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Monday, 27 April 2015

Friendship in the Lord, Two or Three!

I have many friends and several great friends. The one thing my closest friends and I have in common is friendship in the Lord. This phrase indicates that we put God first, always, in our lives, and family, friends, work, play, seconds.

Perhaps the greatest virtue, besides the love of God and love of His Church, which I share with these few close friends, is detachment. We are not dependent upon each other in a worldly manner. In fact, when we speak together, we talk of the things of God, not the things of men. Our conversations center around the spiritual life, prayer, miracles, saints, intercessions, and Scripture.

My sister-friends love God and love His Church. My closest brother-friends love God and love His Church. These friends also, of course, love Mary, Our Mother. Ties may been made on other principles, such as sharing activities when our children were young, or Church activities, but those ties quickly changed into something deeper and more lasting-love of Christ, the Bridegroom.

I am blessed in my friends, whom I rarely see. Without the cell phones or Internet, we would be even farther apart. But, with some of my friends, we can not talk to each other for months and still pick up as if distance and time did not matter. Such is real friendship in the Lord, which transcends time and space.

When we get to heaven, God willing, our primary relationship with each other will be brothers and sisters in Christ. How sad that too many Catholics do not know what this means. I know Catholics who do not know how to be a brother or a sister, perhaps never having Christian relationships in the home, or, worse, only relating from a sexual foundation. This twisting of friendship cannot be tolerated in those who desire friendship in the Lord. No manipulation or unsaid desires can impinge on true friendship, which must be free of compulsion or constraints, either psychological, emotional, physical or spiritual.

In times past, especially in American who experienced immigration and prairie life, distance and time destroyed family ties, almost forcing the small communities to rely on the local churches. And, indeed, in the Midwest, where I am now for a short period of time, until I cross the Mississippi, people congregated around the pastor, either Catholic or Lutheran or Methodist, in this area, an formed communities based on friendship in the Lord.

These types of communities have faded in modern times. Except for a few parishes where I have experienced real community, such as in Alberta with the Byzantine Catholics, or in Alaska, with Catholics dedicated to real Catholic education, or in Mississippi, after Katrina, when all were working for a common cause, I have not encountered true community life since I left a highly organized one in 1979. That community taught me what friendship in the Lord was really about....freedom.

Freedom in friendship must be a topic rarely raised. Commitment demands that a person has incorporated some freedom in their personal lives. I am convinced that only in relationships of marriage or in a community of religious, such as a monastery or convent can people become mature enough for real friendship in the Lord.

There are so few really, truly unselfish people. Most of us have some level of self-love which needs to be destroyed before one can experience the freedom necessary for friendship in the Lord. It is not that we have to be perfect in order to enter into real friendship, but a certain amount of distance and detachment is necessary. Without some emotional distance, one falls into the same patterns of falsity one did before conversion, or in dysfunctional families.

Friendship in the Lord happens when one decides to follow Christ and take the life of virtues seriously. As one gets closer to Christ, one is able to love in a righteous manner. Dying to self creates real friendships. Only when one is through the purification of the emotions and the senses can one truly be a friend.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

The World Within

Romans 12:2New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Psalm 66: 16-19
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
    and I will tell what he has done for me.
17 I cried aloud to him,
    and he was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
    the Lord would not have listened.

19 But truly God has listened;
    he has given heed to the words of my prayer.

The second passage, from the Office of Readings today, and the first passage from Romans, remind us of the key message of the Bible, metanoia, repentance, change. When I see the number of people in the world who have not begun to repent or to change, as a change of heart must precede a change of action, usually, I realize that the work of the Catholic lay person in the world demands complete understanding, followed by action, on the steps of the above messages from God.
St. Paul gives us a simple step-by-step pattern for sainthood. And, yes, remember we are all called to be saints, here, now. The steps seem clear and have been repeated throughout the lives of the saints.
First, a decision not to conform to the world. Sometimes, as in the life of St. Benedict, this means removing one's self from the world and beginning anew with a fresh vision. Sometimes, as in the life of St. Ignatius Loyola, this means that God intervenes and places one in a position where one must change-a severely wounded mercenary soldier forced into reading the lives of the saints accepted God's grace for the moment of conversion. Or, as in the life of St. Bernard, this means that from little on, one is trained by excellent parents, saints themselves, to not be like others in the world, even the great world of wealth, status, nobility. Happy and blessed are those who grow up in Godly houses, with parents forming the spiritual life of the children. 
But, this lack of conformity to the world seems hard for the modern lay person, especially one who has been raised to love the world, the here and now, and not think of eternity daily. To break out of conformity to the world demands exertion and determination. Both physical, mental, and spiritual energies, aided by grace, pull one away from the inertia of conforming to the world, into a new regime of prayer, fasting, mortification, the willing acceptance of suffering. God does not demand what is impossible. If one thinks or, (horrors), feels this task of nonconformity seems too difficult, one is looking towards one's own self, instead of looking towards God. Sometimes, all one can do is concentrate on the Cross of Christ, which the world finds abhorrent. Those of us who chose the Crucified One will be, also, found abhorrent to the world, as the world sees this lack of conformity as threatening to its existence, and it is.
Bad habits, states St. Thomas Aquinas, takes months to break, and good habits take months to practice. But, nothing is impossible with grace.
The exterior life may seem easy to change for some, especially when one changes companions who have led one into daily sin,  Such companions could even be members of one's own family. But, for some, this exterior change seems impossible and sometimes, one does not even realize the depth of sin in daily actions because one has chosen sin over and over to the point of having many evil habits which lead to sin. To break these patterns takes heroic effort and heroic virtue in the lives of some lay people
However, the second step must be taken with the first, a complete renewal of the mind, putting on the Mind of Christ, thinking like a Catholic, (a great theme on this blog), and conforming no longer to the world, but to the Gospel. The interior change usually follows the exterior disciplines. But, interior change, the real conversion, can be an enlightenment, a sudden illumination of grace in the mind, imagination and then, will. For some, this second step of creating a new way of thinking demands a hard slog. For others, a moment of grace fills the mind freeing the person to pursue God's Will. One see this in the lives of such saints as Mary Magdalene or as in the life of Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne, a moment of illumination came first, changing the mind, and then the great change of life followed. Ratisbonne, in Church of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte in Rome, in January of 1842, had a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary which led to his conversion to Catholicism, his ordination as a Jesuit priest, and his founding of the order, the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, an order designed to convert our Jewish brothers and sisters. Illumination may follow a moment of conversion, but for many, this illumination comes gradually, over months, even years.
The third step we see in the life of St. Paul. After his dramatic conversion, he went into the desert for ten years before beginning his ministry of converting the Gentiles. Ten years in the mind of modern lay people seems a long time of preparation for evangelizing, but Paul allowed God to renew his mind before beginning his mission to the world.
This step is missed by too many Catholics, who jump into "ministries", (a word we have been asked by the Pope Emeritus not to use with regard to lay work, even in the Church). and neglect the needed inner purification of the mind and imagination, as well as the outer purification of the senses, those choices which made one wordly. Most Catholics would not see the value of a ten-year desert experience, and think they are expected to jump in and "do"something for the Church. There is a reason why the Jesuits, for example, take ten years to become priests, and, perhaps, St. Ignatius decided to imitate the desert experience of St. Paul in his organization of the formation of the exterior and interior life. It is interesting to me that all Jesuits must learn Spanish, in order to study the works of St. Ignatius. Many learn yet another language in order to do missionary work across the world. St. Paul, as a Jew with Roman citizenship, knew Hebrew, street Greek, Latin, and most likely, classical Greek. In order to preach in Macedonia, he must have learned other languages as well. Latin was the common language of the time, but St. Paul's journeys indicate a wide knowledge of customs as well as languages.
St, Paul took ten years to become holy enough to take the next step, which is following the Will of God, which one cannot necessarily discern after an initial conversion. Too many people rush into various vocations only to realize later that they were called to something else. Discernment comes with prayer, fasting, mortification.
The last step involves the giving up of one's will to God. I shall end this meditation with a long quotation from St. Thomas Aquinas, on the giving up of one's will, as a action necessary to find perfection. Each one of us must choose to be hidden in Christ, to feed the spiritual life of the world within. This process may take years, as it has done with me, as I was busy about many things and did not "get serious" about my spiritual life until my bout with cancer. When one faces possible death, one's energies become focused.

Readers, other Catholics will want you to conform to their Catholicity, whereas God is calling many to be signs of contradiction in the world. a call for all Catholics, but only a few, it seems, respond.

In this day of idolatry of work, success, the accumulation of things, such a radical call to be Christ in the world threatens even Catholics. As lay people, we may be called to give up what is naturally and rightly part of the lay life. To give up these rights may be necessary for the salvation of some souls. Sadly, too many American Catholics have conformed their minds to the Declaration of Independence, demanding rights and a lifestyle of pursuing "happiness" on earth, one of the greatest heresies of the 1776 document. As Catholics, one must think of older documents, older teachings, those of Christ Himself, in order to be freed from this pursuit of happiness on earth, which is definitely not the call of the Christian. Joyfulness is not happiness. Those material pursuits confuse the building of the City of Man with the building of the City of God.

In Psalm 65 above, one sees David noting that renewal of the heart, mind and soul results in God hearing our prayers. If one's prayers are not being answered, one reason might be that one is "cherishing" a hidden sin.

Here is St. Thomas on perfection from this book online:

It is not only necessary for the perfection of charity that a man should sacrifice his exterior possessions: he must also, in a certain sense, relinquish himself. Dionysius, in De Divinis Nominibus IV, says that, “divine love causes a man to be out of himself, meaning thereby, that this love suffers him no longer to belong to himself but to Him whom he loves.”St. Paul, writing to the Galatians, illustrates this state by his own example, saying, “I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20), as if he did not count his life as his own, but as belonging to Christ, and as if he spurned all that he possessed, in order to cleave to Him. He further shows that this state reaches perfection in certain souls; for he says to the Colossians, “For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). Again, he exhorts others to the same sublimity of love, in his second Epistle to the Corinthians, “And Christ died for all, that they also who live, may not now live to themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor 5:15). Therefore, when our Lord had said, “If any man comes to me, and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters,” He added something greater than all these, saying, “yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). He teaches the same thing in the Gospel of St. Matthew when He says, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mat 16:24).
This practice of salutary self-abnegation, and charitable self-hatred, is, in part, necessary for all men in order to salvation, and is, partly, a point of perfection. As we have already seen from the words of Dionysius quoted above, it is in the nature of divine love that he who loves should belong, not to himself, but, to the one beloved. It is necessary, therefore, that self-abnegation and self-hatred be proportionate to the degree of divine love existing in an individual soul. It is essential to salvation that a man should love God to such a degree, as to make Him his end, and to do nothing which he believes to be opposed to the Divine love. Consequently, self-hatred and self-denial are necessary for salvation. Hence St. Gregory says, in his Homily, “We relinquish and deny ourselves when we avoid what we were wont (through the old man dwelling in us) to be, and when we strive after that to which (by the new man) we are called.” In another homily he likewise says, “We hate our own life when we do not condescend to carnal desires, but resist the appetites and pleasures of the flesh.”
But in order to attain perfection, we must further, for the love of God, sacrifice what we might lawfully use, in order, thus to be more free to devote ourselves to Him. It follows, therefore, that self-hatred, and self-denial, pertain to perfection. We see that our Lord speaks of them as if they belonged to it. For, just as in the Gospel of St. Matthew he says, “If you would be perfect, go, sell all that you have and give to the poor,” (Mat 19:21) but does not lay any necessity on us to do so, leaving it to our own will, so He likewise says, “if any man would come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24). St. Chrysostom thus explains these words, “Christ does not make his saying compulsory; He does not say, ‘whether you like it or not, you must bear these things.’” In the same manner, when He says: “If any man will come after Me and hate not his father” etc. (Luke 14:28), He immediately asks, “Which of you having a mind to build a tower, does not first sit down, and reckon the charges that are necessary, whether) he have enough to finish it?” St. Gregory in his Homily thus expounds these words, “The precepts which Christ gives are sublime, and, therefore, the comparison between them and the building of a high tower shortly follows them.” And he says again, “That young man could not have had enough to finish his tower who, when he heard the counsel to leave all things, went away sad.” We may hence understand, that these words of our Lord refer, in a certain manner, to a counsel of perfection.


Luke 14:2626 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.

Wondering what to write about in my new life as an essayist, rather than a journalist, I decided to begin with an extremely difficult subject for lay people-detachment.

If poverty and being alone with God has taught me anything basic, it has been the virtue of detachment. Detachment must be one of the most misunderstood of all the virtues offered to us by God for the salvation of our souls.

In the history of the saints, detachment runs like a constant theme, from Christ Himself down to the latest canonized saints, such as St. Joseph Vaz, who left his Sri Lankan family to become a missionary and Oratorian priest.

But, what does detachment really mean, besides leaving all to follow Christ, leaving one's family, one's talents, one's prospects in life?  And why is it that so many Catholics struggle with their spiritual life, not looking at the tangles of problems which are caused by a lack of detachment?

I first maintain that one reason why Catholics do not understand or even desire detachment is that they are too influenced by the Protestant ideals of married life over celibacy. Once celibacy is no longer valued in a family or society, the logical result is a lack of celibates. Celibacy demands detachment from family and close friendships.

Many Catholic see this idea as perverse, cruel and even un-Christian, when the opposite is true; that one cannot become a mature Christian without detachment.

The Desert Fathers and the great Doctors of the Church, are quoted by Father Alphonsus Rodriguez at length on the subject of detachment from family and family affairs. In fact, Rodriguez writes that vocations are lost when families demand too much time and attention from those men who are studying for the priesthood. Discipline and detachment must be characteristics of the parents, as well as the adult child who has chosen a vocation to be a priest, brother, nun, or sister.

The tenth commandment condemns the sin of covetousness, and most Catholics think this sin has only to do with avarice, with money, or with lust. However, one may covet one's family ties to the point of putting family before God. I have labelled this in the past as "family idolatry".

In my life, I have seen the great evils of family idolatry, leading to manipulation, a lack of freedom of choice, even spiritual and psychological incest, if not actual physical incest--a hidden sin among Christians of all denominations. I have come to realize that the inordinate number of Peter Pans and Peter Pams may be directly related to possessive parents, parents who do not want their children to become adults, and, therefore, healthy, independent adults.

Coveting not only leads to avarice and envy, but the too common dependency on people for emotional comfort, which some Catholics seem to think it friendship.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to poverty of spirit as the opposite of covetousness. Poverty of spirit demands an objectivity, demands boundaries between friends, even spouses. In our American and Western society, we see an epidemic of false friendship and false love based on a deep drive of self-love, or narcissism, instead of the true dying to self in real relationships. Many people are caught up in not only unhealthy relationships of co-dependency, but unnatural relationships, such as lesbianism or homosexuality, which involve a lack of physical, as well as spiritual boundaries.

We now have two generations, if not three, of children who have been bought love, bribed to love, and not taught to serve in the selfless manner of not expecting anything in return. I recall a man in my parents' life, a friend of theirs, who was always available to help something who had real needs. He was unusual in that his help was completely free of expectations. He honestly did things out of pure charity, with not the slightest desire to be paid back either monetarily or emotionally. His type has almost disappeared from our culture of "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" expectations.

Some of us have a gut reaction when we meet someone who has so many unspoken needs that they cannot love freely. Sometimes we call these people "intense". Sometimes we call them "clingy". Our culture has created new dependencies which past generations never imagined. Emotional bondage seems to come with a lack of relationship with God, Who alone can give the love necessary for life.

God demands that we discipline our emotions and put Him first in all things, in all relationships, that we each learn to love freely both God and our neighbors.

But, God calls us Catholics to take a step further. Father Rodriguez notes that once the young man has entered religious life, such as joining the Jesuits, he no longer can be involved in any of the affairs of his family. In other words, as a man totally dedicated to God and God's Church, he is "dead" to his family. God has taught me this lesson the hard way, by letting the work of my hands fail and putting me into extreme circumstances which have forced me to be apart from those I love the most. The reason for this discipline has been to wean me from the strongest loves I have had in my heart, mind, and soul and place in my heart, mind, and soul only the greatest desire to love Him. I honestly can say that I desire little and want to be completely without desire except for God alone.

This is the way of the ascetic. The ascetic flees family and the world not to avoid conflict, or responsibility, but to be alone with God. This desire for oneness with God usually means giving up position, as in status, money, companionship, even natural and good loves. This desire for God does mean giving up wanting to be the one to convert the members of the family who have fallen away, or to be the one who brings fame and fortune to the family. One must die to all desires, desiring only death of self for the sake of finding the love of God in one's own self. He is there, waiting to be found, but so many desires block one's ability to find the God within.

The more one becomes detached, the more experiences true discernment, insight, counsel, (a gift for others), true love, and compassion, being able to suffer with others. Most importantly, detachment brings clarity as to what is love and what is not love. One begins to see one's sins of self-love, desire purification, and want only the suffering which brings one into sharing the life of Christ. Even venial sins reveal a lack of real love and the desire to avoid suffering. Love involves suffering, the dying of self hurts.

Nothing else matters but God. Those who are detached can love in a new way, with the eyes of Christ, suffering with others, but with an objectivity and freedom. To love freely, one must ask God for two graces: one must beg God to love Him, asking for real love. And, one must be humble enough to recognize that without grace, one cannot love anyone, one's self, or God.

Humility is the root and detachment is the stem which flowers into true celibate, Christian love. We must all become celibates in this way-that is, loving with detachment. Celibacy is the natural result of discipleship.

So, why do not Catholics desire this love? One answer-the lack of trust in God. Without a strong reliance on Divine Providence, how can one leave mother, father, brothers, sisters? Christ does not speak poetry in the above pericope, but a basic truth that natural love must be replaced by supernatural love.

But, the call is even more radical. No one can pretend to be a disciple of Christ without this detachment. If one manipulates another to gain love, or tries to buy love, or puts family first before God, one will never become a true disciple of Christ. And, that is what all baptized Catholics are called to be.

Freedom to follow Christ remains within the grasp of all Catholics-all. Freedom to love as Christ loves, without expectation, with the loving and true acceptance of suffering, can be experienced by all baptized Catholics. We have been given the gifts which transcend hurts, failings, even abuse within families. Heroic virtue makes saints. And, heroic virtues grows from the virtues and gifts given to each one of us in baptism and confirmation. We have all we need to be free to really love as Christ loves.

Many, many years ago, God impressed upon my soul this psalm. I had forgotten,until yesterday, this command from God to forget my father's house and follow Him with all my heart and all my soul. In the silence of my day, I seek the Bridegroom Who waits.

When He lets Himself be found, I experience a quiet joy, the joy of being loved by God Himself. I no longer look at me or my faults, as these melt away in the knowledge of being loved. It is only through detachment that God will allow Himself to be found. He is a jealous God, and will not tolerate other loves. If He decides that one goes out and loves others, that is His decision as to when, where, how, and who.

I can hardly wait to rush back to my silent chapel, my place of meeting Love Who waits for a clean heart, a clean mind, a free spirit. But, in this silence, I recognize that God Himself must be the Agent of this cleansing.

The Desert Fathers remind us that some people can be in the world, work with others, marry, have children and be detachment. For some of us, this way of life remains impossible. God creates the person to fulfill the vocation to which He calls that Christian to live. But, the end of all vocations remains the same-complete detachment and a pure love for God.

Psalm 45

Ode for a Royal Wedding

To the leader: according to Lilies. Of the Korahites. A Maskil. A love song.
My heart overflows with a goodly theme;
    I address my verses to the king;
    my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.
You are the most handsome of men;
    grace is poured upon your lips;
    therefore God has blessed you forever.
Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,
    in your glory and majesty.
In your majesty ride on victoriously
    for the cause of truth and to defend[a] the right;
    let your right hand teach you dread deeds.
Your arrows are sharp
    in the heart of the king’s enemies;
    the peoples fall under you.
Your throne, O God,[b] endures forever and ever.
    Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity;
    you love righteousness and hate wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
    with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
    your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.
From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;
    daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;
    at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
10 Hear, O daughter, consider and incline your ear;
    forget your people and your father’s house,
11     and the king will desire your beauty.
Since he is your lord, bow to him;
12     the people[c] of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts,
    the richest of the people 13 with all kinds of wealth.
The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes;[d]
14     in many-colored robes she is led to the king;
    behind her the virgins, her companions, follow.
15 With joy and gladness they are led along
    as they enter the palace of the king.
16 In the place of ancestors you, O king,[e] shall have sons;
    you will make them princes in all the earth.
17 I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations;
    therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Change Delayed

Because I am switching to a new server in May, and discussing the changes with the server expert in charge, I have decided to wait on a name change and a format change. The server guy wants me to wait.

However, starting tomorrow, there will be a huge content change.

Pax Vobiscum

Pray for the People in Nepal

Huge earthquake.  And pray for those near the volcano in Chile.

Pray for the people in the Middle East and Africa.

The First Permutation of the Recusant Chapel

Everything except two things were donated by friends of the blog. God bless you all. Still need things mentioned in last post, but not immediately.

Here are a few photos of St. Mary of the Angels and Martyrs, in Ephesus.

One can see how a portable altar can fit on top of this table easily, or a higher one.. Some of the prie dieux. The rugs are borrowed, but lovely and from Egypt.

Three of the four prie dieux.

The fourth one is a blond wood, but also high quality.

The magnificent candle holders are a great addition. The lead crystal holders are temporary until I get the brass ones someone sent to me--late in the mail. Eventually, the icons will be on the wall above the altar area, with additions.

Blurred photo, too bad,  of a stunning Spanish Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Divine Mercy. The Divine Mercy will be removed today and the table will be for Mary. Only real flowers go on "altars", and potted plants according to rules do not belong in churches or chapels..only cut flowers.

Overview of this chapel. Huge donated Nativity scene above-one cannot see how lovely it is and I put it out just to show you all today.

The black candlesticks are borrowed. One cannot see the lovely Infant of Prague made by the Polish women and here and some of these things will be put away until certain liturgical times. Angels stay out, of course. The two gray ones are from the Vatican Observatory Collection and are replicas of statues in the gardens of Castel Gandolfo.

 OK, better photo of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel corner above. I need linens for tables.

The Immaculate Heart will go in another room. It was given to me by some sweet nuns. The large Mary, Our Lady of Grace, is unfinished in painting, as the person who started it, sadly, died. I shall have to find a statue restorer. Real flowers were donated as well. One of the vases is a Tiffany, also donated.

Sorry about the blurry photos. Someone took these for me and just sent them.

Beginnings....the very large icon, (please pray for this to soon arrive asap-the company was dishonest about the time frame and I am under constraints), would go above the altar area.  As less is more, some of these things will be stored in a chest until the appropriate liturgical time.

I have some icons in storage, including a very large one of the Rublev Trinity, which a nun gave STS years ago. It is too heavy to send him. I hope I can get these, God willing.

St. Mary of the Angels and Martyrs, in Ephesus

Later today, when I get the photos from the person who took those, I shall send you pictures of a crowded chapel.

I have so many things from readers, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Still to come are three more icons, one of the name of the chapel, (pray for this, as there has been a mail delay, which is the fault of the company), one of St. George, and one of Our Lady Undoer of Knots.

When I am in the next place, and have a benefactor, (please pray about this if you think you can help), I shall order a portable altar from a very talented man who makes these. The person who wrote to me said they would throw in the linens free.

Also, someone is sending me more candlesticks, as I only have two very large brass, four lead glass, and two with hearts, not appropriate for the altar, but which can go next to the large nativity set someone has given me. Someone is sending me a St. Michael holy water font.

Again, many thanks to S, K, J, C., the W family and others who have helped so far.

Two of the most beautiful things given are, one, a Spanish Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and, two, an Infant of Prague made by a Polish woman. I hope you can spot these in the photos.

I put everything received so far out so all can see, but, the things which are seasonal will go back in boxes. Someone is sending me a relic, which I have not yet received.

I have two angels from the Vatican Observatory Collection which are magnificent as well.

The prie dieux, given to me by a convent, with chairs given to the nuns from a bank, are all different, but of high quality. I am very grateful for these. There are four. Maybe three women will join me, who knows.

Pray for the new place for which I am looking. The chapel is mobile on purpose, which is why I hope to get a portable altar.

Again, if you are interested in helping me, please let me know.

God makes new doughnuts everyday. Now, I have to wait to find out where the chapel will be next.

Friday, 24 April 2015

New Blog Format Starting on the 26th

With all the changes online, I am changing the pace and focus of this blog starting on the 26th. I most likely will start a brand new blog ONLY on catechesis, apologetics and spirituality. No politics or news. You can get news from Mr. Voris and liturgical news from Fr. Z.

This has been a long time of considering what to do, in God's Will, and advice from a very holy person. At these times, it is important to concentrate on the Faith, period.

I am praying about a new name for the new blog and will leave my blog up for archives. Tomorrow, I shall share the name of the new blog.

Pax vobiscum.


Blogger Against Rubio for President

One more candidate has made himself non-electable by real Catholics.


Rubio stated he would go to a gay wedding. He does not understand what it means for a Catholic to attend such a ceremony.

Two sources of his theological confusion....if one goes to a wedding, one is a witness and agrees with the union. Period. There is no such thing as a ssm. Period.

“It’s not that I’m against gay marriage,” Rubio said in a CBS interview taped in New Hampshire, the early voting state to which Republican candidates flocked this weekend. “I believe the definition of the institution of marriage should be between one man and one woman.

He seems confused. He also seems like a Neo-Con. Sorry, we have had enough of them.

Irish Connections

A really interesting article about Ireland sent to me by a friend, who like me, knows that the Irish have given up their sovereignty. This is written from the point of view of the Irish who worked for democracy and a Catholic nation. I have visited Ireland at least four times in five years, spending much time there. I have seen the loss of Faith and the love of money cause this nation, now with the highest GNP of all EU nations, to become Godless.

"His perturbation at the state of Ireland, his confusion, his acute pain at the abandonment he would feel, was most callously condensed into a single statement by An Taoiseach who, in referring to the referendum on the redefinition of marriage, said:

'As we approach the centenary of the Rising, a Yes vote would, I believe, send out a powerful signal internationally that Ireland has evolved into a fair, compassionate and tolerant nation.'

The insinuation was clear: the leaders of ’16 were unfair, merciless and intolerant. And even worse, no party in the Oireachtas, none of those who so proudly proclaim their political lineage to the Rising, raised a voice to contradict such a contemptuous statement."

Read more here....


As I am leaving this house, which has sold, and looking for new digs, I am shocked by the number of people I have met who live alone, but will not rent out space. Why do single people need an entire house and big ones? A friend of mine knows four women who are living alone in huge houses. They will not rent. Renting parts of houses was not uncommon when I was younger. I rented an entire floor of a house from a widow at one time.

Perhaps it is because I lived in community for almost seven whole years, I am used to living in disciplined order with others. Perhaps it is because I was in the convent, that I know what it is like to share. Marriage alone does not really teach people how to share unless the couple have children. Children create mature adults, as the couple, who can just coast along as two single people doing things together, must die to self when the children come along. Children are part of our salvation as parents.

But, this great number of single people of which I have become aware since coming back to the States astounds me for another reason-many are women. Check out these statistics from here, the 2012 census.

• Sixty-six percent of households in 2012 were family households, down from 81 percent in 1970. • Between 1970 and 2012, the share of households that were married couples with children under 18 halved from 40 percent to 20 percent. • The proportion of one-person households increased by 10 percentage points between 1970 and 2012, from 17 percent to 27 percent. • Between 1970 and 2012, the average number of people per household declined from 3.1 to 2.6. 

27% of Americans live alone. This reveals two major problems: a lack of community causes this, and a lack of the ability to want to share causes this.

A nation, a culture with this many single households must not be seen as normal. Two conditions cause single households-the fact that people are not getting married, and the fact of an aging population which is not incorporated into families.

In days gone by, Grandma or Grandpa lived in families. Even in the 1980s, "Granny Flats" were popular in new houses being built, with little add-ons for the Aged P. In 2011, only 3% of White households were multi-generational, only 6% of Asian were multi-generational, and 8% of both Black and Hispanic households were multi-generational. Grandparents use to be part of daily life in communities.

Not so anymore.

 In 2011, there were 56 million married-couple households and 32 million one-person households--from article above.

Of those who live alone, 55.3% are women, and 44.7% are men. I spoke with a man yesterday who lives alone. His house is worth one million dollars. I do not "get it".

Coming from countries where community forms a primary part of daily life, as in Malta, I still cannot get use to the lack of local community, or the idea of so many people living alone.

I have created a monastic day complete with chapel. Even monastic communities get together several times a day. But, those I know who are living alone do not spend hours in prayer or study. One single woman I spoke with does visit the sick in her neighborhood, which is fantastic, but she also spends time watching television.

Americans seem to be heading for a real crisis of isolation leading to a lack of love and care for the elderly and the single, who seem to be choosing a lack of real love.

A statistic of 27% single households indicates an implosion of local community.

Review of one of my most controversial posts--


One of my best friends is brilliant. He must be one of the most erudite and intelligent people I know. He is actually a genius. Yet, he is mostly hidden from the world, working hard, having his wife and children as any good dad, and husband, as a priority.

He is one of the "good men" kicked out of seminary in the rough days of liberal and gay mafias running Irish seminaries. Too many men were discouraged from following their true vocations by narcissistic priests who, frankly, lost their Faith and followed all types of "isms".

These priest lost touch with reality, the reality of God's Kingdom on earth. Because of their personal sins, they discouraged and even dismissed the best of the lot in seminaries from Dublin to Rome to New York to Davenport to San Francisco. The loss cannot be regained, as many, like my friend, chose another way to serve God.

I have another friend who is a lost vocation. Yes, this happens. He, too, was refused for orthodoxy.

He found his way in the Church through teaching and writing.

Those priests and bishops who lost their first love of Christ, who lost touch with the beautiful mysteries of the Catholic religion have no clue as to the gems they tossed aside.

I think of my several male friends who were asked to leave the seminary, or not accepted because of being real Catholics as lost as well in some sad way. The talents, the gifts, the call God gave them could not be realized in this world. They were called to holiness and to wear the indelible mark of the priest into heaven.

I have also met women who knew they had vocations but in days gone by, before the resurgence of the newer traditional orders, could not find an order which was in habit, obedience to Rome, and not into New Age nonsense. These women, like the men, were called to serve God in a specific role denied to them by the sins of others.

Sins have consequences. My several friends felt the consequences of men and women who sinned against God and His Church. I feel deeply for those who were not allowed to be what God called them to be. This is a reality of our times. Not all stories have happy endings.

Those called but unable to follow their vocations live in a daily suffering, knowing that the doors shut cannot now be opened. I pray that God may, before these men and women die, give them peace and a deep consolation of His love that even this terrible suffering is part of God's plan.

Those closest to me live in England, which, like Ireland, saw some of the worst abuses in seminary training in the 1990s.  May God forgive those who rejected these men and women. May God open doors, even towards the end of life for these chosen ones to live as God, in His Perfect Will, desired them to live.

I read this book when it came out in 2002. The grief one feels for those men is one of loss, the loss of gifts to the Church. There are too many of the men and women, the victims of the sins of others in power, who have forgiven their bishops, rectors, prioresses.

May God forgive those rectors, bishops, vocation directors--may God forgive them.

On Father Z Yesterday

Supertradmum says:

I write about this all the time on my blog under the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
An admonishment saved me.
Story time: back in 1971, the year I graduated from college, in early October, I sought out a nun, who had been one of my theology teachers in college. For about 18 months, I had been a brat-agnostic, Marxist, heading for the Hillary route by being involved in community action and campus politics. I had been approached by the lawyers of the Chicago 8 to work with them, but had the grace to refuse. Having set aside my Faith, and no longer believing that Jesus was Lord, I became suicidal from months of being away from God. Seeking refuge out of desperation in the retreat house my friend nun ran, (I had learned Ignatian Spirituality from her, and thrown it all out), I told her I was going to shoot myself. This nun looked hard at me and said, “You may as well kill yourself as you are spiritually dead.”
I knew she was correct. If I died then, I would go to hell.
She added, “There is a priest downstairs and I shall tell him you are coming down to make your confession.” She left. I sat on the side of the bed in the retreat room knowing it was decision time. I stood up, and decided to go downstairs. I hardly made the decision. It was only a decision of going downstairs, not of perfect contrition. I had been admonished.
When I stood up, walking to the top of a great set of stairs in this old, grand house, (it no longer exists), I felt a wind at my back and I was virtually carried down the stairs. In seconds, I was making a general confession amidst great tears of sorrow and relief. Then, Christ entered the room, but I was too ashamed to look at Him. I saw His Feet with the wounds of the nails. He spoke to me and said, “Never doubt that I Am God.” To this day, with the grace of God, I have not.
This nun had the courage to speak the truth to a sinful apostate. Her honesty brought me back to life in Christ and a real appropriation of my adult Faith. What I found out later, is that she had gathered all the, unknown to me, retreatants in the center, and they were in the next room praying for me.
I admonish sinners. I am not afraid to do so. There is not enough truth in this world and we must save souls, just as Sr. Elizabeth brought about the salvation of my lost soul. May her soul rest in peace and may my conversion and few merits, as well as her own, gain her everlasting life. I am eternally grateful to this nun.

Heretical Sermon and The Feast of St. Mark

"Leone marciano andante - Vittore Carpaccio - Google Cultural Institute" by Vittore Carpaccio - Google Art Project. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
St. Jerome writes, "To be ignorant of the Scripture is not to know Christ."

A few weeks ago, I heard a heretical sermon, and since I was not a member of that parish, only a visitor, unknown to the pastor, I felt I had no right to speak to him about his error. I am more bold with those I know, as I feel as a visitor I have no right to say anything about a priest or a parish.

Remember, the Catholic Church has stated irrevocably that the authors which are named as the Gospel writers are indeed the writers, and not others unknown, and not groups of people. Those are Protestant interpretations. For clarity see this Vatican document on this fact. 


NOVEMBER 18, 1893

To Our Venerable Brethren, All Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and Bishops of the Catholic World, in Grace and Communion with the Apostolic See.
Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.
The God of all Providence, Who in the adorable designs of His love at first elevated the human race to the participation of the Divine nature, and afterwards delivered it from universal guilt and ruin, restoring it to its primitive dignity, has in consequence bestowed upon man a splendid gift and safeguard -- making known to him, by supernatural means, the hidden mysteries of His Divinity, His wisdom and His mercy. For although in Divine revelation there are contained some things which are not beyond the reach of unassisted reason, and which are made the objects of such revelation in order "that all may come to know them with facility, certainty, and safety from error, yet not on this account can supernatural Revelation be said to be absolutely necessary; it is only necessary because God has ordinated man to a supernatural end."1 This supernatural revelation, according to the belief of the universal Church, is contained both in unwritten Tradition, and in written Books, which are therefore called sacred and canonical because, "being written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author and as such have been delivered to the Church."2 This belief has been perpetually held and professed by the Church in regard to the Books of both Testaments; and there are well-known documents of the gravest kind, coming down to us from the earliest times, which proclaim that God, Who spoke first by the Prophets, then by His own mouth, and lastly by the Apostles, composed also the Canonical Scriptures,3 and that these are His own oracles and words4 -- a Letter, written by our heavenly Father, and transmitted by the sacred writers to the human race in its pilgrimage so far from its heavenly country.5 If, then, such and so great is the excellence and the dignity of the Scriptures, that God Himself has composed them, and that they treat of God's marvelous mysteries, counsels and works, it follows that the branch of sacred Theology which is concerned with the defense and elucidation of these divine Books must be excellent and useful in the highest degree.

and later in the encyclical:

But first it must be clearly understood whom we have to oppose and contend against, and what are their tactics and their arms. In earlier times the contest was chiefly with those who, relying on private judgment and repudiating the divine traditions and teaching office of the Church, held the Scriptures to be the one source of revelation and the final appeal in matters of Faith. Now, we have to meet the Rationalists, true children and inheritors of the older heretics, who, trusting in their turn to their own way of thinking, have rejected even the scraps and remnants of Christian belief which had been handed down to them. They deny that there is any such thing as revelation or inspiration, or Holy Scripture at all; they see, instead, only the forgeries and the falsehoods of men; they set down the Scripture narratives as stupid fables and Iying stories: the prophecies and the oracles of God are to them either predictions made up after the event or forecasts formed by the light of nature; the miracles and the wonders of God's power are not what they are said to be, but the startling effects of natural law, or else mere tricks and myths; and the Apostolic Gospels and writings are not the work of the Apostles at all. These detestable errors, whereby they think they destroy the truth of the divine Books, are obtruded on the world as the peremptory pronouncements of a certain newly-invented "free science;" a science, however, which is so far from final that they are perpetually modifying and supplementing it. And there are some of them who, notwithstanding their impious opinions and utterances about God, and Christ, the Gospels and the rest of Holy Scripture, would fain be considered both theologians and Christians and men of the Gospel, and who attempt to disguise by such honorable names their rashness and their pride. To them we must add not a few professors of other sciences who approve their views and give them assistance, and are urged to attack the Bible by a similar intolerance of revelation. And it is deplorable to see these attacks growing every day more numerous and more severe. It is sometimes men of learning and judgment who are assailed; but these have little difficulty in defending themselves from evil consequences. The efforts and the arts of the enemy are chiefly directed against the more ignorant masses of the people. They diffuse their deadly poison by means of books, pamphlets, and newspapers; they spread it by addresses and by conversation; they are found everywhere; and they are in possession of numerous schools, taken by violence from the Church, in which, by ridicule and scurrilous jesting, they pervert the credulous and unformed minds of the young to the contempt of Holy Scripture. Should not these things, Venerable Brethren, stir up and set on fire the heart of every Pastor, so that to this "knowledge, falsely so called,"28 may be opposed the ancient and true science which the Church, through the Apostles, has received from Christ, and that Holy Scripture may find the champions that are needed in so momentous a battle?

St. Mark writes his Evangelium at the dictation of St. Peter "Pasquale Ottino San Marcos escribe sus Evangelios al dictado de San Pedro Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux" by Attributed to Pasquale Ottino - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons 

And in Dei Verbum we read this:

The Church has always and everywhere held and continues to hold that the four Gospels are of apostolic origin. For what the Apostles preached in fulfillment of the commission of Christ, afterwards they themselves and apostolic men, under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, handed on to us in writing: the foundation of faith, namely, the fourfold Gospel, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

19. Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven (see Acts 1:1). Indeed, after the Ascension of the Lord the Apostles handed on to their hearers what He had said and done. This they did with that clearer understanding which they enjoyed (3) after they had been instructed by the glorious events of Christ's life and taught by the light of the Spirit of truth. (2) The sacred authors wrote the four Gospels, selecting some things from the many which had been handed on by word of mouth or in writing, reducing some of them to a synthesis, explaining some things in view of the situation of their churches and preserving the form of proclamation but always in such fashion that they told us the honest truth about Jesus.(4) For their intention in writing was that either from their own memory and recollections, or from the witness of those who "themselves from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word" we might know "the truth" concerning those matters about which we have been instructed (see Luke 1:2-4).

This priest I heard is steeped in Protestant liberal interpretations of Scripture and shares these false ideas with his congregation.

He referred to the Gospel of Mark as ending without today's Gospel, a 19th century interpretation of Mark which is not held by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church determines and has always determined the Canon of Scriputre. The following pericopes are accepted as the true ending of Mark.

Mark 16:15-20

15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news[a] to the whole creation. 16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes in their hands,[b] and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

The Ascension of Jesus

19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.[c]]]
It is convenient for modernist priests to omit this last section of Mark as merely "an addition" when it is part of the Canon of Scripture as defined by the Church. Why it is convenient to omit this becomes obvious in an age when the command to preach Christ in the entire world has become unpopular. The heresies of false ecumenism and universal salvation erase this command of Christ to preach and baptize. Those who do not believe the Gospel are not saved. There are Christ's own words. Mark writes that the apostles took Christ seriously and "proclaimed the good news everywhere."

The call to evangelize comes with baptism. No Catholic is exempt from evangelizing. We do it all in the way to which God has called us. 

April 25th is the feast day of St. Mark, who gave us this Gospel passage. He was the follower and scribe of St. Peter. Much of his gospel would be from the eyes of Peter, the first pope. Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis wrote: "When Mark became Peter's interpreter, he wrote down accurately, although not in order, all that he remembered of what the Lord had said or done."

Mark gave his life for the Gospel, as we must.  The Coptic Orthodox Church, which has seen many martyrs lately, claim Mark as a founder. St. Mark was martyred in 68, most likely in Alexandria, where he established a church.

"Folio 19v - The Martyrdom of Saint Mark". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons 

He is represent in Scripture, in Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4, as the Winged Lion.