calling the Angelus, unfortunately.

Another shot showing the interior of the door and the pull cords for the bells.  The stucco interior is a 20th century replacement.

As I said, these chapels are still in regular use.  I had to go to Mission Espada and Mission San Juan twice, in the first case because a Confirmation? was going on, and the second because Mission San Juan is really only on Sundays for Mass and occasionally for special events.

But I’m a trooper, and went back the next day, Sunday, to visit the chapels when I knew they would be open but empty. You can get a sense for the small size of the chapels, this one, I would estimate, is about 3/4 the size of the local Carmelite chapel. Some Dallasites will know how small that is.

Mission Espada has been as thoroughly wreckovated as any of the missions.  While it is gratifying to see a tabernacle in all of them, altar rails and high altars were all removed at some point.

These statues are wonderful, and if not original to the mission they are close period pieces or excellent replicas.  I’m quite certain the statue of our suffering Savior is of Spanish Colonial origin, but I’ll get to that later.

Some kind of structure remains where the proper pre-conciliar altar would have been.  I saw these in two of the missions, a large stone or concrete block.  I am imagining it formed the basic structure of the original altars before they were removed.

Mission Espada contains no trace that I could detect of the original altar or altar rails, which is sad, since at least replicas of the originals or some kind of pre-conciliar replacement would have been in place during the general restoration of the 1920s-30s.

Beautiful statue of Our Lady.  I do love the polychrome.  I don’t what vintage the crucifix is, but it was also very pretty though shunted off to the side and largely blocked by flowers.

Sorry the lighting is so poor on this, even with flash the image was shrouded in shadows. This is a magnificent colonial era crucifix, or a great replica.  The hair would be real human hair, as was the custom min the Spanish colonies.  Polychromed, and possibly carved by local natives, whether they were original natives to these missions or not.  There was no one around to answer any questions about Mission Espada or any of the remaining art.

This is a glorious statue and so evocative of both the period and Spanish liturgical style generally.  The joints are bunched up because the arms can be repositioned for various poses, though I doubt anyone has dared to do that with this statue in many years.  Amazing that such craftsmanship could be achieved with nothing but hand tools.  I imagine all the interior mechanisms are wood.  I have no idea what condition they are in, or whether they have various fabrics with which to dress Our Savior for different festivals or liturgical periods.  I tend to think not.

I also don’t know how old these pews are – they look quite old and worn – but was again amazed by their quality given that they are probably at least a century or so old, and could be quite older.  Again, nothing but hand tools like chisels and awls made such sturdy, long-lasting pews.  Very impressive to an amateur woodworker like me.

Ceiling.  I just love how that aged cedar looks.

St. Francis.

Out of time, I’ll try to post more tomorrow.  And I plan on covering my favorite, the most traditional, liturgically, Mission San Juan Capistrano.

One thing that strikes me is that absolutely NONE of this would exist if the Church had the same attitude towards evangelization then that it has today.  The Church has truly been betrayed by her own, she is almost unrecognizable from her historical self.

Start Sacred Heart Novena today! June 14, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Multi-Part Tour through the Spanish Missions of San Antone June 8, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Christendom, General Catholic, history, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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So this past weekend, after probably close to 100 lifetime visits to the San Antonio area, I finally went and visited the four Spanish Mission parishes that are still extant in the southern part of town.  Yes there is technically a fifth, San Antonio de Valero aka The Alamo, but that site has nothing of a religious character left to it and is always annoyingly crowded.

I took a lot of pictures, and want to give some assessment both of the history of each mission – especially it’s liturgical history and changes since the Council – and its current state, so I will cover one mission each in a post on a different day.  First up, the first we went to Mission Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña, aka Mission Concepcion.  I’ll sort of scroll through with some pics and provide a rolling commentary:

Mission Concepcion was begun in San Antonio in 1731.  The actual mission building you see above was started in 1740 and completed in 1755.  Of all the San Antonio missions, Mission Concepcion is by far the most architecturally intact, having been built on bedrock, in never experienced near total collapse as several other of the missions did during the period of their abandonment and neglect from circa late 1790s to 1880s.  What you see above is largely how it would have appeared in its heyday, except for the missing white plaster/stucco and some architectural ornaments which have been lost.

The nicho above is empty, but probably held a statue at one time. Unfortunately during the long years of neglect many features of the buildings were damaged, destroyed, or stolen, including entire sets of 18 foot solid cedar doors.

Inscriptions above the main doors.  Details like this from the other missions have been loss due to the disrepair into which they fell.  But here the inscription is still largely legible though it fails to make sense to me.  Perhaps some parts are missing?

It is known that the interiors and exteriors of all the missions were covered with extensive painted frescoes done by local Indian artisans.  These details were lost on other missions due to their decay, but remain at least a little intact at Mission Concepcion.  All of these are interior frescoes, any exterior painting was lost long ago along with the stucco:

“Brother sun?”  Also perhaps a representation of the Holy Spirit.

Vandalism and lack of care caused the vast majority of the frescoes to be lost.  I was shocked how many statues had their heads shot off by bonehead Texans, Mexicans, or Tejanos back in the day.

The above is a small side chapel.

Main part of the church.  The walls have been repainted.  The sanctuary has been extensively remodeled/wreckovated.  As you will see in later posts, sometimes the high altars were permitted to remain, sometimes portions of them were removed to side chapels, and sometimes they were entirely ripped out.  The huge stone (concrete?) base of the original high altar here remains but little else.  A new table altar fronts the altar of the Immemorial Mass which was offered in these sacred buildings for decades.  At least some altar rail remains though I doubt it is ever used.

That’s definitely 18th-century era Spanish or New World Latin American painting, or a good replica.  I suspect it is genuine, but almost certainly not original to any of the missions, as most such movable art was lost years ago.

It is good to see tabernacles in all the main chapels, which held the Blessed Sacrament.  All the missions are still active parishes.

Looking back to choir loft, which is no longer used.  It is occupied with AC ducts.

Over 250 year old hand-painted Indian art.  Quite good.

Don’t know for certain, but I suspect this may be the Mission’s original altar crucifix, or a near-period piece.  It is definitely Spanish Colonial and I love the polychrome.  Is polychrome even done anymore?  It gives such a wonderful, durable finish!

Period statue.  Our Lady, but bare-headed?  I originally thought an angel, but there are angels under her feet.  I guess it’s Our Lady.

Excellent and I am quite certain original period painting of St. Francis.  Probably mid-18th century. Heavily stained with candle smoke/incense.  I love it.

Ancient baptistry.  It has drain holes, not sure how they recovered the holy water?

You can see the extreme effects 250+ years of South Texas heat, humidity, and pollution has had on the exterior.  Some portions have had to be buttressed with concrete, but most of the structure is original, unlike the other missions, which are mostly reproductions added back since the 1930s.

I don’t think either the chest/stand or tabernacle are period pieces.  This one was empty.

It is amazing to consider that all of this was built with Indian labor using nothing but simple hand tools, fulcrums, block and tackle, etc,. and that it has survived as well as it has.  The period of neglect was almost total, most of the missions were completely abandoned with Masses only held irregularly, if ever, no permanently assigned staff, no money, no maintenance, and general abandonment for extensive periods of time.  That they exist at all is an amazing testament to the Spanish design and native craftsmanship.  Though she has long been besmirched and derided in the Anglosphere, Catholic Spain continues to give, and generously, to the entire world and especially the Western Hemisphere.

And that is all.  More detail on the other missions.

There were varying levels of crowds at all the missions, with the “main mission” of Mission San Jose being the most consistently crowded.  There are not very many folks at the least modified, liturgically speaking – Mission San Juan Capistrano, my personal favorite.  We’ll hit that one next.  God willing.

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.
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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.
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The world may seem to be falling down around us, but our duty is to practice virtue and work towards the attainment of the greatest sanctity possible regardless.  From The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, Saint Alphonsus’ 16 means to the attainment of sanctity.

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

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

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

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

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

———-End Quote———–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———–End Quote———-

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

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

Be Devoted to the Immaculate Heart May 26, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “Other” Miracle at Fatima after the Sun Danced May 24, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, Our Lady, Saints, sanctity, thanksgiving, Tradition.
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Reader TE sent this to me this past week, it’s not a huge miracle but it’s an interesting follow-up to what was the most widely seen miracle in the history of the Church – at least since Pentecost or when our Blessed Lord walked this earth:

Several years ago Carl Malburg had the privilege of speaking with a woman who was present in Fatima at the Miracle of the Sun. But what she really wanted to tell him about was the second miracle she witnessed there at Fatima shortly after she and everyone saw the sun dancing in the sky, hurling toward earth, then returning to its place in the heavens.

…….While following the usual pattern of going to a diocese then traveling through parishes, hospitals, and nursing homes with that Pilgrim Virgin statue, Malburg happened to be in San Diego in 1997. There, a woman told him her mother was in Fatima and saw the miracle.  [So this was a little more than several years go.  It was more like 20.]

Malburg picks up the story. “The woman said my mother has always wished to be interviewed because she’s always wanted to tell the story. She is still living, 92 years old now. She insists Our Lady is keeping her mind sharp until someone interviews her.” 

The custodian told this daughter he didn’t know Portuguese but would get someone he knew to translate. He chuckled at this point because the woman answered him, “My mother’s lived in America since 1942. She lost all her Portuguese years ago.”

Since this was the first-ever person at the Miracle of the Sun that Malburg encountered, he asked John Haffert to go with him to talk to her. But Haffert told him to go by himself.

“I found out why she thought why she should be interviewed,” he well remembers from when he got there. “She said she was 12, and that she and the other girls — four of them — walked all the way up from the coast to Fatima.”

Malburg continued with the story as the elderly woman told it. “We were children, and we pushed our way through the crowd. We came really close to the center where the apparitions would be there, and we climbed on some rocks and blocked the view of people behind. We could look down and see [everything]. The three children [Lucia, Jacinta, Francisco] would never have gotten there unless carried on the shoulders of some big men who pushed their way through the crowds.”

Malburg didn’t go into detail about what the woman, whose name has disappeared in the annals of time and travels, said about the sun, but that “she wanted to tell me something else. She moved on because there was another miracle not in the books,” he says. [So a woman reveals a heretofore unknown, and quite significant, set of details regarding the unprecedented apparitions and miracles at Fatima, and you don’t bother to get a name?!?  Dude.]

She told him, “A lot of people picked the twigs and leaves of the bushes to take” because they smelled so good, so aromatic. Those went quickly. “But we picked up some pebbles around the bush [by where Our Lady appeared] because they would smell good too.” Malburg was amazed that here it was 80 years later and she told him she had those pebbles in her furniture draw, making her clothes smell fresh even then.

The woman continued her miracle story. “People put their rosaries on the ground. They knew what way the Blessed Mother would face, and they put their rosaries out there in front of the place. [The pile of] rosaries were shaped like a cross. [After the apparition] There were so many that when everybody went to get their rosaries, they were all tangled up. And they were trying to find the right rosary.

“The men had the three children up on their shoulders again,” she said. Malburg adds, “Otherwise they would be buffeted and smothered — I knew that for a fact.” The woman told him about the girl’s new dresses and people pulling pieces of the lace around them. Malburg also knew about that.

“It was all adding up except the rosaries,” he says. “Then she said, One of the children saw the people had the rosaries all tangled. Then the children slid down from the shoulders, took a handful of [the tangled] rosaries and just passed them out. None were tangled! And everybody got the right rosary! We watched that happen!” she told Malburg, still in amazement.

The woman had waited to tell someone who someday in her lifetime was going to interview her that story about what she and her friends witnessed with the pile of tangled rosaries miraculously untangled, and each one immediately given to the right owner without the seer knowing who in that crowd owned which one.

“My wife and I got goosebumps listening to that,” Malburg recalls.

He immediately asked Haffert, “Are you aware people laid their rosaries in the mud hoping to get a blessing on them?” No one ever told him that, he answered.

“This lady told me a lot of rosaries were laid around the bush,” Malburg repeated, and she said “rosaries were all tangled up. She insisted they [she and her friends] were standing on the rocks, and saw the children pick the rosaries up and hand them out blindly, and everyone got their right rosary.”

Haffert answered him, “Why would you doubt it?”

About 10 years later Malburg came across a magazine article in Portugal that verified this miracle. “This truly was one of the highlights,” he says of the story of the second, little-known miracle at Fatima right after the sun danced in the sky. 

As I said, not exactly a huge miracle, but interesting.  Have you ever heard of this before?