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Monday, 6 July 2015

Framing Prayer 3

I repost articles which need to be the foundation for any manner of prayer--silence and schedules.

Monday, 12 March 2012


Perfection Part Eleven -Silence

On Perfection continued...

These posts seem to be popular, so I shall do two today. It is Lent, and such meditations may be helpful for some, including myself.


The overlap of the Carmelite, Benedictine and Dominican spiritual ways can be clearly seen in the the call to some silence during the day. Now, as busy lay people, we must create these little shells of silence so that we can hear the Voice of God, the small, still Voice. Without silence, one is not in touch with one's own soul or with God.

I have known extremely busy people. Not only are these people busy during the day, but when they come home at night, they have the television on until they go to bed. From the minute they wake up in the morning, when they turn on the radio, read the paper, run about doing necessary or unnecessary activities, these Catholics are never silent. I would be exhausted without silence.

If I do not have time in the morning and in the evening, at the very least, for reading Scripture, one of the Hours, such as Vespers, I cannot act as a serene, human being. Silence gives me grounding for the entire day, and if I practice silence, it can remain within me for the entire day. This is the beauty of silence, it becomes a wellspring of life within us, overcoming other noises and confrontations.

Silence breaks down anxiety and fear. The most fearful people I know cannot bear silence. They must keep moving, keep doing, even if they are retired. The rhythm of life which includes silence gives a richness to one's existence and keeps one from falling into superficiality.

Why some people are afraid of silence is that they are afraid of suffering. In silence, I see my sins, my failings, my failures. In silence, I face the need for conversion daily. In silence, I meet God, who is All Goodness, All Innocence, All Perfection.

Only in Faith can one approach silence, as in silence one meets the God of Mercy and Forgiveness.

I have talked with friends as to how to create more silence in their day. Some want to do so and some want to keep running away from God, which to me, is running away from Love.

Silence is never boring, as some may believe, unless one thinks God is boring. The Infinite is so beyond me, that only is silence can I meet God.

We are fast approaching Holy Week, when in the Passion of Christ, we see Him keeping silent before both the Sanhedrin and Herod. Christ said little in front of Pilate, but He was calling Pilate to Himself, and was trying to make the Roman see. Christ remained silent because He did not need to defend Himself. He is God. He is Man. He stood in silence, in Perfection, and those who judged Him unfairly could not see the Silence which stood before them, as they had never met Him in silence. Those who meet God, know Him when they see Him.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014


Sanctity and Schedules


Now, a disclaimer. As an INTJ, I am scheduled. I get up at the same time everyday and I have regular habits of eating, praying, writing.

I do most of my work in the morning.

When I was in Ireland, living alone for months and months, I could pray four to six hours a day, as I was living in silence and solitude.

I love this.

But, even though it was just me, I was scheduled.

Daily Mass same time, prayers, writing, etc. only interrupted by parties at night in the flats next door, or personal illness.

Same in Malta, even though for most of the time I was sharing a flat with one other person. Daily morning Mass, prayers, breakfast, and so on....Dinner was always about the same time as well.

Recently, living with other people without schedules, people who are not INTJs but ESFPs or variations of unscheduled types, I am observing something which the ancient fathers understood. One good thing about living in community is that those who naturally gravitate towards schedules can help those who do not.

Those who are more easy-going can help with the obsession some may have with schedules.

It is much harder for those without schedules to become holy. Going from one activity to another as these present themselves to the mind does not allow for prayer or reflection. Merely reacting to things rather than planning or reacting to situations on impulse are methods of living which impair the way of holiness.


Holiness demands scheduling.

Why? 


Prayers, the reading of Scripture, the reading of holy books, daily Mass, or Adoration demand planning.

Those who have never had schedules, or who have avoided scheduling do not plan formation into their days.

Every semester when I was teaching college, the first thing I did was introduce my students to Time Management Skills.

I would, in some extreme cases, find up to 40 wasted hours in one week of 168 hours. I would mostly find between 17-27 wasted hours, enough time for my students to really study. They all had too much "down time" or just wasted time.

Waste is a sin.

Wasting time can create a habit of avoiding God and holiness.

Wasting time can lead one to hell.

A few days ago, I was speaking with a person who use to read the Scriptures daily for at least a half-hour.

He no longer does this. He is "too busy", "too tired".

He works, and he works hard, but his home life is not scheduled and never has been. He goes out a lot.

I see many, many elderly people out and about here-and they have lively social lives. There is nothing wrong with that, but one must face preparation for death.

Sanctity must be a cooperation between work and grace. Without a schedule, it is hard, perhaps impossible to find out who one is and who God is.

Schedule.

13 Feb 2013
While in the monastery last year, I lived with the nuns in the silence of the day. I have tried to cooperate with grace and cultivate an interior silence outside the convent. Some of the great Benedictine writers have distilled ...
19 Feb 2012
To live in silence is a gift not to be taken for granted. Silence makes us face ourselves, our sins and failings, our lack of charity. On the positive side, silence enables us to have a relationship with God. Relationships take time ...

08 Jul 2012
“It was not until 1973, when we began our daily Holy Hour that our community started to grow and blossom... In our congregation, we used to have adoration once a week for one hour, and then in 1973, we decided to have ...
11 Aug 2013
In this state, prayer and times outside of prayer merge into one state of being; but one must either be in actual silence, or create silence in the mind and heart. The saying yes then becomes automatic, as one can hear God ...
http://supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com/

17 Jun 2015
This is one reason why scheduling must be part of the growth in holiness. Without scheduling, one cannot be faithful, but merely act in spontaneous or knee-jerk reactions to events, things, and people. Scheduling allows ...


Framing Prayer 2

In order to chose a framework for your prayer, ask yourself a few pertinent questions.

Am I an introvert or an extrovert?

Do I tend to complicate my life, or do I try and simplify my life?

Do I need strict guidelines or merely a loose framework?

Do I want to use the Divine Office, or do I already?

Do I want to use the Monastic Diurnal?

Can I get to daily Mass or Adoration?

Am I confined to praying at home?

Am I a morning or evening person?

Have a honestly done a time management schedule to see how much time I waste in the day?

Do I have to be in a certain environment for prayer, or can I pray anywhere, like in the kitchen, or in an office?

Am I hyper-active or more sedentary?

Am I easily distracted, or am I able to concentrate well?

Am I a free spirit or am I naturally disciplined?

Do I want to pray all day, in the Benedictine fashion of carrying on prayer in silence while I work?

Do I have to strive to put more silence into my life?

Do I need mental discipline?

And so on.....

One may not know one's self well enough to "feel" Carmelite, or Cistercian, or Dominican, or Ignatian. However, trying one way is fine, and then trying another when one way does not suit one, is also fine.

The three approaches to prayer I shall highlight in the next fourteen days will be the Carmelite, the Ignatian, and the Benedictine. If you want to review the Dominican way, follow the Garrigou-Lagrange and perfection series tags. Much has been covered already.

I want you all to think of these times as a new Age of Chaos, like the time of the Fall of the Roman Empire, or the Dissolution of the Monasteries, or the Protestant Revolt.

What framework of prayer do you think will help you personally live in Christ and love in Christ in this time?

We all have real needs which dictate the form of our spiritual lives. Those who pray will see clearly the need for depth, not breadth.

Even priests need an approach to prayer, which is why some priests are found in religious orders which appeal to their individual spiritual character. But, even the laity can benefit from a certain approach.

Here is the outline for these two weeks:

Carmelite, first; Ignatian, second, Benedictine, third. Of course, each way is also Marian. We do not set Mary aside in any of our prayer methods, or ways.

May I remind all that one must learn two things immediately about nurturing a life of prayer.

One is becoming comfortable with silence. And, too, one must stick to a schedule.

to be continued...




Two Weeks Ahead-Framing Prayer

For the next two weeks, I shall be concentrating on three themes. Enough bloggers cover the political news. Therefore, I want to revisit some different approaches to God in the various spiritualities of the saints.

These themes were covered some what in the perfection series, but I want to highlight spiritualities which saints gave to the Church, to us, in particularly trying times.

Because we are beyond the great ages of Catholic education, we all must be trained in prayer techniques which can be learned on one's own, either with or without a spiritual director. Many of us do not have spiritual directors, as there are not many priests available in some areas to direct, or there is a lack of trained directors. Those who have them should pray for those who are without. Most of my life, from the age of 22, I have had a director. Not to have one now is a great cross for me. But, one carries on, listening ever more intently to God, who speaks to us directly and through others.

As those who have followed this blog for years, I concentrate on these three approaches to God-the Benedictine way, (the Cistercian being part of this), the Ignatian way, and the way of Carmel. I have also covered the Dominican way, of course, using the great Dominican Garrigou-Lagrange for most of my commentary.

But, what I want to do in the next two weeks is break down ways for singles, couples and families to choose a spirituality for their daily lives, incorporate such approaches into their prayer, and learn to discern from those "ways". I have down this with education, and one only has to follow the tags to see how I have shared the great approaches to home education of all the great and holy saint educators.

The impetus for this intense study is that we may face lives without the sacraments, without priests. As those of us without directors know only too well, God does not stop our spiritual growth because we cannot find a director, or cannot get to weekly Adoration or daily Mass. Some of the greatest times of growth for me personally have been in such deprived months.

Having said that, one hour before the Eucharist in the monstrance is worth weeks of struggling on one's own. But, less and less do people find it possible to be in areas of rich spiritual opportunities.

Let me remind readers that one cannot become holy without a schedule. It is impossible.

Daily routines form the framework for these approaches to pray.

Those who have read this blog know the basics: Scripture read daily, meditation daily from the lives of Christ, Mary and the saints, meditation on the daily Mass readings, intercessory prayer, quiet.

The absolute minimum would be a half-hour of reading Scripture. The rosary and the chaplet also fill out daily prayer.

But, my emphasis will be on personalities, schedules, various lay vocations, and temperaments. One should choose a spirituality which fits all these categories.

Are you a father, a mother, a grandparent, a wife, a husband, a widow, a widower, a single mom, a single person, a student? Your call in life will dictate to a certain extent the manner in which you approach God.

Are you working long hours? Are you a stay-at-home mum? Are you a single person with time after work to pray? And, so on....

Are you retired? Are you a student?

Some vocations lend themselves to certain spiritualities. These two weeks will hopefully inspire some to adopt a prayer-plan, instead of picking up ideas. I compare the three manners of spirituality I have chosen for these two weeks of posting as five course meals, compared with buffets.

The name of this mini-series is Framing Prayer.

to be continued.....




Why I Blog


One of the reasons I continue this blog has to do with the overwhelming silence of the clergy on many issues, such as abortion, contraception, ssm, and how to pray I blog because the hierarchy is not into adult education. How can bishops expect people to understand doctrine without education?

But, more than that, I blog in order to raise the level of education for the Catholic in the pew. Without knowledge of the Faith, and without encouragement to be holy, we would all fall into discouragement and even laxity.

The remnant is small, very small. Most Catholics have lost confidence in their bishops and even local priests. This lack of confidence has been caused by a variety of issues, some which can be "blamed" on the hierarchy and some which cannot be.

Those Catholics who are not in Church to hear sermons or homilies are also the same ones who do not read blogs. So, I write for a small minority of people who want to be Catholic and yearn for union with Christ through His Church.

Like children who have watched sinful parents, many Catholics just do not listen to the clergy. But, more to the point, these same people do not listen to their own brothers and sisters in the Church.

I question how I can reach out to those who are no longer hearing God's word or pursuing God's Word, the Son of God. How can we evangelize those in habits of sin, or those who no longer trust the Church? We have a generation of priests who are "de-skilled", and clerical careerists.

The leadership crisis has affected the Church in the West, which is one reason why the Pope called the Synod.

What we need are leader-saints. We need Bernard of Clairvauxs. Bonifaces, Dominics, Benedicts, Catherines, Teresas, Etheldredas.

The Church needs saints to speak to those who either are so far away they cannot hear, or who do not want to listen.

How does a saint "make" people listen. By a holy life......through the example of personal holiness.

By the conviction of those who love God first, others see the fruit of this love.

Love first, love God first, love the Church....

Pray, then act.....I blog to become a saint myself, and to share this way with others.

Without prayer, there is no way to get to God.

Teresa of Avila warned us: "Don't let anyone deceive you by showing you a road other than prayer."


Sunday, 5 July 2015

Denial, Two--Priests in Denial

In a city of eight parishes, only four priests, three at the same parish, have referred to the SCOTUS decision as it really is, from the pulpit.

This morning, a friend of mine went to one of the parishes where the priests are not talking about this decision, and after Mass, three people went up to the priest and asked him why for ten days nothing has been said about this from the pulpit by the four priests who serve that parish.

The three laypeople told the priest that they needed courage and guidance from their pastors and assistants. The priest actually said that nothing bad would happen to Catholics, and that there would be no persecution.

The three lay people could not believe the blindness of this priest.

They tried to explain to him that many people would lose their jobs or businesses, that the Episcopalians and Presbyterians had caved. The priest denied that Catholics would be affected.

My friend talked to me later, as I went to another parish, and he was upset. Of course, and as he said, we are sheep without good shepherds.


Denial reveals a lack of discernment. The priest said that people had walked out of a church in the diocese where the bishops' letter had been read.

So?

Are the priests into numbers games? Those who leave have to answer to God, not the priests, but if the priests are silent. and silence is consent, they are responsible. So, some priests decide not to speak the truth because people will leave the Church. Not to worry, some Episcopalians will join us. The righteous will make up the numbers if the priests are honest and true.

These silent priests are not feeding the good and faithful Catholics, but giving in to the bad ones, who agree with the decision. Why?

Ezekiel 3:18-19

18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you will have saved your life.


Another man in the conversation said that he did not want to go to hell for not upholding the Church's teaching. That second man noted that he may go to hell for other things, but not ignoring the Church's teaching on marriage. The priest responded, "I'll see you in hell."

My friend was so shocked, he became speechless.


This is the state of so many of the clergy-either being flippant about hell, or honestly supporting the gay cause.

Maybe the priest should read this....http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/christian-bakers-fined-135k-given-gag-order-for-refusing-same-sex-wedding

"Brad Avakian has been outspoken throughout this case about his intent to 'rehabilitate' those whose beliefs do not conform to the state's ideas," said Harmon. "Now he has ruled that the Kleins' simple statement of personal resolve to be true to their faith is unlawful. This is a brazen attack on every American's right to freely speak and imposes government orthodoxy on those who do not agree with government sanctioned ideas."

Pray, readers, we are in for it---here is a repost of the first Denial post.

Friday, 3 July 2015


Denial

Too many Catholics are in denial.
They only want to think happy thoughts. Of course, denial is one stage of trauma. Having been through traumas, I recognize the stages. I expected this decision and saw it coming many years ago, so I am not traumatized, merely saddened and righteously angry.

The stages of trauma are:

Emotional and psychological symptoms of trauma:

Shock, denial, or disbelief
Anger, irritability, mood swings
Guilt, shame, self-blame
Feeling sad or hopeless
Confusion, difficulty concentrating
Anxiety and fear
Withdrawing from others
Feeling disconnected or numb



Physical symptoms of trauma:

Insomnia or nightmares
Being startled easily
Racing heartbeat
Aches and pains
Fatigue
Difficulty concentrating
Edginess and agitation
Muscle tension


Many good Catholics have had trouble sleeping this week. Many are still in shock, denial and disbelief. Some are anxious and fearful, Some are agitated.

God is in charge, always. If we truly believe in Providence, we believe that God has allowed sin to triumph, temporarily in order to bring the faithful to perfection, and to punish the evil.

Purification of the Church and this land seems inevitable. Those who are in denial need to move into the various stages and come into reality.

America, like Ireland, like Britain, like Spain, will never be the same again. Christianity will triumph in the end, but I most likely will not see any earthly triumph.

Get ready. Become holy. Pray for me to keep blogging.

Still, nothing from the pulpits where I have been going to Mass. Nothing. I have felt abandoned by the clergy and I am angry that many of the laity in this area have been left in confusion, when clarity could have come from the pulpits.

God, forgive us and forgive these lax priests. As one of my friends said yesterday, a bit sarcastically, "Why should they hunger and thirst after righteousness, or endure persecution for His Name's sake?"

I shall continue to pray for all priests, bishops, cardinals, and seminarians. 

Saints of The Day

 Saints of the day from Universalis...

Pintura de San Antonio Maria Zaccaria

St Antony Mary Zaccaria (1502 - 1539) A reformer for the laity as well as the clergy...
He was born in Cremona in Lombardy and started by studying medicine, but soon decided to become a priest instead and was ordained in 1528. He founded the Congregation of Clerks Regular of St Paul, generally known as the Barnabites (after the church that was their headquarters), whose aim was the reform of the clergy and laity. He was part of the general movement to self-reform in a Church that was coming increasingly under attack from the Protestant Reformation.

Other saints: Saint Modwen an evangelizer and woman of prayer

The memory of St Modwen is strongly established at Burton-on-Trent where she is venerated as a virgin who lived as a hermit on the island-meadow of Andressey on the Trent. Her name is Irish and she seems to have belonged to the group of Irish monks and hermits who worked for the conversion of Anglo-Saxons in the seventh century; Irish women hermits, such as St Dympna, are also known at that period. The medieval parish church at Burton is dedicated to her; she was adopted as patron of the restored Catholic parish when the Catholic Church in Guild Street was built in 1879.

Other saints: Blessed George Nichols, Richard Yaxley, Thomas Belson, Humphrey Pritchard (-1589)
brave martyrs

These four men were executed at Oxford on 5 July 1589. Two were priests: George Nichols, born at Oxford, and Richard Yaxley, born at Boston, Lincolnshire, both ordained at the English College at Rheims. Thomas Belson was a gentleman from Oxfordshire who worked as a layman to support the underground work of the priests in Elizabethan England and had previously been imprisoned and deported; he was 26. All three were arrested at the Catherine Wheel at Oxford, together with Humphrey Pritchard, employed by the widow who owned the public house; she was condemned to perpetual imprisonment. After examination and torture in London, the four were tried and executed at Oxford. Blessed Humphrey Pritchard, the barman, was taunted for his ignorance by some of the university men present at the execution. When he said that he died for being a Catholic, one of them shouted that he was unable to explain what being a Catholic meant. Blessed Humphrey replied: “What I cannot say in words, I will seal with my blood”. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1987.

Not sure if this is the same Catherine Wheel where the men were caught...maybe a reader knows.



The Age of the Laity, Two

This link is a MUST read.

http://southernorderspage.blogspot.com/2015/07/wherever-two-or-three-are-gathered-in.html

I wrote in the past year that when Blessed Paul VI declared this the Age of the Laity, for me, that meant keeping the Faith, learning the Faith, not following false shepherds.

If I am weak, I have no one to blame but myself as God gives grace to all His People.


The Soul of The Apostolate, Part Eight


Some years ago when I was in Japan I was astonished and deeply moved when I had the happiness to come in contact with some members of the numerous Christian families which were discovered years ago near Nagasaki. I have never heard anything so amazing! Surrounded by pagans, forced to conceal their religion, deprived of priests for three centuries, these Christians of staunch courage received from their parents not only faith but fervor. Where are we to find the moving power strong enough to explain the strength and duration of this extraordinary heritage? The answer is easy. Their ancestors had been trained by a superb director of “shock troops,” St. Francis Xavier.

These are the last words I am putting on the blog for now from The Soul of The Apostolate. The book contains many more priceless paragraphs, but today, I want to emphasize the necessity, again, for the personal, adult appropriation of the Faith.

The Jesuits trained people, in the lands to which they went, to do examinations twice daily-one in the morning and one at night. This daily examen kept those in hiding in a state of holiness, as they prayed to God, as some of us do in the Divine Office, the see our hidden sins and to be freed of those. Save me from the faults I do not see. Save your servant from pride.

The daily examen focuses on both exterior and interior sins and imperfections. 

Here is an example of the Examen. This is an excellent way to learn contemplative prayer. If God grants me the House of Prayer, those who join would be asked to do this type of examen daily. It fits in nicely with the time of lectio divina asked for by St. Benedict. How wonderful that the Cistercian way, the Benedictine way, and the Ignatian way overlap in teaching contemplative prayer.

I wrote almost two years ago on these hidden Christians. Now is the time to consider their courage. Below are two pertinent re-posts, especially for my new readers.

Saturday, 21 September 2013


The Kakure Kirishitan And The One Thing Necessary

Thanks to wikipedia for Japanese Blessed Virgin
With all the chaos and sharp decline of democracy in Great Britain, Ireland and America, I have pondered on the one thing necessary at this time. But, I have come up with two. The first is obvious in St. Alphonsus Ligouri's prayer. We all must be dedicated to becoming saints . But, I add a second thing which is also of primary importance. We, you and I, not priests, or bishops, or cardinals, or nuns, we the laity must pass on the Faith to the next generations. This is our duty, stemming from our baptismal promises. We have no choice. To pass on the heritage and all the cultural trappings of Catholicism, the doctrines, the dogmas, the liturgical rites as far as we can, such as the Liturgy of the Hours, is our duty. We shall have no one to blame but ourselves if the faith continues to dwindle and disappear from some areas here, and in other countries.  This is our Faith. Pass it on.

Pius IX  declared it a miracle when the missionaries came back to Japan and found the  隠れキリシタンthe hidden Christians,Kakure Kirishitan laity who had kept the Faith without a priest for about 250 years. Bishop Bernard Thadee Petitjean,  the first missionary priest back to Japan after 1853, and the first Vicar Apostolic of Japan, discovered these hidden Christians. They had passed on the Faith through  a 100 generations. Are we strong enough and intelligent enough about our Faith to do this?

Here are two pages from one of the first modern Catholic Catechisms in Japan, 1865. The very first came out in 1860.  From 1614 until 1860, the laity had to be responsible for their own faith and Catholicity. I assume they baptised their children and converts, prayed, honoured Mary (there were statues of Mary found), and keeping customs. Could we do this? In 2010, there were almost seven billion people in the world and 118,990 major seminarians. Who do you think is going to keep the Faith in the not-so-distant future? You, I.....


http://laures.cc.sophia.ac.jp/laures/www/media



ONLY ONE THING IS NECESSARY
A Prayer of Saint Alphonsus Liguori



O my God, help me to remember - 
That time is short, eternity is long.
What good is all the greatness of this world at the hour of death?
To love You, my God, and save my soul is the one thing necessary.
Without You, there is no peace, no joy.
My God, I need fear nothing but sin.
For to lose You, my God, is to lose all.
O my God, help me to remember - 
That to gain all I must leave all,
That in loving You I have all good things: the infinite riches of Christ
and His Church, the motherly protection of Mary,
peace beyond understanding, joy unspeakable!




Eternal Father, your Son has promised that whatever we ask in His Name will be given to us. In His Name I pray: give me a burning faith, a joyful hope, a holy love for Jesus Christ. Give me the grace of perseverance in doing Your will in all things. Do with me what You will. I repent of having offended You. Grant, O Lord, that I may love You always and never let me be separated from You.
O my God and my All, make me a saint!


Saturday, 15 November 2014


Lost Souls because.....


I know for a fact that young men are saying no to God regarding becoming priests.

St. Francis, according to Fr. Minelli, was asked by a leader of a Japanese tribe, a man who had heard of God's love for the Japanese, this question: " How come God, if He is so good, as you say he is, has waited so long before making Christianity known to us?" "Do you want to know?" replied the Saint with sadness. "Here is why: God had inspired many Christians to come and announce to you the Good  News, but many of the have not wanted to heed His call."

No priests, no sacraments, no Mass, no Eucharist, no absolution of sins, no communities...

The great sin of men who are refusing the call is one of sloth. It is too easy to just be single, go with the flow, live a completely self-centered life.

Those who are answering the call understand that the day of the comfortable cleric is over.

We are fast entering the new Age of the Martyrs.

Where are the real men who will answer God's call?

They have been pampered from birth by misguided parents. They only want to feed their own needs and they do not love God or His Bride, the Church.

Too many are saying no and souls will be lost.....

Yesterday, a priest and I discussed the love of the Church which should be in the hearts of priests.

Where is this bridal love? It is a gift for anyone who wants it. It is Christ's Own Love for all of us.


From The Soul of The Apostolate, Part Seven


The book, The Soul of the Apostolate, I have been using this week on the blog for meditations, praises my favourite, St. Bernard of Clairvaux many times, using his as a perfect example of the interior life leading to the active life.

Here is one reference:

 Take St. Bernard, for example. This oracle of his own time was one of those saints who showed most firmness in his zeal for God. But the attentive reader of his life will be able to see to what an extent the interior life had made this man-of-God selfless. He only fell back on strong measures when he had clear evidence that all other means were useless. Often, too, he varied between gentleness and strength. After having shown his great love for souls by avenging some principle with holy indignation and stern demands for remedies, reparation, guarantees, and promises, he would at once display the tenderness of a mother in the conversion of those whom his conscience had’ forced him to fight. Pitiless towards the errors of Abelard, he speedily became the friend of the one whom his victory had reduced to silence. When it was a matter of choosing means, if he saw that no principle was necessarily involved, he always stood before the hierarchy of the Church as a champion of nonviolent procedure. Learning that there was a movement on foot to ruin and massacre the Jews of Germany, he left his cloister without a moment’s delay and hurried to their rescue, preaching a crusade of peace. Fr. Ratisbonne quotes a document of great significance in his Life of St. Bernard. It is a statement of the most exalted Rabbi of that land, expressing his admiration for the monk of Clairvaux, “without whom,” he says, “there would not be one of us alive in Germany.” And he urges future generations of Jews never to forget the debt of gratitude they owe to the holy abbot. On this oc-casion St. Bernard uttered the following words: “We are the soldiers of peace, we are the army of the peacemakers, fighting for God and peace: Deo et pact militantibus. Persuasion, good example, loyalty to God are the only arms worthy of the children of the Gospel.” There is no substitute for the interior life as a means of obtaining this spirit of selflessness which characterizes the zeal of every saint.  

And, another:


As a member of the Cistercian Order, so completely consecrated to Mary, and as a child of that great saint who was, for half a century, the apostle of Europe, St. Bernard, how can we forget that the holy abbot of Clairvaux attributed to Mary all his progress in union with Jesus, and all his success in the apostolate? Everybody knows what tremendous effects were produced by the apostolate of this saint, who remains the most illustrious of the sons of St. Benedict: an apostolate that embraced nations and kings, Councils and even Popes. On all sides we hear the praises of the sanctity, the genius, the deep knowledge of Holy Scripture, and the penetrating unction of the writings of this the last of the Fathers of the Church. But one title above all others sums up all the admiration of the ages for this holy doctor: Cytha-rista Mariae, “the Harpist of Mary.” This “Bard of Mary” has never been surpassed by any of those who have proclaimed the glories of the Mother of God. St. Bernardine of Siena and St. Francis of Sales, as well as Bossuet, St. Alphonsus, St. Grignon de Monfort, and so on, all draw largely upon the treasures of St. Bernard when they want to speak of her, and find arguments to support that great truth which the holy Doctor so emphasized: “Everything comes to us through Mary.” “See, my brethren, with what sentiments of devotion God has desired us to honor Mary, He Who has placed in her the fullness of all good. If there is in us any hope, any grace, any pledge of salvation, let us admit that all this overflows upon us from her who is flowing with delights. . . . Suppose you were to take away the sun, which enlightens the world: what would become of the day? Take away Mary, that star of the sea, of our huge, vast sea, what is left but deep obscurity, the shadow of death, pitchy blackness? Therefore it is from the depths of our hearts, from the very vitals of our being, and with all our mind and will that we must honor the Virgin Mary: for such is the will of Him Who willed us to have all through Mary.”106 Strong with the strength of this doctrine we will not hesitate to lay down as a principle that no matter what the apostle may do to ensure salvation and spiritual progress and the fruitfulness of his apostolate, he runs the risk of finding that he has built on sand if his activity does not rest on a very special devotion to Our Lady. a. For His Personal Interior Life The apostle cannot claim to have a sufficient devotion to Our Lady if his confidence in her is not enthusiastic, and if his homage to her is almost entirely external. Like her Son, intuetur cor, she only looks at our hearts, and judges us to be her true children only by the power with which our love corresponds to hers. She looks to find a heart that is firmly convinced of the glories and privileges and offices of her who is at the same time the Mother of God and the Mother of men: A heart that is convinced of this truth: that the fight against faults, the acquisition of virtues, the Kingdom of Christ in souls, and consequently all guarantee of salvation and sanctity, are in proportion to the degree of our devotion to Mary;10T A heart that is gripped with the thought that everything is easier, more delightful, and progresses more rapidly in the interior life when we act in union with Mary.108 A heart full to overflowing of filial confidence, come what may, in her whose gentle tact, and wise anticipation of our needs, and whose tenderness and mercy and generosity we know by experience;108 My little children, she it is who is the foundation of all my trust and the whole reason for all my hope (St. Bernard). 

more later...one more on this book

A Prayer of Blessed Miguel Pro

Just a selection from a longer prayer by this Jesuit martyr.



Let me spend my life near thee, O Mother,
to keep thee company in they solitude and deepest grief;
let me feel in my soul the sadness of thine eyes
and the abandonment of thy heart.....

My wish in life is for the jeers and derision of Calvary;
for the slow agony of thy Son,
for the contempt, the disgrace and infamy of the Cross.
My wish, O most sorrowful Virgin, is to stand near thee,
to strengthen my soul through thy tears, 
to complete my offering through thy martyrdom,
to temper my heart through thy solitude
and to love my God and thy God through my self-sacrifice.

from here

The Great Houses Revisited-A Rare Double Post


Recently, in a British Catholic online mag, a discussion on the necessity for elite Catholic leaders was put forth by someone, imho, who missed the point of having leaders in the first place. There is in the West a leadership crisis, mostly brought on by the loss of noblese oblige and the tough Catholic immigrant blood which became, sadly, too watered down by "acceptance."

I am re-reading a book my mother bought me for Christmas in 1995, the year I returned to North America, with a very young son, to work out my life without a husband. I left England thinking that America would be friendly to me and son, a false dream of acceptance and community, which did not happen, except for a brief time in Alaska, and, ironically, Canada.

The book is on the great recusant houses in the country which was my spiritual home, where I taught, worked for the Church, got married, had my baby and experienced some of the greatest friendships I have ever made. Those days are gone, and my hopes for living in England have faded with the realities of the present politics against immigration. But, I still think someday I shall return somehow to the land of my spiritual brothers and sisters. How, I do not know.

However, I am a woman without a home here in the great plains of the Midwest, where I was born, and where my ancestors set up Catholic schools, a monastery and more, in happier days long ago. Now, the great houses of the noble recusants of England and Scotland create a longing in my heart for that type of courageous rebellion, silent but strong, against the evils of paganism, religious fanaticism, and secularism. We, in this country, do not have the great noble families, which intermarried and held the Catholic Faith as the most important heritage in their communities, risking life and fortunes for the pope, the Mass, the sacraments, and priests, intermarrying, sending sons to the great continental seminaries of Valladolid, Rome, Douai and Lisbon to become priests and martyrs.

We are approaching the same times, as I have noted here before, without the great houses. Malachi Martin in one of his novels imagined a house like Wardour, or Boscobel, in Windswept House. But, his book is and will always be a fictive creation of a clan center for Catholicism. Such things do not exist in this Protestant and apostate land. Too many of the new Catholics who are of "great families" are, in fact, practical heretics, in disobedience to Rome concerning many doctrines.

We, like most of the Catholic world, including Rome, lack leadership.

However, the houses haunt me. Names like Hendred House, Norbury Manor, Baddesley Clinton and Coughton Court resounded as I imagine the old families kneeling, like the great scene in Gone with the Wind, saying the rosary before the fire at night, while the young girls dream of some Catholic man in the households of Mapledurham or Stonor Park. Hundreds of years of Catholic occupancy kept some of the families alive in the Faith. I wonder if the "15" still meet in London and toast the Pope?

But, the point of this post is not a romantic view of the past, but a stark view of the present. In all Catholic lands, leadership may be at the lowest ebb of the tide than at any time in history. One is hard put to name great orthodox Catholic leaders in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland or America. Too many families have lost one of two generations to secularism and apostasy, or the worst plague of all, mediocrity, what Christ calls in the Book of Revelation, the "lukewarm". I fear a harder time for Catholics here in days to come than in the worst purging of the Roundheads. The reason is simple--we lack both clerical and lay leaders.

Sadly, American Catholic history has been that of a Church struggling since Day One in a Protestant land still rife with anti-Catholicism, which will rear it ugly head again very soon in real persecution. Whether this persecution lasts as long as the suppression of the Catholics in Great Britain, remains to be seen. I, for one, may never see the triumph of Catholicism again in this country, or any country, in my lifetime.

"This is not my country" has become a mantra for many of us on this side of the pond. Some of us saw the inevitable coming for a long time, especially those of us to whom God had given certain discernment and even a prophetic nature, but we were not heard. So be it. One moves on to the next stage of reality, coping with a culture which wants to destroy the Catholic Faith, as it will be seen again, as anti-American.

The sons and daughters of Gibbons, Keane, Ireland and those who fell into the false ideal of being American first and Catholic second, will survive physically. Whether they will spiritually is another matter. Those who have kept the remnant Faith may face hardships which no one wants to imagine.

There are no great houses here, no priest holes, no states which are so united as to form a legal confederacy against the Hydra tyranny of paganism and secularism. No, only small houses of the descendants of those who may even have come here for religious freedom. That is gone, truly gone
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"Coughtoncourtmorris edited". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coughtoncourtmorris_edited.jpg#/media/File:Coughtoncourtmorris_edited.jpg

Already, there is a test case in Macon, Georgia regarding Catholic schools. Already the Episcopalians have voted to have false "marriages" in their churches. Already, only the Evangelical Baptists, the Catholics and a handful of independent churches have kept the ancient teachings of Christ and the laws of nature sacred in their congregations. But, the rot has set into the Church. One only needs to ponder the weak responses of some bishops, and the non-response of the leading cardinal of this land.

I mourn the lack of great houses and great families. Like so many, my own family, with a fantastic Catholic heritage, including a great-grandfather who was a Knight of St. Gregory, is split with more siblings having left the Church than staying in--three to one, in fact. My generation and those following have witnessed the weakening of the Church from within, and now we must face the onslaught of legal constrictions from without.

As the Pope Emeritus said a long time ago, more than forty years ago now, the Catholic Church will be small scattered groups of the faithful in a sea of unbelief. May God raise us some new great houses, whether large or small, rich or poor, in these recusant times.



Saturday, 4 July 2015

St. Elizabeth of Portugal, Pray for Us


The grand-niece of the great saint, Elizabeth of Hungary, this Elizabeth is known as a great peacemaker, intervening in several battles to stop fighting.  She was a Third Order Franciscan, taking care of the poor and ill as well as personally caring for poor young women by paying their dowries so they could marry.

St. Elizabeth of Portugal, pray for us today on your feastday.

Americanism

I began a huge study on the heresy of Americanism in 2007, when I started this blog. My first book to read of many was a Notre Dame publication, by Thomas J. McAvoy, The Americanist Heresy in Roman Catholicism 1895-1900.

I also read some excellent "conservative", and, therefore, critical biographies of Gibbons, Keane, Ireland and other bishops who began the rot in the Church regarding compromising Catholic identity, education, liturgy, culture and even, the Faith.

Part of my reparation this weekend hearkens back to the evil these men let into the Church, including false ecumenism. Those who blame Vatican II for the ills of the American Church do not know the history of compromise, called "progressivism" which undermined the authority of Rome and caused the political playing footsy with anti-Catholic groups, even those associated with the Masons, which have led this country to the recent decision.

The rotten roots of the Americanist heresy brought us to this state of paganism enshrined by law.

I highly suggest reader consider this heresy, as I did in 2007, as worthy of study. Basically, these bishops pushed Catholics into being Americans first, and Catholics second.

I am on a mini-retreat this weekend because of the evil which these men wrought a long time ago.

More on Sunday...bye for now.

Day of Prayer and Mortification


Calling for Day of Prayer and Penance on July 4th

Will you readers join me, please?

Nothing to celebrate but many things for which to pray and mourn. 


A suggestion for reading today..................

Conformity To God's Will

St. Alphonsus Mary Liguori Translated by Thomas W. Tobin, C.SS.R.

“Perfection is founded entirely on the love of God: ‘Charity is the bond of perfection;’ and perfect love of God means the complete union of our will with God’s.

While I am praying and doing penance today, if you cannot join me, please read St. Alphonsus Liguori on persecution and resignation. Also, I had so many posts this past week, take time to go back and read them all. 

St. Alphonsus provides us with meat, not milk.

Here are a few tidbits.

Furthermore, we must unite ourselves to God’s will not only in things that come to us directly from his hands, such as sickness, desolation, poverty, death of relatives, but likewise in those we suffer from man -- for example, contempt, injustice, loss of reputation, loss of temporal goods and all kinds of persecution. On these occasions we must remember that whilst God does not will the sin, he does will our humiliation, our poverty, or our mortification, as the case may be. It is certain and of faith, that whatever happens, happens by the will of God: “I am the Lord forming the light and creating the darkness, making peace and creating evil[21].” From God come all things, good as well as evil. We call adversities evil; actually they are good and meritorious, when we receive them as coming from God’s hands: “Shall there be evil in a city which the Lord hath not done[22]?” “Good things and evil, life and death, poverty and riches are from God[23].”





The devout Father John Tauler[45] relates this personal experience: For years he had prayed God to send him someone who would teach him the real spiritual life. 

One day, at prayer, he heard a voice saying: “Go to such and such a church and you will have the answer to your prayers.” He went and at the door of the church he found a beggar, barefooted and in rags. He greeted the mendicant saying: “Good day, my friend.”

“Thank you, sir, for your kind wishes, but I do not recall ever having had a ‘bad’ day.”

“Then God has certainly given you a very happy life.”

“That is very true, sir. I have never been unhappy. In saying this I am not making any rash statement either. This is the reason: When I have nothing to eat, I give thanks to God; when it rains or snows, I bless God’s providence; when someone insults me, drives me away, or otherwise mistreats me, I give glory to God. I said I’ve never had an unhappy day, and it’s the truth, because I am accustomed to will unreservedly what God wills. Whatever happens to me, sweet or bitter, I gladly receive from his hands as what is best for me. Hence my unvarying happiness.”

“Where did you find God?”

“I found him where I left creatures.”

“Who are you anyway?”

“I am a king.”

“And where is your kingdom?”

“In my soul, where everything is in good order; where the passions obey reason, and reason obeys God.”

“How have you come to such a state of perfection?”

“By silence. I practice silence towards men, while I cultivate the habit of speaking with God. 

Conversing with God is the way I found and maintain my peace of soul.”

Union with God brought this poor beggar to the very heights of perfection. In his poverty he was richer than the mightiest monarch; in his sufferings, he was vastly happier than worldlings amid their worldly delights. 

http://www.stalphonsusbalt.org/conformity.htm

Pray for these graces now...we shall all need to be like these good examples of complete peace in the face of adversity.


We ought to view in the light of God’s holy will, the loss of persons who are helpful to us in a spiritual or material way. Pious souls often fail in this respect by not being resigned to the dispositions of God’s holy will. Our sanctification comes fundamentally and essentially from God, not from spiritual directors. When God sends us a spiritual director, he wishes us to use him for our spiritual profit; but if he takes him away, he wants us to remain calm and unperturbed and to increase our confidence in his goodness by saying to him: “Lord, thou hast given me this help and now thou dost take it away. Blessed be thy holy will! I beg thee, teach me what I must do to serve thee.”

In this manner too, we should receive whatever other crosses God sends us. “But,” you reply, “these sufferings are really punishments.” The answer to that remark is: Are not the punishments God sends us in this life also graces and benefits? Our offenses against God must be atoned for somehow, either in this life or in the next. Hence we should all make St. Augustine’s prayer our own: “Lord, here cut, here burn and spare me not, but spare me in eternity!” Let us say with Job: “Let this be my comfort, that afflicting me with sorrow, he spare not[67].” Having merited hell for our sins, we should be consoled that God chastises us in this life, and animate ourselves to look upon such treatment as a pledge that God wishes to spare us in the next. When God sends us punishments let us say with the high-priest Heli: “It is the Lord, let him do what is good in his sight[68].”
The time of spiritual desolation is also a time for being resigned. When a soul begins to cultivate the spiritual life, God usually showers his consolations upon her to wean her away from the world; but when he sees her making solid progress, he withdraws his hand to test her and to see if she will love and serve him without the reward of sensible consolations. “In this life,” as St. Teresa used to say, “our lot is not to enjoy God, but to do his holy will.” And again, “Love of God does not consist in experiencing his tendernesses, but in serving him with resolution and humility.” And in yet another place, “God’s true lovers are discovered in times of aridity and temptation.”